Thomas Edison in popular culture

Thomas Edison in popular culture

Thomas Edison has appeared in popular culture as a character in novels, films, comics and video games.

His prolific inventing helped make him an icon and he has made appearances in popular culture during his lifetime down to the present day. His history with Nikola Tesla has also provided dramatic tension and is a theme returned to numerous times.

thumb|200px|Cover_of_The Five Fists of Science", a graphic novel by Steven Sanders, showing (l-r) the fictional Timothy Boone, Tesla and Twain. Thomas Edison is a villain in this story.]

Books and comics

* Edisonade is a category of fantastic fiction with young inventors travelling to distant parts and having adventures. Not only did the genre use his name, but a number of Thomas/Tom Edisons appeared in the early adventures.
*"L'Ève future" (1883) by Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, has the hero visiting his friend Edison for help with his love life and is given an android duplicate of his mistress (although without her negative qualities)
* "Tom Edison Jr." was the star of eleven adventure books written by Philip Reade. The first book was "Tom Edison Jr.'s Sky Scraping Trip; Or Over the Wild West Like a Flying Squirrel" (1891). Tom Edison Jr. is the son of Tom Edison Sr. a famous inventor who, they are at pains to emphasise, is not supposed to be famous inventor Thomas Edison.
*"Edison's Conquest of Mars" by Garrett P. Serviss (1898) is an unofficial sequel to "The War of the Worlds" in which Edison finds and reverse engineers Martian technology.
*"To Mars With Tesla; or, the Mystery of the Hidden World" by J. Weldon Cobb (1901) featured "Young Edison", a fictional nephew of Thomas Edison, helping Nikola Tesla in his adventures with Martians.
* "And Having Writ…", a 1978 alternate universe novel by Donald R. Bensen, features three aliens stranded on Earth whose comic misadventures lead to Edison serving one term as President of the United States following and also preceding two terms for Theodore Roosevelt.
* "W. G. Grace's Last Case" (1984) by Willie Rushton [ [] , SHERLOCKIAN STORY SUMMARIES.]
* "Loving Little Egypt" (1987) by Thomas McMahon [ [] , "Harvard Magazine".]
* "The 6 Messiahs" (1995) by Mark Frost [ [] , SHERLOCKIAN STORY SUMMARIES.]
* "The Edison Mystery: Qwerty Stevens, Back in Time" (2001) by Dan Gutman
* "" (2003) was a two-issue mini-series from DC's Elseworlds line, in which Superman landed in Kansas in the 1850s and emerged on the world stage at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. He teams up with Edison but ends up working with Tesla.
* "Tales From the Bully Pulpit" (2004) by Benito Cereno is a graphic novel containing the time travel adventures of Thomas Edison and Theodore Roosevelt
* "The Five Fists of Science", a 2006 graphic novel in which Edison is the villain trying to thwart the plans of Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain
* " [ Edison Hate Future] " is a series of one panel cartoons by Warren Ellis using the same picture of Thomas Edison
*"Expiration Date" by Tim Powers in which a boy possessed by the spirit of Thomas Edison is hunted through Los Angeles by people wanting to consume the ghost he carries.

Film and TV

* In the 2006 film "The Prestige", Edison is mentioned as a rival to Nikola Tesla at a technological convention in the Albert Hall.
* "Edison, the Man" was a 1940 biographical film starring Spencer Tracy as Edison. [" [ "Edison, the Man" (1940)] ," "The Internet Movie Database".]
* "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace", an episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer Simpson becomes obsessed with inventions.
* a "Voyagers!" episode involving Edison shows, in an instance of history "going wrong", Edison and his team are trying to make a light bulb filament by rolling lamp black; they all fail, and when Jeffrey tears his shirt, Edison offers to repair it, then studies the thread as a potential filament
* "The Big Pinch", an episode of "".
*In an episode of "Family Guy", Edison is shown as the only person with electricity and taunts a couple without it.
* Edison occasionally appeared in caricature form on "Histeria!" His first major appearance was in a sketch in which he comes up with the light bulb while his nephew (played by Loud Kiddington and his friends fool around in his office. The show also featured a song about Edison's partnership with Henry Ford.
* The "Schoolhouse Rock" song "Mother Necessity" featured Thomas Edison first as a child intending to be an inventor when he grows up "to make a lamp to help my mommy see..Wowee!/What an excellent application of electricity!" and then as a smart, rich man.


* "Edison's Medicine" was a song by the band Tesla from the album "Psychotic Supper Tesla" which features the War of Currents between Edison's DC and Tesla's AC.
* "The Edison Museum" is a track on They Might Be Giants' album "No!". It is about the Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower and Museum in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
* "The Wizard of Menlo Park" is a song by Chumbawamba on their album "Un".
* "The Electric Sunshine Man" is a musical for young voices about the life, times, and inventions of Thomas Edison; generally performed by youth choral groups in schools.


See also

* Nikola Tesla in popular culture
* Mark Twain in popular culture

External links

* [ Fantastic Victoriana: E] , The 'E' page of the online version of Jess Nevins' "Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana" which contains two different fictional Thomas/Tom Edisons and an entry on Edisonade
*" [ Thomas Edison (Character) from "General Electric's All-Star Anniversary" (1978) (TV)] ," "The Internet Movie Database"

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