Here’s a blog post that seems to ask all the right questions:
Who Invented the Television?
Ask that question to anyone today and there is a good chance that you will be met with blank stares. Yet, ask people who invented the light bulb or the radio and the answers will come far more easily. This is an interesting phenomenon, considering that the television is probably the single biggest invention of this century. It is an invention that is so powerful, it changed the very way people live and view the world. It has also become one of the most powerful tools in the world.
So why it is that, hardly anyone knows who invented it? This is precisely what The Farnsworth Invention investigates. The play deals with the life of Philo T Farnsworth, a genius and Mormon farmer, who made the very first successful electronic television. His story isn’t just about the invention of the television; it is also about the growth of corporate America and the ultimate demise of the independent inventor. The play follows the legal battle that Farnsworth had over the patent with David Sarnoff, the head of RCA. Even though Farnsworth would win the lawsuit, in many ways, he was among the last of America’s great inventors.
However, that last sentence begs one more question: why was it necessary for the playwright to portray Farnsworth as LOSING that litigation, when the real story here is that he WON it?