Jerry Fairbanks was an innovative producer who developed the three-camera system for filming television programs during the medium's "live" infancy.
A filmmaker before he turned to television, Fairbanks won an Academy Award in the 1940s for film shorts titled "Who's Who in Animal Land" and was nominated for another for "Moon Rockets."
His Hollywood-based Jerry Fairbanks Productions created industrial films and films for television.
A popular myth often credits Desi Arnaz with creating the three-camera system for his classic "I Love Lucy."
But industry insiders, who credit Arnaz and his team with refining the system, assert that Fairbanks created television's "multicam" method when he headed NBC's fledgling film department in 1947.
The multicam system, still in use today, gave birth to the syndication business and summer reruns, and helped make Los Angeles a major player in American TV production.
Fairbanks also played a key role in developing the zoom lens that revolutionized filming in television and motion pictures—hiring and financing Frank Back, who handled the technical development. NBC originally dubbed the device the Fairbanks Zoomar Lens.
But Fairbanks neglected to obtain patents for either the multicam system or the zoom lens—mistakes for which he berated himself in his 80s as "a damn fool."
|1944||Best Short Subject - One Reel||Who's Who in Animal Land||Win|
|1947||Best Short Subject - One Reel||Moon Rockets||Nomination|