Often when I do post-show discussions, audience members ask me about books that will allow them to dig deeper into the historical events that inspire a play.
For The Farnsworth Invention, this is particularly important since there are many vital differences between Aaron Sorkin’s play and the history. Later this week I’ll post more about those differences. In the meantime, below is a list of books and films the cast and crew read or watched in preparation for the play.
Our favorite book is the Schwartz book, which tells both the stories of Farnsworth and Sarnoff much like
the play does. Other key books include those authored by Farnsworth’s wife, Elma ‘Pem’ Gardner Farnsworth, and George Everson, one of Farnsworth’s original financial backers. Enjoy!
- The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit and the Birth of Television – Evan I. Schwartz
- Distant Vision: Romance and Discovery of an Invisible Frontier – Elma G. Farnsworth
- The Story of Television, the Life of Philo T. Farnsworth – George Everson
- The Boy Who Invented Television – Paul W. Schatzkin
- The History of Television, 1880 to 1941 – Albert Abrahamson
- The General: David Sarnoff and the Rise of the Communication Industry – Kenneth Bilby
- Television: A Struggle for Power – Frank C. Waldrop and Joseph Borkin
- The First Principles of Television – A. Dinsdale
- Tube: The Invention of Television – David E. Fisher and Marshall Jon Fisher
- Philo T. Farnsworth: The Father of Television – Donald G. Godfrey
- Acceptance and Dedication of the Statue of Philo T. Farnsworth – House Document 101-188
- Television: Window to the World, The History Channel
- Big Dream Small Screen: The Story Behind Television, PBS, American Experience
Maren Robinson is the dramaturg for TimeLine’s The Farnsworth Invention.