Strike claims play about TV inventor Farnsworth

The AP’s television writer Frazier Moore has picked up the story of "Farnsworth’s" postponed Broadway debut, as reported in the inventor’s home town paper, the Fort Wayne (IN) Journal Gazette.

Another lousy break for Philo Farnsworth.

Farnsworth is the chap who invented television 80 years ago, then was cheated out of his due credit, fame and riches.

He died in 1971, but, 36 years later, was poised for a posthumous revival. A new play about the Fort Wayne-based inventor was opening on Broadway – then theater stagehands went on strike.

Granted, “The Farnsworth Invention” is just one of 27 Broadway productions the strike has shuttered for now.

Written by Aaron Sorkin, the play dramatizes Farnsworth’s losing battle with David Sarnoff, legendary boss of the Radio Corp. of America and founder of NBC. Sarnoff was determined to seize television as his own. And he did, condemning Farnsworth to obscurity in the world TV remade.

“I think your invention is extraordinary,” says Sarnoff (played by Hank Azaria), “and it’s my intention to be a worthy custodian.”

Farnsworth’s wry response: “Good luck.”

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