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R.I.P. Eugene Polley, Inventor Of The Remote Control On Which Our Jobs Depend

Here at Mediaite, our daily routine relies heavily on multiple television sets playing a multitude of cable news programs that provide fodder for our reporting and occasionally snarky commentary. It’s safe to say that this website, and our jobs, would not exist without the television set.

But there’s another device we daily take for granted: the remote control. Without it, we would not be able to so quickly change between channels, turn the volume down (sorry, Styleite neighbors!), or switch on the closed-captioning. Without the remote control, TV viewers wouldn’t have the increasingly-shortened attention spans that provides the need for us bloggers to fill them in on the various goings-on in cable news. And it goes without saying that TV viewers everywhere — from couch potatoes to casual viewers — depend enormously on this device.

Eugene Polley first developed the remote control in 1955 as a gun-shaped device called the “Flash-Matic,” which fired a beam of light at corners of the TV screen, wirelessly turning the TV on and off. Over the subsequent decade, the device was re-shaped and fine-tuned, now resembling the very device you occasionally lose and turn over your entire living room to find.

Sadly, the Associated Press reports that Eugene Polley passed away today at age 96 from natural causes.

We salute you, Eugene Polley. In some ways, our jobs depend on you.

Rest in peace.

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