"I think a large part of the public said, 'An extra $100? For that, I can get up from my chair!' So [the first remote control] was never a large percentage of the sets sold."
About This Interview
In his nearly two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Dr. Robert Adler (1913-2007) speaks 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 outlines his long association with Zenith, which began shortly after he emigrated to the United States in 1940. He discusses the evolution of the remote control's invention at Zenith, which began with an attached remote box and cable. He talks about the impractical light-activated wireless versions that preceded his ultrasonic (and practical) version. He describes the theory behind his invention as well as its technical specifications. Adler then discusses other key innovations in television for which he contributed. He also talks about the research department at Zenith and details its makeup and functions. He then talks about his involvement in current technologies, including touch screen and HDTV. B-roll consists of cover shots and illustrations from journal articles regarding some of his most significant work. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Chicago, IL on October 11, 2004.