Archive for Tesla on Film?

Nikola Tesla on Film?

Posted in Weird Science with tags , , , on June 12, 2012 by MONSTERMINIONS

I’ve been researching Nikola Tesla since 1982. I keep my eyes open for historical references to Tesla and his inventions. The low-budget independent sci-fi film Unknown World (1951, dir. Terrell O’ Morse) contains stock footage from 1:46 to 1:52 showing a group of 7 scientists or technicians assembling large discharge coils. These appear to be Tesla coils (you can see the primary and secondary coils in the screen-capture, below).

For a brief 2 seconds a well-dressed man with a distinct jawline is shown behind a control panel operating a disc-shaped switch. The fellow looks a bit like a young Nikola Tesla.

The final sequences show Tesla coils firing off massive bolts of electrical discharges.

Could this be Tesla? I ran the footage back several times. No clear shot is given of the man. He appears to be wearing glasses and 25 to 40 year’s old. It’s hard to say how old the stock footage is. Giving it a rough date of approximately 1940 (11 years before the movie) places Tesla at age 84 (born 1856). Here’s a pic of Tesla in 1942 with King Peter II of Yugoslavia. Tesla would have been too old. Obviously, the aging Tesla was not actively working in a lab setting at this time, and Tesla did not wear glasses. Almost certainly the Unknown World footage does not show Tesla. However, where did the footage come from and who does it show?

I thought perhaps it might be an electrical crew working with Kenneth Strickfaden, who designed the electrical apparatus in several early Universal, MGM and other studio productions. However, I think this is stock government footage, but I’m not certain of any high-frequency research being performed after Tesla’s death in 1943 and before 1951.

Could this be evidence of weapons research and if so how did it end up on a grade-z low budget production from 1951? The footage certainly suggests that a 1940’s team of scientists were using Tesla discharge coils for experimental or applied use! I don’t think this footage was created for the film. The film stock also appears too clean to have originated from an earlier date when Tesla was younger.

Any input on this?

Here’s the actual footage beginning 1:46. POST-SCRIPT 06/18/12. VIDEO REMOVED. SORRY -BH