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Cable Pioneer Burt Harris Dies at 83

Broadcasting and cable pioneer Burt Harris, founder of Harriscope Broadcasting, died of cancer on July 29 here. He was 81.

He and family members toiled in multiple industries after World War II, but he got into media in 1953 when he bought a library of wrestling films to sell to burgeoning television stations.

In his oral history for The Cable Center, he recalled being only one of five exhibitors at the National Association of Broadcasters convention that year.

He unsuccessfully pursued a cable system purchase later that year, but then successfully bid for a TV station in Casper, Wyo., a move that put him in direct competition with other cable pioneers, young Bill Daniels and Gene Schneider.

He moved into cable TV in 1965, purchasing the first of his cable operations in Palm Springs, Calif. and Flagstaff, Ariz.

Over the years he held titles including vice chairman of Warner Communications and chairman of the National Cable Television Association.

He also chaired planned pay-per-view movie channel Premiere that, according to the Los Angeles Times, was backed by four studios and Getty Oil but folded in 1981 (before launch) after competitors sued.

His wife, Shirley; a brother and sister, four children and seven grandchildren survive him.