Television in 1950- a prediction

Baird TV setPublished in the monthly miscellany Medley for September 1935 is this winning prediction from a competition run by The Manchester Guardian. It looks forward to what life might be like in 1950.

“ Last night the new tellie, ‘The Private Life of a Thwarted Ego’, started its run on the City Circuit. Pink One, the famous star of ‘Yes—Today and Hereafter’ and other colossal masterpieces, again shows she is the undisputed queen of Tele-Stereo-Appeal. Mr Malt Whimsy, her creator, has never painted her better. It is a long cry from her first appearance in those early crude ‘ Lunatic Lullabies ‘, but Miss Pink One has made the grade. As the pitiful but brave little Ego, caught in the Web of Circumstance, dazzled by the Lure of Gold, and finally falling by the Wayside, she was stupendous. By all means plug in to ‘Thwarted Ego, ’it’s the tellie of a generation!”

Several points here. Is this one of the earliest appearances of the word tellie, albeit spelt in a different way and used to describe a production to be viewed on a television receiver, rather than the receiver itself ? Also, what does the writer mean by the term ‘City Circuit ‘. Is this a channel ? Also, what opportunities would he or she have had in the UK, to view anything other than the experimental broadcasts put out around 1933/34 by the BBC late at night ? These generally lasted no more than ten minutes and consisted largely of fragments of drama and dances performed by a lady wearing a special photogenic costume. The fact that the writer could accurately predict the future success of a medium which was frequently derided as a flash in the pan at the time is impressive. This is almost as impressive as someone predicting the astonishing success of the Internet back in 1980. [R.M.Healey]


One thought on “Television in 1950- a prediction

  1. Mumpsimus

    The plot description of the “tellie”–a mawkish melodrama–and references to “early crude ‘Lunatic Lullabies,'” are likely a humorous poke at the movies of the teens and early 20s. The suggestion being that tellies would be at this stage in 1950.

    The Baird Televisor is an interesting google. It was mechanical; shows were not broadcast, but played from large, spinning metal disks.


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