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Earliest references to TV in movies

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During the recent shorts festival, there was a short entitled "Those Good Old Days" from 1941. The parents left their child in the care of grandpa because they were "going to a television broadcast"! I was stunned. What other early references (say, before 1947) to TV have people seen?


I have seen the 1935 movie "Death by Television" with Bela Lugosi. Half good sci-fi, half bad sci-fi seasoned with racism (Hattie McDaniel as a disturblingly childish and frightened housekeeper; the Chinese waiter turns out to be a spy with a Ph.D. in Physics. I guess in 1935, a Ph.D. still had to be a waiter if he were Chinese). At least the TV was a Big Screen TV.

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"International House " ( 1933 ) an All - Star comedy featuring W.C. Fields, Bela Lugosi,and Stu Erwin, among others had a gadget ( I think that it was called a video scope ) as its main prop, in which various countries, with Bela representing Russia all bidding for its rights.


There is also an Edgar Kennedy short, the title of which I do not remember, in which he is trying to fix the family's TV. It was released in 1948, the year Mr. Kennedy died.

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?Men Must Fight? 1933.


There are scenes of people watching political speeches warning about the upcoming World War II. (Yes, World War 2.)




I have two versions of this film. One is the original, and the other is a later re-release (probably the late ?30s or early ?40s) in which had been added scenes of Hitler and Mussolini and their fascist parades.


The first major American TV broadcast was of the 1939 World?s Fair. The first German television broadcast was of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

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I think you might be right about Metropolis.


The first fax machine was invented in the 1860s. This was also the first electric copy machine. It worked on a scanning method. I think the first one had either "on" or "off" signals, for high contrast copies of documents.


It is quite possible that some inventors thought of sending real still pictures via fax and maybe later they thought about sending moving pictures. That's basically why the first TV system was a mechanical scanning device using lights and a crude mechanical scanning system. In a way it is similar to modern light-bulb signs that use light bulbs as pixels for a crude TV type image.


Oscilloscopes were invented in 1897, and that was the beginning of the electronic TV concept.


Have you ever seen the big bundle of coils of wire wrapped around a TV picture tube? Those are what pulls the electron beams right and left and downward. The wires are magnetized with various amounts of electricity in just the right amount and sequence, and that deflects the electron beam to make the TV picture.

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> There is a Three Stooges short when the water comes through the tv set. It was

> during a live broadcast from Niagara Falls.It had Curly so it was before 1947.



With Bess Flowers as the hapless society woman who is drenched by "Niagara Falls" after Moe, Larry & Curly hook the electrical conduits up to the mansion's plumbing.

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You can also add "The Lost City", a 1935 Serial, to the list of pre-1940s television references. In it, the mad doctor (William "Stage" Boyd) uses "television" to supervise his workers. And, if memory serves me correctly, I think that Charlie Chaplin is supervised via some sort of television device in "Modern Times" (1936), though I'm not sure about that one. Television may have also been used in "Things to Come" (1936), with Raymond Massey, but I haven't seen the movie in 20 years.


I believe that Great Britain was making regular broadcasts before the US. I remember finding a TV series from England that started in 1938 one day when I was just randomly searching imdb. I haven't the slightest idea what the name of the show was though to verify this.

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> I believe that Great Britain was making regular

> broadcasts before the US. I remember finding a TV

> series from England that started in 1938 one day when

> I was just randomly searching imdb. I haven't the

> slightest idea what the name of the show was though

> to verify this.


imdb says that James Mason was in British TV teleplays as early as 1938! Of course, these early UK TV plays were never kinescoped (was kinescoping even around then?) so we'll never see them (sob).


I think the BBC started experimental TV broadcasts as early as 1928...probably so that all eight physicists in the UK who studied TV technology would have something to talk about over the water cooler the next day.


My mom was one of the several million Americans who first saw TV at the 1939-1940 World's Fair. Had it not been for WWII, Americans would have had TV years earlier. According to the book "Nitrate Won't Wait", production of color televisions in the US was halted during the Korean War.


It makes sense that Germany and Britain were initially ahead of the US in commercial TV broadcasts. They are more densely populated, hence it would be more cost-effective than the US because you they reach a greater percentage of their population with fewer stations. The UK and Germany theoretically could have reached roughly 80% of potential viewers with maybe a dozen stations. In the US in 1940, stations in the 12 biggest metro areas would have reached maybe 50 to 60 % of potential viewers. Offhand, I happened to learn that the first TV station in the entire Mountain Time Zone was Denver, and not until 1950.

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WTVR TV is a CBS affiliate owned by Raycom Media . WTVR TV located on Broad Street in Midtown Richmond is the South's first TV station. WTVR signed on April 22, 1948, the first TV station granted a license south of the Mason/Dixon line. At 1,049 feet above sea level it was the largest freestanding structure in the country at that time, and now the tower stands as a familiar Richmond landmark. The tall tower helps WTVR reach more viewers than any other TV station in Central Virginia spanning a region that reaches Fredericksburg to the North, Westward beyond Charlottesville, east into Tidewater, and south into North Carolina.


This was the TV Station I watched when I was about 3 or 4 years old. They had Superman and The Three Stooges on along with Lassie.

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> In a short called "The Musical Doctor" (1932) Rudy

> Vallee uses television to keep track of patients he's

> curing with music. I think (or am I getting this

> mixed with some other short?).


Vladimir Zworykin actually thought that television would be used primarily as closed circuit viewing for medicine (like in that short) or for scientific research, like displaying to an academic audience what was going on under a miscroscope. He was disappointed that it came to be used for entertainment; he stated late in life that he almost never had watched television. Start out with:



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I know this is a little bit late, but I just watched Gene Autry's "The Singing Cowboy" from 1936, and the entire plot revolves around television broadcasting. In it, Gene and the boys broadcast live from a wagon out west to sell Covered Wagon Coffee. My favorite barker Earle Hodgins is the emcee for the broadcasts.

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I saw a documentary on the History Channel a couple of days ago that said the US invented a few "smart bombs" (about 15 of them) for use during the end of WW II in 1944 or '45. They had TV camera in them, just like some of the modern ones do, and the program showed a guy in a bomber monitoring the image as he guided the bomb to its target. I never knew that before.

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