Dr. Robert Adler, who died at age 93, was interviewed by the Archive of American Television on October 11, 2004. His two-and-a-half hour oral history interview can be viewed at Television Academy Headquarters in North Hollywood.
Dr. Adler spoke in great detail about his pioneering work as the developer of the first practical wireless television remote control (co-invented with fellow Zenith engineer Eugene Polley). Adler talked about his long association with Zenith, which began shortly after he emigrated to the United States in 1940. He discussed the evolution of the remote control’s invention at Zenith, which began with an attached remote box and cable. He talked about the impractical light-activated wireless versions that preceded his ultrasonic (and practical) version. He described the theory behind his invention as well as its technical specifications. Adler then discussed other key innovations in television for which he contributed. He also talked about the research department at Zenith and detailed its makeup and functions. He then talked about his involvement in current technologies, including touch screen and HDTV. B-roll consisted of cover shots and illustrations from journal articles regarding some of his most significant work.
UPDATE: 12/01/2007 Dr. Robert Adler’s full Archive of American Television interview is now online. Click here to access.
UPDATE: 12/29/2007 The life of Dr. Robert Adler is recounted in The New York Times Magazine’s year-end special, “The Lives They Lived.” Click here to access John Gertner’s excellent profile (which includes a mention of his Archive interview).