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Jack and Manny At The CE HOF

I’m writing this at 9:39 p.m. L.A. time on Tuesday night, right after the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony at CEA’s Industry Forum event. I wasn’t planning any more coverage before my 4 a.m. wake-up call for my flight back to New York, but what I heard and saw tonight call for it.

The memory of the events and emotions are too precious to possibly forget in slumber. CEA inducted the founders of TiVo, Garmin, Magnolia Audio Video; the founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, and former CEO Meg Whitman; the co-inventors of OLED, Steven Van Slyke and Dr. Ching Tang; the inventor of the lithium-ion battery anode, Dr. Samar Basu; the father of the microprocessor, Dr. Marcian “Ted” Hoff; and the developers of LCD at Sharp, Mikio Katayama and Katsuhiko Machida.

All changed the world with their contributions to the industry.

 But two other men were mentioned who, while not inventors, helped popularize the inventions and businesses of all the honorees in one form or another: Jack Wayman — who invented the Consumer Electronics Show, is celebrating his 50th year working for CEA, at 91 years old, and has been a CE HOF member since 2000 — and Manning Greenberg, a journalist and reporter with Home Furnishings Daily (HFD), who covered the industry from the early 1950s to the 1990s. Both were inducted Tuesday night.

There will be more coverage of the Hall of Fame dinner in print in TWICE and online in coming days, but suffice it to say that the video tribute given to Jack and his speech tonight about his career — he started as a highly honored World War II veteran and then got involved in this crazy business, first through retail, then RCA, and then the organization that eventually became CEA — is a classic.

I’ll put it this way: The video I did on my iPhone is longer than any video I recorded for any family video on that device ever. Our web editor Doug Olenick and I will attempt to put it on our website as soon as we can.

Regarding Manning, who passed away a few years ago: As a journalist, he is one of our own. He worked at an early rival of TWICE in the late 1980s and early 1990s, HFD. At his height, Greenberg broke stories about color TV, VCRs, TVs, regional retailers expanding like Magnolia HiFi, video game systems like Nintendo and so much more.

At his best, he was a pure reporter. Diplomacy be damned. In fact, the first time I ever spoke with Gary Shapiro, and ever spoke with Jack Wayman when he was angry, was when I answered Manny’s office phone at HFD when he was on the road in the late 1980s. He ran a story quoting Sanyo Fisher’s CEO Howard Ladd, who said one CES per year is fine and that we didn’t need another one in June.

There is a Greenberg legacy here at TWICE. Joe Palenchar, Greg Tarr, Doug Olenick and yours truly either worked with Manny or were hired by him, so we are in his debt for the industry expertise and work ethic he shared with us.