Although the medium was in its infancy at the time of his
death in 1937, H.P. Lovecraft did live to see television first-hand.
In a 1933 letter to Clark Ashton Smith, he writes: "Saw an
interesting demonstration of television in a local
department store yesterday. Flickers like the bigraph pictures
The technology would advance swiftly. In the summer of 1936,
Germany used a primative television camera and dedicated facilities
to permit viewinf of the Olympics by some residents of Berlin
and Leipzig. That fall, the BBC began limited broadcasting
in London, and the following year would televise the coronation
of Kind George VI. By the end of 1939, there were 20,000 television
sets in London and public broadcasts were available in New
The sweeping change in our culture that television would
bring, however, was something Lovecraft would not witness.
One wonders if a sixty-nine-year-old HPL might have written
for The Twilight Zone...
But even without having Lovecraft around to collaborate
in person, the television medium has provided a home for some
of his works--if occasionally a broken one. Like the cool
unyielding surface of polished glass in HPL's story "The Outsider,"
the little glass screens of the televisions that sit inside
our homes are full of monsters. Sometimes, those monsters
even have a curiously Lovecraftian visage...
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