Monday, November 17, 2008

TODAY'S TWD: TESLA

The end of the year is fast approaching, when Toobworld Central will be handing out the annual Toobits awards. And it took this long to find the Best new villain. (I don't think there'll be any other possibilities cropping up before the end of the year.)

This past week's episode of 'Sanctuary' introduced us to another member of "The Five", a quintet of Victorian scientists who used their own version of Promycin on themselves, but this serum was made from the refined blood of the extinct vampire race known as Sanguiris Vampyr (not sure on the spelling).

Besides Dr. Helen Magnus and John Druitt, a third member of The Five was Nikola Tesla, and the actual historical figure to boot. Except for his injection of the vampire serum, the series didn't create any major difference between his real life and his life in Toobworld - at least, not until when he supposedly died......

Here's Wikipedia's account about the basic info regarding Tesla's life and death:

Nicola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was an inventor and a mechanical and electrical engineer. Born in Smiljan, Croatian Krajina, Austrian Empire, he was an ethnic Serb subject of the Austrian Empire and later became an American citizen. Tesla is often described as the most important scientist and inventor of the modern age, a man who "shed light over the face of Earth". He is best known for many revolutionary contributions in the field of electricity and magnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Tesla's patents and theoretical work formed the basis of modern alternating current electric power (AC) systems, including the polyphase power distribution systems and the AC motor, with which he helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution. Contemporary biographers of Tesla have regarded him as "The Father of Physics", "The man who invented the twentieth century" and "the patron saint of modern electricity." After his demonstration of wireless communication (radio) in 1894 and after being the victor in the "War of Currents", he was widely respected as one of the greatest electrical engineers who worked in America.

Much of his early work pioneered modern electrical engineering and many of his discoveries were of groundbreaking importance. During this period, in the United States, Tesla's fame rivaled that of any other inventor or scientist in history or popular culture, but due to his eccentric personality and his seemingly unbelievable and sometimes bizarre claims about possible scientific and technological developments, Tesla was ultimately ostracized and regarded as a mad scientist. Never having put much focus on his finances, Tesla died impoverished at the age of 86.

Tesla died of heart failure alone in room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel, some time between the evening of 5 January and the morning of 8 January 1943, at the age of 86. Despite having sold his AC electricity patents, Tesla was destitute and died with significant debts. Later that year the US Supreme Court upheld Tesla's patent number, in effect recognizing him as the inventor of radio.

Immediately after Tesla's death became known, the government's Alien Property Custodian office took possession of his papers and property, despite his US citizenship. His safe at the hotel was also opened. At the time of his death, Tesla had been continuing his work on the teleforce weapon, or death ray, that he had unsuccessfully marketed to the US War Department. It appears that his proposed death ray was related to his research into ball lightning and plasma, and was imagined as a particle beam weapon. The US government did not find a prototype of the device in the safe.

After the FBI was contacted by the War Department, his papers were declared to be top secret. The so-called "peace ray" constitutes a part of some conspiracy theories as a means of destruction. The personal effects were seized on the advice of presidential advisers; J. Edgar Hoover declared the case most secret, because of the nature of Tesla's inventions and patents. One document states that "[he] is reported to have some 80 trunks in different places containing transcripts and plans having to do with his experiments [...]". Charlotte Muzar reported that there were several "missing" papers and property.

Tesla's funeral took place on 12 January 1943, at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, New York City. His body was cremated and his ashes taken to Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1957. The urn was placed in the Nikola Tesla Museum, where it resides to this day.

So that's the official version of his death in the real world. More than likely, that's what is believed in Toobworld as well. However, Nikola Tesla didn't die at that time; like Dr. Magnus and Druitt, he gained a form of immortality. Helen Magnus helped him to fake his death in order to evade various world governments who were "peeved" at him for selling them all the rights to his supposed "death ray". (Which he considered a "peace ray" as he believed that if all the world had access to it, then peace would break out.)
Of the three members of The Five we've met so far, only Tesla developed vampiric tendencies from the serum. (We have yet to meet Nigel Griffin and Sir James Watson and learn of the abilities that they gained.) And for the last sixty years he remained hidden away, until he finally reunited with Helen Magnus in Rome, as seen in the latest episode of 'Sanctuary'.

BCnU!
Toby O'B

2 comments:

Mercurie said...

I have always been a big fan of Nicola Tesla. I always thought a biopic of his life would be a great idea. At any rate, I loved his appearance in the movie The Prestige (where he was played by David Bowie).

Toby said...

While putting this post together, I read online that as good as Jonathon Young was in this role, it paled in comparison to Bowie. I'll have to check out this movie!