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WMAQ Channel 5 - NewsCenter5 At 5pm - "The Blizzard of '78" (Part 1, 1978)

Everyone remembers the great Blizzard of '79 - but how many people remember the Blizzard of 1978? Before the big snow in 1979 hit, this seemed fairly significant I guess, although not as bad as the Big Snow of 1967. Was this just a case of snow-perbole? You decide.

Here is Part 1 of some footage from the NewsCenter5 airing at 5pm on WMAQ Channel 5, with Mike Jackson, Ron Hunter, and Jerry Taft.

This part features a report on commuting by Gene Randall, the weather forecast by Jerry Taft, and a report on the weather troubles in Ohio by NBC correspondent Donna Fowler.

Commercials were unfortunately cut out from this original recording.

This aired on local Chicago TV on Thursday, January 26th 1978.

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This clip aired on Thursday, January 26th 1978, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

This storm was significant because of the large area it affected and its slow speed, it took a long time to clear out. The wind was the biggest problem wipping 6 foot drifts out of 12in of snow. in 67 the snow was in a narrow band that cut though northern ill and southern michigan 79 was a 4 in storm that got the mayor canned. thats all i have to say about that.
Comment posted by Pantaloon123 on Saturday, June 12th 2010 at 8:02am.

OMG Look at Jerry Taft! I don't even recognize him. Look at all that hair.
Comment posted by NuBnPrnc2k on Saturday, June 12th 2010 at 8:50am.

It's interesting to compare the various NewsCenter (or Action News, in the case of Cleveland) sets that NBC used at its O&Os. WNBC and WMAQ both had very complex sets with several pod-like reporting stations, though MAQ's looks brighter and a bit more "futuristic." I love seeing those TK-44s being maneuvered around in the background. The interview sofa in the background looks really out of place however. (KNBC and WRC had more traditional desk-based sets with a ring of city scenes high above and WKYC used a much smaller set than the rest.) I assume they were all designed by the same person -- his name fails me, but it is listed in the credits of some of WNBC's newscasts from this era.

For a Cleveland perspective on the same blizzard, Ray Glasser has a clip from WJKW.

Comment posted by T.K. on Saturday, June 12th 2010 at 1:53pm.

The original set designer for WNBC's "NewsCenter4" was Fred Harpman, who was picked for that task due to his "Probe Control" set of the short-lived 1972-73 series "Search" which starred Hugh O'Brian, Tony Franciosa, Doug McClure and Burgess Meredith. Variations on Harpman's design were used at the various stations (and even "Today" and "NBC Nightly News"), but I don't think Harpman himself had any hand in the design of those sets beyond the original "NewsCenter4" setup.

The theme music was called "NBC Radio/TV Newspulse" by Fred Weinberg (replaced at WMAQ by the end of '78 by Michael Randall's "NewsCenter" theme which was never used by WNBC); and a year prior to Part 2 of this aircheck, Norma Quarles had worked at WNBC (an aircheck of her doing an AM news update on WNBC was once on YouTube).

Technically, the cameras pushed around on-camera were TK-44A's (and presumably a few TK-44B's as well). The TK-44 was an experimental version produced in 1967 which employed image isocon tubes, unlike the TK-44A/B's which used Plumbicons. According to a 1970 manual whose text was replicated in Rich Samuels' website devoted to WNBQ/WMAQ, Channel 5's film chain capacity consisted of TK-27's and a few TK-26's.

Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, June 12th 2010 at 2:04pm.

Awesome find, Fuzzy. This happened 4 days before my 2nd birthday so I don't actually remember it happening but I've heard stories from my family about it for years. My father used to work at Florsheim Shoes at I believe Oak Brook Mall. I guess he was stranded there for 36 hours.
Comment posted by Pete on Saturday, June 12th 2010 at 11:59pm.

This was broadcast 3 days after I was born! I was born in that blizzard:) note how nobody's making a big stink about how Walnut Street and Route 6 in Joliet was impassable LOL.

Jerry Taft looks JUST LIKE Will Ferrell here!

Comment posted by GalagaFleetCommander on Tuesday, June 15th 2010 at 10:32am.

Looks like the guy from Greatest American Hero (in a suit)
Comment posted by DiamondDragon on Sunday, October 10th 2010 at 8:34pm.

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This clip has been viewed 6976 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Friday, June 11th 2010.
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Thank you! :-)

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