Afterword

News, notes and follow-ups

« Previous Post | Afterword Home | Next Post »

'Hub' Schlafly, who helped invent the teleprompter, dies at 91

Hub 

 Hubert "Hub" Schlafly, a key member of the team that invented the teleprompter and rescued decades' worth of soap opera actors, newscasters and politicians from the embarrassment of stumbling over their words on live television, has died. He was 91.

Schlafly died April 20 at a hospital in Stamford, Conn., after a brief illness, according the Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, which handled the arrangements.

Schlafly 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 1992 for his work in developing the first cable system permitting subscribers to order special programs.

Schlafly was born Aug. 14, 1919, in St. Louis. He graduated from Notre Dame University, 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 his friend Schlafly, said Laurie Brown, author of the book "The Teleprompter Manual." Schafly conjured an idea and took it to Irving Berlin Kahn, nephew of composer Irving Berlin and then-vice president of radio and television at 20th Century Fox.

The result — a monitor facing the person appearing on screen and rolling a script at reading speed — was named the TelePrompTer and made its debut in 1950 on the soap opera "The First Hundred Years," Brown said.

"It revolutionized television and improved the quality of on-air performers," said Jim Dufek, a professor of mass media at Southeast Missouri State University. "It also made the politicians look smarter because they were looking right into the camera."

Herbert Hoover became the first politician to use a teleprompter in 1952, when the former president gave the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.

Every president since then has used the device — now also such a staple of television news that occasional technical glitches can turn a news report into unintentional comedy.

In the 1970s, TelePrompTer Corp. owned cable franchises in 140 markets and served about 1.4 million customers.

-- Associated Press

 

Photo: Hub Schlafly in 2008. Credit: Paul Desmarais /Stamford Advocate /Associated Press

 

Post a comment
If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.
Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In





Comments (1)

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Will the person that does a eulogy use the teleprompter?


Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Profiles of military personnel killed in Iraq
and Afghanistan.







Archives
 

Lives in Pictures »



Search Paid Obituaries »

First Name
Last Name
Powered by Legacy.com ©

Yesterday's Obituaries