Adventures in the Vast Wasteland #32


Still from a very early London television production (1938) of R.U.R., or Rossum's Universal Robots, which introduced the term "Robot" to the world. Who in God's name was watching it on tv in 1938 I have absolutely no idea.

(l to r) Connaught Stanleigh, Derek Bond, Larry Silverstone and front, Evan John

14 comments:

JHLD said...

Interesting, but it was the original play in 1921 that introduced the word "Robot".

Fred said...

I could have sworn one of them was Jack Haley!

Actually, Greg, my grandfather owned a hardware store in Brooklyn and was selling and servicing televisions starting around this time. My father still remembers watching television in his dad's store as a toddler. He said it was mostly cartoons, news and Hopalong Cassidy.

Greg said...

JHLD, that's what I said. This is a production of Rossum's Universal Robots, which introduced the term. It would be the same as writing about a 1998 production of Streetcar Named Desire, which introduced the character of Stanley Kowalski. I would be referring to the play, not the specific production.

Greg said...

Fred, we so associate early tv with the golden age of the fifties it's hard to believe sometimes it started so much earlier.

enkrypt3r said...

Highly reminiscent of Stanley Tweedle of LEX fame...

Brent McKee said...

Since this is a London production the the quick answer to "Who in God's name was watching it on TV in 1938?" is: Wealthy Londoners.

The BBC started doing daily scheduled broadcasts in 1932 or 1936, depending on how you want to count things (BBC took over Mechanical TV using John Logie Baird's system in in 1932 while regularly scheduled Electronic TV began in November 1936.) Apparently by September 3, 1939 when the BBC shut down transmissions (in the middle of a Mickey Mouse cartoon) there were between 25,000 and 40,000 homes in the London area with electonic TVs, the Baird technology having been discontinued.

Greg said...

Brent, thanks for the info.

Steve Schildwachter said...

I love this image...today, however, TV is proliferating. In a couple of decades, people will wonder how video programs were limited to TV sets!
http://admajoremblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/changing-role-of-tv.html

Greg said...

Am I the only one who thinks Evan John in front looks like Robin Williams?

Robert Fiore said...

Actually, Evan John reminded me more of that guy who's in all the Jean-Pierre Jeunet movies.

Sock MonKey 1 said...

Evan John looks to me like the love child of Robin Williams and Tracey Walter.

Handsome said...

Brent, you left out the best part of that BBC story: when they resumed television broadcasts after the war, the first thing they aired was the rest of the cartoon.

Gerard Saylor said...

What? No Dalek jokes?

swac said...

A couple of things, first always appreciate a Lexx reference (the show was shot here in Halifax, and Brian Downey, who played Tweedle, is an acquaintance of mine). Second, I was in a producton of RUR in high school, I got to play the superrobot who comes in at the end and discovers emotions, or something like that (hey, high school was a long time ago). Elsewhere on the Gunslinger you can see a poster (Art of the Stage, Art of the WPA) for the original New York production.