The First Home Computer On Television
Sorry for getting this show's theme song stuck in your head.
Hi! I’m Joey, founder of Fun Fact Friyay, the newsletter for curious people. This issue is looking at the intersection of two major pieces of technology.
Today’s fact: The Addams Family is the first TV show to feature a home computer.
In the modern television era, we see computers on TV all the time. Devi from Never Have I Ever uses one for her college applications. Homer develops a brilliant bird contraption while working from home on The Simpsons. The IT Crowd’s main setting for its characters is behind computers.
But before all that, we had Whizzo, the first home computer on TV.
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Whizzo debuted on The Addams Family episode “The Addams Family Splurges,” which aired on January 29, 1965. This technology was a UNIVAC I or a Universal Automatic Computer. It’s the world’s first civilian computer and was a lot bigger than a standard laptop today.
In real life, UNIVAC helped with census counts and predicted a presidential election.
In The Addams Family, Gomez and his son Pugsley build Whizzo so they can calculate the cost of a trip to the moon. As the clip above shows, it’s a relative bargain!
The computer also violently spins and emits steam while processing data. That still sounds preferable to a lot of the stuff we have AI doing.
Other uses for Whizzo throughout the series include betting on horse races and serving as a political adviser to Gomez.
Good to know that even nearly 60 years ago, we were still trying to use computers for personal profit.
For a quirky challenge, the next time you’re writing something on the computer, type in the cadence of The Addams Family theme song. I just tried it with this paragraph, and it was an adventure in typos and incomplete thoughts. What fun!