SF-LOVERS Digest V19 #413

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SUEC...@delphi.com

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Jun 3, 1994, 8:09:03 PM6/3/94
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4 lib...@emoryu1.cc.emory.edu (Bill Davis) writes:
> Subject: The Twonky
>
> Here's an obscure one for you. I'm looking for anyone who has seen or
> perhaps actually has a copy of The Twonky. It's a pretty bad early 50's
> sci-fi film that features a walking, talking TV set. This film was
> produced as TV was starting to rear its ugly head in American homes, and
> many were predicting the demise of motion pictures as a result.

Bill, I'll keep my eyes open for you. I just this week started reading
MILLENIUM by John Varley. He names each chapter after a famous Time Travel
story. One of them is "The Twonky" by Henry Kuttner (as I noticed someone
else mentioned to you). I'm doing research on SF terminology for the Oxford
English Dictionary so if you (or anyone else) can give me specific
references to the term "twonky" either the actual stats on the film or
elsewhere, I'd appreciate it.

Sue
suec...@delphi.com

Gharlane of Eddore

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Jun 6, 1994, 2:54:20 AM6/6/94
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In <01HD49708...@delphi.com> SUEC...@DELPHI.COM writes:

>4 lib...@emoryu1.cc.emory.edu (Bill Davis) writes:
>> Subject: The Twonky
>> Here's an obscure one for you. I'm looking for anyone who has seen or
>> perhaps actually has a copy of The Twonky. It's a pretty bad early 50's
>> sci-fi film that features a walking, talking TV set. This film was
>> produced as TV was starting to rear its ugly head in American homes, and
>> many were predicting the demise of motion pictures as a result.

"THE TWONKY" was a B&W film made by Arch Oboler on an almost nonexistent
budget. Oboler hated TV and what it represented, and showed the Twonky,
a monster robot from the future, a device specifically designed to alter
the minds of citizens so that they would become good little cogs in the
machine of the society, as quite a horror.

The movie starred Hans Conried.

Since it had only a brief release in the early fifties, and not a lot of
copies were printed, it was thought to be completely lost. Over the years,
chopped-up and ragged copies have surfaced occasionally. Last year,
someone found a good copy (or maybe the original master print, I don't
know) in a film vault, and generated a few good copies.
The movie has been shown on the "Sci-Fi" network, and in relatively
uncut form. Watch your local listings.

> Bill, I'll keep my eyes open for you. I just this week started reading
> MILLENIUM by John Varley. He names each chapter after a famous Time
> Travel story. One of them is "The Twonky" by Henry Kuttner (as I noticed
> someone else mentioned to you). I'm doing research on SF terminology for
> the Oxford English Dictionary so if you (or anyone else) can give me
> specific references to the term "twonky" either the actual stats on
> the film or elsewhere, I'd appreciate it.

> Sue / suec...@delphi.com

The original version of "THE TWONKY" sent to "ASTOUNDING" in 1942, was
bylined "Lewis Padgett." "Lewis Padgett" was a pen name of C.L.
(Catherine) Moore and her husband, Henry Kuttner. Although the magazine's
editor, John W. Campbell, Jr., contributed huge amounts of concept and
material to his writers' stories, "THE TWONKY" is very much as it was
originally written; Campbell said, "Why mess with it? It's FINE."

Kuttner and Moore each insisted the other did the majority of the work,
and each of them insisted that the other had invented the name "Twonky;"
and they're both dead now, so YOU figure out where the word came from.

The movie is specifically derived from the story, with a couple of major
changes. (The original story would be an acceptable SF short film now;
in the early fifties, it was not.)

"THE TWONKY" is available in many, many, SF story collections. It should
*not* be hard for you to find.


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