The History Guy Podcast, Unsung Heroes: The First Cartridge Video Game Console and "Brave Bessie"

Joshua Geiger, The History Guy's son, chats with THG about the creation of episodes of forgotten history and trivia in a behind-the-scenes look at The History Guy channel. Find the podcast on your favorite podcast app with RSS feed:
This episode includes a story only told on the podcast! On this episode of the History Guy Podcast, The History Guy discusses two stories of Unsung Heroes. First is exclusive to the podcast: the story of Jerry Lawson, lead on the invention of the first cartridge-based video game console, the Channel F. Next is the story of Bessie Coleman, a woman of African and Native American descent who became one of the first women to hold an international pilot's license, and who became a well-known barnstormer in the early days of aviation.
MagellanTV ( - a brand-new streaming service that features the very best collection of historical documentaries available anywhere. The service includes over 3,000 documentary movies, series, and exclusive playlists across the major genres, with particular depth in Ancient History, Modern History, War and Military. Check out their curated history playlist (​), designed with you in mind. Claim your free month trial at:
This is original content based on research by The History Guy. Images in the Public Domain are carefully selected and provide illustration. As very few images of the actual event are available in the Public Domain, images of similar objects and events are used for illustration.

All events are portrayed in historical context and for educational purposes. No images or content are primarily intended to shock and disgust. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Non censuram.
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The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered is the place to find short snippets of forgotten history from five to fifteen minutes long. If you like history too, this is the channel for you.
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  • What is a High School Letter?

    The Dude AbidesThe Dude Abides20 өдрийн өмнө
  • Loving the podcast format!! I truly hope you guys keep them coming!!

    Bryan at BG's Model WorkshopBryan at BG's Model Workshop25 өдрийн өмнө
  • 1:12 Lance Geiger - so that's The History Guy's actual name! I've been listening to his stuff for at least a year, some truly amazing stuff, but never knew his name - felt like he was sort of keeping that secret, and is finally revealing it. One thing I notice - it isn't until 7:36 that there's any mention Jerry Lawson was Black, that going on to be a notable part of his story. I don't know if I should see that as an oversight to not be mentioned earlier, or something that shouldn't need mentioning for his story. Given the challenges Black people faced at the time (and even now still), I think it's certainly worth mentioning, as that made his youth and career all the more challenging and impressive.

    Quill MaurerQuill Maurer26 өдрийн өмнө
  • You can totally hear his dad in his voice.

    Tank HankerousTank Hankerous26 өдрийн өмнө
  • THG, "I learned about the games because of my son". My youngest son used his newspaper money to buy the original Nintendo. So my introduction was the same. I could even outscore him at a game I cannot recall the name, but it was WW2 American submarine action in the Pacific. The only game I ever caught the feel for.

    Ron FullertonRon Fullerton29 өдрийн өмнө
  • Absolutely love the podcasts! Thank you for the additional format, drive time is enhanced greatly (although concentrating on driving sometimes means “rewinding” at red lights). 👍

    Charles DaltonCharles DaltonСарын өмнө
  • This isn't showing on the podcast feed.

    Kyle BartonKyle BartonСарын өмнө
  • Would love to see a full video on Jerry Lawson some time. Another person worth covering is Jack Tramiel.

    Mr Lurch's ThingsMr Lurch's ThingsСарын өмнө
  • The History GUYS thank you so much

    Doug Van AllenDoug Van AllenСарын өмнө
  • Sorry this is just a rip off

    TowME trailersTowME trailersСарын өмнө
  • I have a daughter named Willow, too!!

    AGDinCAAGDinCAСарын өмнө
  • Jerry Lawson - A part of the computer and video game industry I never knew, of which I thought I did. I knew of the founders of Atari - when I was a kid one of the founders was neighbor where I grew up in California. He always had experimental electronics and games in his garage. Great history lesson! Thank you!

    MrMatt1138MrMatt1138Сарын өмнө
  • Fairchild is very well known among those interested in the history of electronics. Fairchild Semiconductor (as a division of Fairchild Camera and Instrument) was founded by the famous "Traitorous Eight" from Shockley Semiconductor Company (founded by William Shockley, one of the co-discoverers of the basic physics behind transistors). Shockley was so difficult to work with that the Traitorous Eight decided to go off on their own and start up a rival company. Later, former employees of Fairchild (including several of the Traitorous Eight) left Fairchild and founded further hardware companies, collectively known as the "Fairchildren." These companies include Intel, AMD, Altera, LSI Logic, National Semiconductor, and SanDisk.

    David EvensDavid EvensСарын өмнө
  • I grew up before video games (born in 1949). I started getting exposed to computer games in the mid-1970s while in college. While working on computer programs (keying FORTRAN programs onto 80-column punch cards, or typing BASIC programs on a Teletype® machine.) [BASIC was a very new language at the time.] Also accessible using the Teletype there were a couple of games running on the mainframe computers. The human and the computer alternated turns, and the result was typed input and output consuming MANY yards of Teletype roll paper! One game was Star Trek, interactively dealing with scenarios based on the then-popular TV show. Another was Hammurabi, a kingdom-rule game where the computer throws various scenarios at you (drought, invaders, plentiful crops, floods, famine & so on.) The still-current video game Oregon Trail appears to be a direct descendant of Hammurabi. After college I started working at Radio Shack as a store manager. A couple of years later that company introduced the TRS-80 desktop computer, which basically stated the personal computer market. (The IBM PC was a latecomer.) Games were some of the first programs developed and available. But in that time I had never heard of Jerry Lawson, or of Fairchild as a semiconductor manufacturer. (I only knew Fairchild as an aircraft manufacturer and then a "aerospace" company.) My wife and I did acquire an Atari 2600 in 1981 partly in celebration of our 10th Anniversary. We used that a lot, playing Pacman, River Raid, Space Invaders, Breakout and of course Pong. That system was retired a couple of moves later because we both had PCs by then. (But I do still have a CD with a lot of those Atari games on them - except I would have to load it into a virtual machine running Windows XP.) And that same wife and I hit our 50th Anniversary this past January, celebrating as best we could in the time of COVID. As for Bessie Coleman, I grew up around aviation so I have known of her existence for a very long time. But this presentation is the first time I have learned anything about her as a person, her life, and the full impact of her influence. I will remember to think of her next time I fly to or from Chicago. Thank you for both of these presentations.

    Graeme PayneGraeme PayneСарын өмнө
  • I been a programmer since I 17, that almost 50 yrs ago. My dad went to AM. Everyone had to go thru ROT'C. As a 2nd LT, he did training in Radar Repair. All using Vac Tubes. I learned all about tubes, but I learned all about IC's, that blew his mind when I tried to teach him about. I was like trying to teach him to play golf or bowling. They were over his head. It was like my home DISCO. Using 120V x-mas lights. That was also way over his head with my use of Triac (power trans) and made no sound. Jumping from system to system, I end up using a TI-990. Where using basis playing D & D. TI gave me a copy of the BASIC and ported it a load of UNIX system and keep upgrading the program and the BASIC. I long pass that. But as one of kind of line and only one computer I keep to do. I wrote a basic program to test basic to make sure it working correctly.

    PJ WhitePJ WhiteСарын өмнө
  • Audio quality is bad…..

    Randall RichmondRandall RichmondСарын өмнө
    • @Ron Fullerton BUT, it is VERY unusual coming from The History Guy!

      Randall RichmondRandall Richmond29 өдрийн өмнө
    • You have never heard bad audio. Find an old tube type am radio.

      Ron FullertonRon Fullerton29 өдрийн өмнө
  • Many,many unrecognized and forgotten people who were responsible for the bedrock of our technology... For example:,Hedy Lamar's genius and great electronic advances in the communications technology...(,she was a lovely lady who had a genius for electronics)! Bessy Coleman was sumpthi else, !!!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🌹🇺🇸🌹🇺🇸

    Philip CallicoatPhilip CallicoatСарын өмнө

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • thanks

    Marsh Oak Dojo - Tim PruittMarsh Oak Dojo - Tim PruittСарын өмнө
  • ...every time I learn something new about the Channel F, it just makes me more and more sad the 2600 was the success story of the 2nd generation. Now I learned of someone I never even knew of before, and that's great

    Aaron BashamAaron BashamСарын өмнө
  • you CAN play duck hunt on an LCD, but it requires reprogramming the game and either removing a light filter from the zapper or using a third party zapper that doesn't have the filter. I just watched a video of another light gun that DOES work, on Linus Tech Tips called the Sinden that does work on the LCD, it's in Indigogo right now, supposed to deliver in July this year. It's really pretty expensive, and it only works with emulators

    Aaron WilliamsAaron WilliamsСарын өмнө
  • 49th

    Merlin WizardMerlin WizardСарын өмнө
  • As someone who plays games a lot, I can't help but say thank Bessie for his service to gaming. Thank you THG too! God bless from Ireland.

    Irish Technical ThinkerIrish Technical ThinkerСарын өмнө
    • Did you listen to this episode? Bessy was a pilot.

      tigerkill420tigerkill420Сарын өмнө
  • Dad had a Fairchild. I never remeber it being played but I was born in 79 and the Atari had regulated the console down to a tool shelf in the basement and myself using the cartridges as toys on their own.

    Search4 TheYetiSearch4 TheYetiСарын өмнө
  • Thanks guys! 💜

    Trish the homesteaderTrish the homesteaderСарын өмнө
  • Sorry, i can't sit here and listen without video. At 2 minutes I'm dozing already.

    Jim DavisJim DavisСарын өмнө
  • Thanks for keeping unsung heroes immortal. I was not familiar with these two at all. And as a Trekker I absolutely love learning about such heroes - in this case especially Bessy Coleman.

    Matthias MonekeMatthias MonekeСарын өмнө
  • May I make one suggestion buy a new mic for this it is hard to hear sometimes

    BC GreenBC GreenСарын өмнө
  • Every multi-billion dollar industry starts somewhere.

    PickelJars ForHillaryPickelJars ForHillaryСарын өмнө
  • Blip...bloop...bleerp...

    Doug JBDoug JBСарын өмнө
  • I was one of the few kids that didn't go nuts over the new video games that came out in the late 80s/early 70s. All off the kids in my neighborhood and schools were gagga about the cartridge games, but they just didn't make that impact on me as the other kids. I was much more into getting outside. Flight has been the focus of my life since I can recall, as I dreamed of flying from my earliest memories and, therefore, it seemed a natural progression to become a private pilot at age 17 (the youngest age at which you could be legally licensed to fly). Before that, I learned to hang glide and, later, parasailing to quech my thirst for flight. I fly nothing but ultralights these days, as the expenses to maintain logged flight hours and medical exams have become too much for my fixed income life. I encourage all youth I come in contact with, to try flying, in any manifestation, licensed or not.

    V. E.V. E.Сарын өмнө
  • Fair & Balanced are the values in your presentations. There are many public figures exalted without universal status to be positively emulated (Rosa Parks v Ida B. Wells). It would be educational to have the context overlaid onto the Declaration of Independence. My father got his license in the 1936 at age 16 from a flight school on Clover Field in Santa Monica. His adventure was not sponsored or supported by his parents who were actually unaware of his pursuit.

    Neil CampbellNeil CampbellСарын өмнө
  • The sound is far away from the usual - sounds like 70s style fitting to the video console.

    TYPE xxi - WOLFTYPE xxi - WOLFСарын өмнө
  • I got a channel f, in box w 6 games. Still working on tube tv

    Dru BieDru BieСарын өмнө
  • She was on a great path and early aviation was a risk. Still is.

    Christopher BonnerChristopher BonnerСарын өмнө
  • That was one large PDP-8 Computer. We had two one the Discoverer Seven Seas, a dynamically positioned drill ship. They were roughly 18 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 10 inches high and were connected to a separate 8" floppy disk. and a 10" display monitor. and an expansion box that was roughly twice the size of the computer itself. It was operated by push buttons on the front and once booted up, through a large military spec keyboard. The computers had one job, to calibrate and operate the long range acoustic positioning system. The data on current location was determined and sent to the two main HP=316 computers that controlled the ship's propulsion and used that data along with wind, current and other position sensors to hold the ship over the well while drilling in water too deep for the ship to anchor in place. In the Late 1980's the older computer and acoustic systems were replaced with modern triple modular redundant systems that were more reliable and faster as well as with the addition of differential GPS units, more accurate.

    Gerard TrigoGerard TrigoСарын өмнө
  • OMG, we had a Channel F when I was a kid! Played that thing for hours. Thank you for bringing back lots of happy memories!

    Steve OwensSteve OwensСарын өмнө
  • I have to disagree with radar hanna. I find the podcasts equally enjoyable as the videos. Lance has an excellent speaking voice and delivery style. With Respect.

    Kenneth Hughes Jr.Kenneth Hughes Jr.Сарын өмнө
    • Without a visual feed to watch, one can listen and yet work at something else at the same time. Maybe that is only something us old geezers are capable of.

      Ron FullertonRon Fullerton29 өдрийн өмнө
    • The mannerisms add to the experience, though I do agree that THG's voice can carry it without the visual stimulation. I've had many excellent teachers, and I wish he had been one of them!

      Wendy ChavezWendy ChavezСарын өмнө
  • You sound just like your father. I shall name you : "History Boy"!

    James OwensJames OwensСарын өмнө
  • "One of the first..." Gotta shoehorn that diveristy in. lol

    Dan CooperDan CooperСарын өмнө
    • Both the people profiled in this episode accomplished rare firsts, and both faced unique obstacles. While it is not the centerpiece of either story, there was no need to "shoehorn" diversity inti these stories, it is objectively part of the history.

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • Very inspirational! You two also make a great team in this format. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Dick GeDick GeСарын өмнө
  • Even pirates got a mention in this one😂😂

    Ted2020Ted2020Сарын өмнө
  • Unexpected flashback! I had a "Channel F" console! (as pictured) LOL

    Pete VeePete VeeСарын өмнө
  • Well, I have always disliked the term minority in this life, there are no minor players

    Cornbreadfed KirkpatrickCornbreadfed KirkpatrickСарын өмнө
  • "What's your favorite color?" "Of what?"

    Jim FortuneJim FortuneСарын өмнө
  • We got one of the first Odyssey video game consoles made when I was a kid, which was built in 1972. Instead of using cartridges, games were held on printed individual circuit boards, and the graphics were just square blocks. Plastic overlays provided the context of whether you were playing a Casino game or duck hunting. Those were the days.

    Bible History ScienceBible History ScienceСарын өмнө
    • @Terra Cotta, youz corrupted da yutes wit dat spinsta, Ms. PacMan?!

      Bible History ScienceBible History Science29 өдрийн өмнө
    • The mafia claimed to have control of the videogame industry, particularly since a majority of them were in casinos. I owned an ice cream/fast-food/gameroom for three years, which was dominated by kids, teens, and young adults. No corruption in my place, that's for sure. I guess that's why the local priest told me I didn't fit in that town and should leave. And so I did.

      Terra CottaTerra CottaСарын өмнө
    • Had one as well. Good times

      Joe FunkJoe FunkСарын өмнө
  • Have you done an episode on the battle of Groton Heights? I was always curious about it, and wanted to know more than what is displayed in the local tourist spots.

    Michael Vernon DavisMichael Vernon DavisСарын өмнө
  • THG STORIES ON YOU TUBE ARE SUPER IN MY BOOK, A PHILATELIC 'NUT' WHO LIKES "working" kilo ware 'lots'. Why, cause you never know what you eill find, there in. And interesting, like THG stories. Thank you.

    Stan PolchinskiStan PolchinskiСарын өмнө
  • We were nearly neighbors it seems. Just a guess, but we must be about the same age, we played the same video games, and I grew up on a ranch not far from Lusk Wyoming, about a hour from Hot Springs SD.

    Brad PaynBrad PaynСарын өмнө
  • So a video camera cant be used during a podcast?

    The Tunnell TakeThe Tunnell TakeСарын өмнө
    • NEWS FLASH! We have some old technology called audio-VIDEO!

      The Tunnell TakeThe Tunnell Take28 өдрийн өмнө
    • spoiled, entited, whiney

      Jay GJay G28 өдрийн өмнө
    • @JayRock21122 Need video,and a better microphone? I can tell some of these people never listened to an old tube type am radio with the old cardboard speaker cone! The presentation of all THG productions are A-1 as far as I am concerned.

      Ron FullertonRon Fullerton29 өдрийн өмнө
    • You can view the video of Bessie Coleman here: The podcast is in response to many of our fans who like to listen to stories of history while working or traveling. The channel will continue to post videos on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for those who prefer a visual experience. Thank you for being a fan!

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • Shiny! A history guy presentation that last 2/3 of my drive to work! 😺👍

    Billy SargentBilly SargentСарын өмнө
  • Hey , History Guy This is Vanessa I am also from South Dakota Thanks for giving me that information that make me feel like I can be more involved in the channel,. I also love history.

    Vanessa HansenVanessa HansenСарын өмнө
  • As for the first story I was raised not to see the color I see a lot of stupidity though I believe in what my dad said to us kids give credit where credit due and finally whether the world is ready to accept it up the rest, like here with these two and other pioneers that no one knows about or has been overlooked due to either their skin tone or just pain ignorance

    Cornbreadfed KirkpatrickCornbreadfed KirkpatrickСарын өмнө
    • @Graeme Payne True ,but the powers that be still say other wise in most cases

      Cornbreadfed KirkpatrickCornbreadfed KirkpatrickСарын өмнө
    • I have long believed that skin color and gender are the two LEAST important things when determining the ability, quality or worth of a person. Marine Corps Green since 1967.

      Graeme PayneGraeme PayneСарын өмнө
  • If I may ask, how old is the history guy and his son? I’m 47 and remember the Atari and 1st Nintendo

    Kristi CutsingerKristi CutsingerСарын өмнө
    • I'm 48, and was thinking he might be very close to that age too. I'd like to know the answer.

      Wendy ChavezWendy ChavezСарын өмнө
    • And intelevision, and ColecoVision, and those handheld red LED football games by Mattel wasn't? I still have the single-player version. Still works!😺

      Billy SargentBilly SargentСарын өмнө
  • Hello, many "American Artists" knew if they wanted to make it knew they left America and go to Pais like Mary Cassat and Bessie Coleman there well in Europe the racial tones weren't a thing like it is in the USA, so many did thrive. and set forth many styles of art

    Cornbreadfed KirkpatrickCornbreadfed KirkpatrickСарын өмнө
  • History Guy - it is your facial mannerisms and body language that keeps me encapsulated. Without them, this delivery is just not the same.

    radar hannaradar hannaСарын өмнө
    • I could understand disappointment if we got these instead of the usual videos. But the guys giving us 45 min of extra content on top of never missing a beat on his usual amazing schedule. You must've lived a life of great fortune if you expect even more

      yeahitskimmelyeahitskimmelСарын өмнө
    • @The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered I definitely listen while working and travelling. Your stories don't depend on the visuals, so just listening to the MNthe works. Loved this episode, though!

      Tony JTony JСарын өмнө
    • @The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered I think these guys just miss the bow tie.

      John StevensonJohn StevensonСарын өмнө
    • I absolutely agree with you.

      John StoffelJohn StoffelСарын өмнө
    • You can view the video of Bessie Coleman here: The podcast is in response to many of our fans who like to listen to stories of history while working or traveling. The channel will continue to post videos on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for those who prefer a visual experience. Thank you for being a fan!

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • What happened to the picture,s. Oh well. Glad your educating us history dude.

    Duran jr. JuanDuran jr. JuanСарын өмнө
    • Thank you for giving the link. Always the video,s are very interesting. Im a fan i love history. I wish I did well on every subject at school. History was my bread and butter. Thank you for caring. About your subscriber,s. That can't see the video,s.

      Duran jr. JuanDuran jr. JuanСарын өмнө
    • You can view the video of Bessie Coleman here: The podcast is in response to many of our fans who like to listen to stories of history while working or traveling. The channel will continue to post videos on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for those who prefer a visual experience. Thank you for being a fan!

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • Is that a Colecovision?

    Michael BlaszkiewiczMichael BlaszkiewiczСарын өмнө
  • Swag

    Matthew PalmerMatthew PalmerСарын өмнө
  • Back in the Saddle again!

    constipated in sin cityconstipated in sin cityСарын өмнө
    • I appreciate your enthusiasm, but could you please stop spamming this comment?

      Oh DearOh DearСарын өмнө
  • That's kinda creepy, like listening to a younger THG

    GreatSkyTroll AntiDramaGreatSkyTroll AntiDramaСарын өмнө