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Teleprompter – Here’s Looking At You Kid

May 2, 2011

Inventor & Invention Seldom Seen but Ever-present

Most of the technology and the people who develop the devices that make our lives a little better everyday go unseen and unknown. One of those unknown heroes has recently passed, but his technology rolls on. This post illustrates the benefits and malefits  that results in the two-edged sword of teleprompter technology.

Teleprompter inventor Hubert Schlafly dies at 91, April 20, 2011

Revered: Hubert Schlafly, shown here in 2008, was the Emmy Award-winning inventor best known for developing the teleprompter. Credit: UK Mail Online

A key member of the team that invented the teleprompter, which feeds scripts to actors, politicians and newsreaders, has died last week in the US state of Connecticut after a brief illness. Said the BBC…

Schlafly did not use a teleprompter himself until he was 88, while rehearsing his speech for his induction into the Cable Television Hall of Fame, close friend Thomas Gallagher said.

Schlafly also was an entrepreneur and helped start the TelePrompTer Corp., eventually becoming its president and accepting an Emmy Award for the company in 1999 – a few years after winning one himself in 1992 for his contributions in the cable television industry. He held 16 patents, Gallagher said.

Hub, as he was known to friends, helped shape the modern television industry. He developed the first pay TV system that permitted subscribers to order programs delivered by cable. He executed the first satellite transmission of a cable program from Washington, D.C., to a convention of 3,000 cable operators in Anaheim, Calif. (June 1973).

He was named a “Cable Television Pioneer” by the National Cable Television Association. He received the Sarnoff Citation for his contributions to cable television and the Vanguard Award for Science and Technology from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. He was inducted into the Cable Television Hall of Fame.

Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan called Schlafly ‘the cable industry’s most innovative engineer’ and ‘one of its ablest executives’.

‘Whether you were his friend or competitor, he was always congenial and supportive and probably had more friends than anyone,’ Dolan said in a statement on Tuesday.

More info on Hub, teleprompters and the problems they can cause.

Schlafly and his colleagues rescued decades’ worth of soap opera actors, newscasters and politicians from the embarrassment of stumbling over their words on live television with the invention of what was then known as the teleprompter.

Schlafly was working at 20th Century Fox film studios in 1950 when he developed the teleprompter, which is also known as the autocue.

He had been asked by the company to build a device that would help actors remember their lines.

Schlafly’s prototype teleprompter, which debuted on the set of a US soap opera, was placed beside a film camera and used a motorised scroll of paper inside a suitcase to assist the show’s actors.

The device was soon adopted by politicians and was used at the Republican Party’s national convention by former US President Herbert Hoover in 1952. It has been employed by every US president since that time.

How it Works

TelePrompTer breakdown: (1) Video camera (2) Shroud (3) Video monitor (4) Clear glass or beam splitter (5) Image from subject (6) Image from video monitor. Watch a video…

Schlafly was born August 14, 1919, in St. Louis. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied electrical engineering. He worked for General Electric and the MIT Radiation Laboratory before joining 20th Century Fox in New York City in 1947.

Actor Fred Barton Jr. wanted a way to remember his lines and approached Irving Berlin Kahn, nephew of composer Irving Berlin and vice president of radio and television at 20th Century Fox.

Kahn went to Schlafly, then the director of television research.’He wanted to have multiple units so you could look anywhere on the stage,’ Schlafly recalled in a 2008 interview with the Stamford Advocate. ‘I said it was a piece of cake.’ Read more Daily Mail article..

Teleprompters Have Cause Humorous Moments

Opps, there was a break after your intro and the start of the first story.

But, They Can Be Frustrating at Times

A few choice words of the day from Mr. O’Reilly.

Thanks Bill and thanks Hub for helping (sometimes) to make our lives roll a little smoother…

BTW, Bill’s outburst reminds me of the angry videos of  Jack Rebney the Winnebago Man. A must see if you enjoy other peoples outrage.

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