06/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Life In The Time Before TelePrompters Was Tedious, As It Turns Out

I know it's hard to believe, but there was once a time in America when TelePrompters were not such objets de controversie. That time? The year 2007! A book called "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" was delighting children!

But if you go way, way, back, you find that there was a time when TelePrompters did not even exist. (That would be the 1940s.) And so, politicians had to give terrible halting and monotonous speeches using only pieces of paper. Peter Feld found a video of one such speech of Calvin Coolidge, keeping cool with the fact that he had no talent for oratory. (Fun fact: This 1924 DeForest Phonofilm was used by legendary journalist Paprika "Paps" VandeHei to "win the early half of the twentieth century.")


Imagine what might have been if Coolidge had been able to avail himself of the power of a TelePrompter! Probably a hot load of nothing at all, right? Anyway, speeches railing against the perils of taxation have become marginally more entertaining since then.

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