Where’s the Clicker: Zenith’s Space Commander

Zenith Space CommandThe television remote is a generic thing, but at one time, it was exclusively connected to one brand, Zenith, now part of Korea’s LG. In many worlds, it is still the “clicker” though remotes today have soft buttons.

Zenith had Space Command, attributed to Robert Adler (1913-2007) and introduced in 1956. Later, the remote became ubiquitous for all TVs, but the Space Command for years was the leader. There were a number of great things about the early remote; Zenith would do well to go back and assert these product benefits to reclaim the mantle as king of the remote.


  • The Space Command brand is well known. Zenith would do well to sell a universal remote under the brand name, assuming someone else has not taken it. In addition, other names of Zenith like Trans-Oceanic might have some use.
  • The limited number of buttons was elegant. Is there some way to simplify the messy remote and rethink it? Realistically, the iPod has the same sort of idea, namely that the complexity is in the machine, but the clicker only does a few things. Most people only use the on-off and the channel changing.
  • Nice not to have to worry about batteries.
  • LG would do well to establish the Zenith brand even further as a center of innovation within the U.S. market.
  • There was a tactile feeling to the Space Command. While you had to press sort of hard to make the channel change, it was satisfying. The jelly-soft buttons of a current remote are squishy.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. Remotes need to do three things: on/off, volume, channel.

    Some folks I know still call them ‘clickers’, for the loud click or clack the teevee made when it was commanded to change channels. Klatu barada nikto, or whatever.

    The United States Air Force now has a subsidiary called Space Command.

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