Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Did Jerry Lewis Invent And Patent Video Assist?

To think that this is considered the portable model!

Yes, THAT Jerry Lewis, A friend of mine characterized the two phases of Lewis; the “schlemeil” and the “genius”. This would fall into the “genius” camp. A lot of film fans don't realize that Jerry was equally adept behind the camera as in front of it. For his films of the late 50's, he wanted to effectively direct himself in the picture but was held back by the 24 hours it took to develop the day's film (or “rushes”).

That outfit only looks cool because Deano's not here. It's hard to be spontaneous a day later, so in 1960 he claimed to have patented a system of mounting a video camera alongside the film camera, both sharing the same view. The video camera would record the same image the film camera saw, and Jerry could instantly play back the scene right there on the set from videotape. Today we call this “video assist”, and it has been an absolute requirement for filmmakers for decades. He's been lauded for this crucial contribution at film industry functions for years, but it appears after all these years that the story isn't exactly true.

The oft repeated claim of Lewis' that he invented video assist encouraged C|net's Peter Glaskowsky to press his years of experience with the U.S. Patent Office into action. No such patent exists in Lewis' name. After much searching he found that video assist patents date back to an astonishing 1947! The design was continually refined, and the inventor who gets credit for perfecting the system is Jim Songer in the early 60's.

As Glaskowsky says in his article, this may not be a deliberate exagerration on Lewis' part. Filing a patent can be a multi-step (and multi-year) process, so Jerry might not have known that a patent application possibly never went through. After years of attaching the invention of video assist to the legendary talent (there's an actual video assist unit bearing Lewis' likeness above the tape reels), it is like so many great inventions – it's the Dear Jerry of the past, "In Your Own Backyard" is a really rotten song.work of many people refining what came before.

Unfortunately it does cast a shadow on Lewis' other claim to have introduced the industry standard Kudelski Nagra sound recorder to motion pictures. I may have to do some searching of my own. This somewhat unlikely source of crucial behind-the-scenes contributions is a typical Hollywood story, isn't it? Only let's calm down on the video assist claims, Jerry. Isn't it enough to be a beloved auteur filmmaker, premiere comic, humanitarian, and genius in France?

[thanks to Scott Marks at Emulsion Compulsion]


Glaskowsky's article tracing the history of video assist
A longer look at video assist


Jerry had a rotten comic book just like these other comedians


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