Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Television actors, newscasters and politicians who worry far less these days about fumbling their lines, stalling as cue cards are flipped or shuffling typewritten pages on the podium owe much to Hubert Schlafly. With two colleagues, Schlafly invented the first teleprompter in the late 1940s - a rudimentary device that has since evolved into computerised text scrolling across screens to the tempo of the speaker.

On December 4, 1950, actors on the CBS soap opera The First Hundred Years turned their attention towards a motorised scroll of paper, lined with half-inch letters, mounted inside what looked like a suitcase and controlled by a stagehand. That first teleprompter was designed by Schlafly, electrical engineer Irving Kahn and Fred Barton, an actor who proposed the idea.

Read more at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/obituaries/emmywinning-innovator-helped-put-words-in-their-mouths-20110510-1ehar.html#ixzz1LxYtYVM9

And read more about The First Hundred Years, considered by many to be the debut of the American soap opera, here. It was the first daytime drama for both CBS and Procter & Gamble.

The First Hundred Years premiered in the prime-time anthology, Silver Theater, starring James Lydon and William Frawley. Lydon stayed on to do the daytime version. Frawley accepted another offer - Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy.

The First Hundred Years was replaced by The Guiding Light. Which lasted about 70 more years than its optimistically titled predecessor.

No comments: