From Television, by R.W. Burns.
August 16, 2008
The first play broadcast on television in the UK was the short play, The Man With The Flower In His Mouth. It was written by Luigi Pirandello in 1923. It was broadcast in July 1930 and was essentially an experiment since there were very few television receivers to receive it. One of the receivers was at 10 Downing Street.
The TV cameras and receivers used mechanical scanners called Nipkow disks. This particular play, because of its brevity and ultra simple set, was ideal for the experiment.
We are extremely fortunate that a film record of the mechanically scanned reenactment of the drama made in 1967 has survived and can be viewed on YouTube. The curved scan lines identify the equipment as being a Nipkow disk and their vertical orientation tells us that the equipment was a Baird "Televisor." A rough estimate of the scan lines tells us that Baird was using a 30 hole disk, which was a very early version of his equipment. At its highest point of development, which occurred around 1937, he was using 240 hole disks.
Curiously, a comparison of the drawing used as the background for the play as shown in the still photo and in the film recording of the disk-scanned image shows a left-right reversal.
|The Man With The Flower In His Mouth, by Luigi Pirandello (1923). [Click image above to view this remarkable video,]|
If clicking the above link doesn't work, clicking this Direct link will open a new window from the YouTube website. If all else fails, try pasting the following URL into your browser's address line:
"El Carretero" (The car man) by argentinian composer Arturo de Nava, sung by Carlos Gardel (The King of Tango) accompanied with his guitarist (José Ricardo, Guillermo Barbieri and José María Aguilar). The music was recorded in electrical system in Paris at October 11th, 1928 for ODEON-France label (EMI, nowdays).
You can hear a remastered version of the background music posted to YouTube by El Collectionista by clicking here