First-ever teleplay, written by Luigi Pirandello, broadcast on July 14, 1930 at 3:30 PM by the BBC. It details the meeting of a bored businessman, marooned in an all-night cafe by the last train out, waiting for the morning and bemoaning the fact that his his life consists of inconsequential events, and a chatty stranger, who reveals that he has "Fiore in Bocca", a type of cancer (ironically, now almost always curable) with symptoms similar to Karposi's Sarcoma, which will soon kill him. The interplay between the businessman, and the man who savors the memory of even the smallest things that have happened in his soon-to-be ended life, forms the focus of the drama. The whole play lasts around thirty minutes.

This is a rare relic of mechanically-scanned television, the Baird process with 30 lines, the image broken down by a spiral pattern of holes in a spinning disk. In order for the faces to register on the new process, a special makeup was used: eyes and lips were painted in shades of blue and white, as red and yellow appeared to the camera as white. The music was provided by a 78 record, and only heads and shoulders in portrait mode registered, so establishing shots and transitions are signaled by four Expressionistic woodcuts and a checkered background. Actors were told to "move as little as possible", one viewer complained that the image "looked as if seen through heavy rain". Only about fifty TV sets were in existence in the UK at the time, and the idea was considered by the BBC an expensive, doomed, experiment, and not one to be duplicated. Only overwhelming popular sentiment was to prove them wrong.

Since there was no way yet to capture the video image, and films weren't made of the event, it languished as an oddity until the late 1960's when ten minutes of the play were recreated with the original intertitles, music, equipment, and producer, and the results can be seen on You Tube right now. It's an eerie sight: I don't think Torchwood could do any better. That Breaking Bad uses a version of this plot, is just amazing.

Other Baird-process videos (both period and contemporary) surface now and then, I'd be excited to see them.

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