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Published on May 3, 2011
In Memory of Hubert J. ("Hub") Schlafly, Jr. Inventor of the Teleprompter, 2 time Emmy Winner, Philanthropist, Husband, Friend
Hubert J. ("Hub") Schlafly, Jr., 91, of Stamford, Connecticut, died peacefully on April 20, 2011, at Stamford Hospital, after a brief illness. Born on August 14, 1919, in St. Louis, Missouri, he was the only child of Hubert, Sr. and Mary Rose Parker Schlafly. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his beloved wife of 59 years, Leona ("Lee") Martin Schlafly, who died in 2003. He is survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins who knew and loved him as "Uncle Hub," and by many beloved friends.
After graduation as an electrical engineer from the University of Notre Dame (Class of 1941), he spent several years working for General Electric and the MIT Radiation Laboratory. In 1947, he was invited to join Twentieth Century Fox in New York City as Director of Television Research.
A prolific inventor, Hub is best known for developing the teleprompter in collaboration with Irving Berlin Kahn and Fred Barton, Jr., and for co-founding the TelePrompTer Corporation, which he led first as its Executive Vice President and later as its President. The teleprompter is a transparent device enabling speakers to read their lines while looking directly into a television camera. The teleprompter made its debut in 1950 on a soap opera called, "The First Hundred Years," and in 1952 Herbert Hoover became the first politician to use it when he gave the keynote address to the Republican National Convention. As Hoover digressed from his prepared remarks to speak extemporaneously, the teleprompter properly stopped scrolling to await the completion of Hoover's ad-libbing. But then Hoover announced in front of the entire nation that the teleprompter needed to restart the scrolling so he could read what to say, and the secret was out. Before long everyone in television wanted to use this new technology.