- The teleprompter was invented in the late 1940s, before television was in widespread use--a device introduced ahead of its time, but ready for when its widest use and need would hit.
- It wasn't a speech but a soap opera where the first teleprompter was used at the tail end of 1950: The CBS drama "The First Hundred Years."
- An auspicious trio made it happen: Schlafly was a 20th Century Fox television research director, and he invented the device along with Irving Berlin Kahn, Fox's vice president of radio and TV and a nephew and namesake of the famous composer, and Fred Barton, Jr., an actor.
- If this hadn't happened, famed producer Don Hewitt, at the time producing the CBS Evening News, was considering having his anchor learn Braille so he could avoid looking down.
- The first politician to use the teleprompter? Former U.S. president Herbert Hoover, speaking at the Republican national convention in 1952. His ad-libs prompted him to explain that the device would need to restart--cluing the audience in to the device for the first time, live.
- An Emmy was awarded for the invention in 1999.
- Did the inventor ever use the teleprompter? Not until 2008, when he gave an acceptance speech after having been inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.
Related posts: Telepromptitude with a free tool: CuePrompter
iPad app Prompster is all-in-one speechwriter, recorder & teleprompter
Practice with a teleprompter--at your desk, for free
About those convention teleprompters
Practice with the candidates: Video tool
Geraldine Ferraro's teleprompter wars
(Photo from Notorious JEN's Flickr stream)
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