Although Philo Farnsworth was the man responsible for Television technology, Farnsworth appeared only once on a television program. On July 3, 1957, he was a mystery guest (“Doctor X”) on the CBS quiz show I’ve Got A Secret. He fielded questions from the panel as they unsuccessfully tried to guess his secret (“I invented electronic television.”).
For stumping the panel, he received $80 and a carton of Winston cigarettes. Moore then spent a few minutes discussing with Farnsworth his research on such projects as high definition television, flat-screen receivers, and fusion power. Farnsworth said, “There had been attempts to devise a television system using mechanical disks and rotating mirrors and vibrating mirrors — all mechanical. My contribution was to take out the moving parts and make the thing entirely electronic, and that was the concept that I had when I was just a freshman in high school in the Spring of 1921 at age 14.
” When Moore asked about others’ contributions, Farnsworth agreed, “There are literally thousands of inventions important to television. I hold something in excess of 165 American patents.”
The host then asked about his current research, and the inventor replied, “In television, we’re attempting first to make better utilization of the bandwidth, because we think we can eventually get in excess of 2000 lines instead of 525 … and do it on an even narrower channel … which will make for a much sharper picture. We believe in the picture-frame type of a picture, where the visual display will be just a screen. And we hope for a memory, so that the picture will be just as though it’s pasted on there.”
A letter to the editor of the Idaho Falls Post Register disputed that Farnsworth had made only one television appearance. Roy Southwick claimed “… I interviewed Mr. [Philo] Farnsworth back in 1953 – the first day KID-TV went on the air.” KID-TV, which later became KIDK-TV, was then located near the Rigby area where Farnsworth grew up.