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Teleprompter Inventor ‘Hub’ Schlafly Dies, 91

Funeral services were
held last Tuesday in Greenwich,
Conn., for Hubert “Hub”
Schlafly, the inventor of the
teleprompter and a pioneer in
satellite transmission of TV signals.

He died at a Stamford, Conn.,
hospital at age 91 on April 20 of
undisclosed causes.

Les Read, a longtime friend of
Schlafly’s and executive director
of the Cable TV Pioneers
organization, said more than
250 people attended the funeral
mass at St. Mary’s
Church. Among those were
Cablevision Systems chairman
Charles Dolan, former
Century Communications
chairman Leonard Tow and
former Starz Encore chairman
John Sie, Read said.

“It was a wonderful service;
I came away very, very inspired,”
Read said. “We lost a
great one.” Schlafly became best known for inventing the
teleprompter scrolling text reader in the 1950s, to help a
soap-opera actor who could not remember his lines — an
innovation that made his death worldwide news.

Schlafly and Irving Kahn later founded the Tele-
PrompTer Corp., which was the biggest U.S. cable operator
at one time.

Schlafly’s greatest impact on the cable-TV industry,
though, was when he and Sidney Topol of Scientific
Atlanta first demonstrated nationwide transmission of
television signals via satellite in 1973, using an eightmeter
transportable receiver.

Schlafly, a Cable Hall of Fame member, won two
cable-technology related Emmy Awards.

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.