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WNBC Channel 4 - News, Sermonette, & Sign-Off (1980)

Ok, it's not Chicago - it's New York, but I figured we'd all like to see this anyway - I just found it. (And we do have some New York visitors here from time to time.) Includes:

WNBC-TV News, Sports & Weather summary with Don Pardo voiceover (can't help but smile a little when I hear him reading serious news)

WNBC-TV4 Editorial (Don Pardo voiceover intro) with Joseph Michaels, Editorial Director of WNBC-TV.

PSA for Census '80 - We're Counting For You! with Edward James Olmos

Drunk Driving Morgue PSA from the Nassau County Police Department

"Get a Second Opinion" PSA from U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (with actor Cliff Robertson) (Ending voiceover by Peter Thomas)

WNBC-TV-New York Station ID (Don Pardo voiceover)

Sermonette with Fr. James L. Tahaney of the Brooklyn Diocese

Spaulding for Children of Westfield, New Jersey - Adoption plea - with voiceover by Fred Facey

PSA for Census '80 - We're Counting For You! with Hattie Carthan, Julio Vigoreaux and Charles Wang

New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services PSA

WNBC-TV-New York Station Sign-Off with National Association of Broadcasters Television Code Seal of Good Practice (voiceover by Arthur Gary)

National Anthem (performed by United States Army Band)

Color Bars and Tone

This aired on local New York TV early Saturday, March 22nd 1980 between approximately 3:33am and 3:43am (EST).

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This clip aired on Saturday, March 22nd 1980, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

This was from a late Friday night/early Saturday morning in early 1980 - remember, "News 4 New York" didn't debut until October 1980 - given that the legendary Mr. Pardo was holding down the fort, if you will, at the announcing booth on this day (and of course he was, and is, the announcer for "Saturday Night Live"). Also, this was the second prerecorded sign-off from fellow veteran staffer Arthur Gary; during the red/blue "N" era of the mid-to-late 1970's, his final words after "...on behalf of Channel 4" were the slogan of the time, "Part of Your Life." Two of the slides - the copyright disclaimer notice and a flopped (reversed) picture of the New York skyline looking south from the top of 30 Rock at 49th Street - were used for a later, post-TV Code sign-off from 1986, by which time Fred Facey held the sign-off honors. Further, this may "only" be New York, but a thousand, thousand thanks (a la Ed McMahon's greetings to Carnac the Magnificent on "The Tonight Show") from a New York boy. (To be sure, I am appreciative of learning the ins and outs of Chicago TV.)
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 3:50pm.

P.S. Mr. Pardo also was at the announcing booth at WNBC-TV in the early afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, when the first bulletins came in about the shooting of President John F. Kennedy, therefore he was the first voice to inform Channel 4's viewers about this history-changing event. Audio tapes recorded by a collector of Mr. Pardo's bulletins surfaced about a quarter century later. So he did do "serious" news from time to time.
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 3:57pm.

And I as a CT lad, will honor those greetings. And to hear Don Pardo do the news summary--this is classic! Too bad he didn't do the sign-off and instead hear Arthur Gary. You know this is just like some KNBC-TV Los Angeles sign-offs that have been posted on the web.

For the record, Don Pardo, even in his 90's is still heard on Saturday Night Live.

Comment posted by BobAnthony on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 5:50pm.

Speaking of Fred Facey . . . he V/O'd the Spaulding for Children P.S.A.
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 6:01pm.

To 'BobAnthony', per the "this is just like some KNBC-TV Los Angeles sign-offs that have been posted on the web": Not exactly. KNBC's sign-off newscasts were 15 or so minutes in length, and structured not unlike New York station WPIX's sign-off "Action News" editions from within the same era, with taped reports from the "NBC Nightly News" and the 11 P.M. edition of "NewsCenter4." (On KNBC's sign-off news, that is.) By contrast, although here we see an editorial, a sermonette and all sorts of PSA's, WNBC seemed in comparison more in a hurry to sign off for the night, given Mr. Pardo's to-the-basics news update, which lasted as little as 2 minutes and as much as 5 minutes.
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 6:05pm.

Haven't seen this before! Thanks Rick! :)
I miss the good ol' days...watching sign offs and sign ons. Get up about an hour before cartoons would start on Saturday mornings, watching TV test patterns and eating cereal. Good times!

Comment posted by MATSYLPOFF on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 6:41pm.

Don Pardo turned 90 recently!
Comment posted by dth1971 on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 7:17pm.

And finally, that was Edward James Olmos on one of the Census PSA's - years before landing the role of the boss on "Miami Vice."
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 7:25pm.

That's pretty cool hearing Don Pardo do serious news! Hey, W.B., where in NY are u from? I was born in Buffalo and lived there until my family moved (back) to Chicago in January of '67. (one week before the big blizzard)
Comment posted by madsixtian on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 8:35pm.

Why, Manhattan, of course. I also seem to recall that in earlier years, the likes of Jerry Damon, Bob Waldrop and Matt Thomas did live sign-offs of WNBC.
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, March 1st 2008 at 9:41pm.

The exact date of this aircheck was the early morning hours of Saturday, March 22, 1980 - the Nets/76ers game referred to by Mr. Pardo was played on Friday, March 21, 1980.
Comment posted by W.B. on Sunday, March 2nd 2008 at 12:16pm.

Thanks for all the interesting info, W.B. and everyone else - I updated the video description. :-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Sunday, March 2nd 2008 at 3:55pm.

Was Channel 5 and other NBC o&os using the same type of anthem for their signoff at the time?
Comment posted by 1cpw on Sunday, March 2nd 2008 at 9:15pm.

To '1cpw': Not that I know of. At the same period as this aircheck, KNBC in Los Angeles was using a homemade production with shots of open fields, to the tune of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's rendition of "America the Beautiful." (Did any TV station air the MTC's "ATB" produced by the Latter-Day Saints itself, a la their "SSB" that aired for years at sign-on and sign-off on WOR-TV in New York, or their "My Country 'Tis of Thee" which aired at sign-off on WRTV in Indianapolis, IN?) I cannot speak for any of the three other NBC O&O's of the time - WRC-TV in Washington, DC, WKYC-TV in Cleveland, OH, and of course, WMAQ-TV. Perhaps 'Fuzzy' and the other Windy City-based vintage TV aficionados may clue us all in. I certainly saw no "SSB" or "ATB" on either the 1982 or '84 Channel 5 sign-ons.

Oh, and to 'Fuzzy': The Spaulding for Children adoption plea PSA, as I noted a few posts above, was voiced by another longtime NBC staff announcer, the late Fred Facey.

Comment posted by W.B. on Sunday, March 2nd 2008 at 10:26pm.

The sermonette was very insightful. And is very relavant to today. I think people today make simple things complicated. Sometimes I'm guilty of that myself. Perhaps if people see this clip they can learn from it, and maybe remember that being too serious just not cool. Okay, I'm done being serious, but I had to get that off my chest. Thanks a bunch, Fuzzy! 8^)
Comment posted by Bertonator on Saturday, March 8th 2008 at 6:29am.

By the way, Arthur Gary was a staff announcer at NBC Radio. He was one of the announcers on Bill Stern's radio program, the first ever sports radio program (15 minutes in length) from 1938 to 1951.
Comment posted by BobAnthony on Monday, March 24th 2008 at 2:47pm.

As a vintage NYC TV nut, I must say thanks for unearthing that rare gem.
Comment posted by cbsfm101 on Thursday, May 1st 2008 at 5:40pm.

That's a great piece of NYC TV there.Great find.I never knew that Don Pardo did news either.

I learn something new here everyday.

On a humorous note here.Doesn't Edward James Olmos look like the Geico caveman there.

Comment posted by Chisox73 on Saturday, May 17th 2008 at 10:10pm.

To 'Chisox73': Mr. Pardo wasn't the only one to do sign-off newscasts from time to time at WNBC. Once, in 1986, Bill Wolff (another NBC staff announcer who was famous as the original announcer for the daytime soap "Another World" from its 1964 debut until 1987) read the news prior to sign-off.
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, June 7th 2008 at 12:39pm.

And a follow-up to '1cpw's' 3/2/08 question: WKYC-TV in Cleveland, in the mid-to-late 1970's, had a homemade video of the "SSB" where the anthem was sung by a group of children.
Comment posted by W.B. on Wednesday, November 26th 2008 at 11:35pm.

O.K. Since my name won't show for some reason, i'll have to identify myself. "Detroiter, but Chicago Fan" here. If you're going to add New York stations, Fuzz, you really need to find some clips from my town. We have had two very influential stations, WXYZ and WKBD. They both have had classic moments in their history. WXYZ was known for their famous news theme and anchor man, Bill Bonds. I need to be able to watch stuff like this somewhere. The only site that Detroit has for this kind of stuff is "Detroit Radio Flashbacks." By the way, check out detroitradioflashbacks.net, all of you. There are even some Chicago Radio Flashbacks on it.
Comment posted by on Tuesday, August 4th 2009 at 1:56pm.

Detroiter, there are quite a few clips from WXYZ on YouTube, which I'm sure you've already seen. (Unfortunately, no one seems to have an EBS test from WXYZ, which I understand included a representation of the sine-wave pattern of the attention signal, which I'd love to see.) .If you had any tapes, you might persuade Fuzzy into putting them out here, because a lot of us might be interested in seeing them, too.
Comment posted by HUdson 3-2700 on Tuesday, August 4th 2009 at 2:12pm.

"Detroiter, but Chicago Fan" here. HUdson 3-2700, the only tapes I have that would deserve posting would be from WDIV (October-November 1979), and WJBK (Summer 1982, I think). I wish I could post them up, but both of these gems are on their last legs, and just trying to do this would probably break them. By the way, I forgot to mention something. If any of you take my advice and try to find those Chicago Radio Clips on Detroit Radio Flashbacks, when you get to the site, click on "...and More", and then click on "Far Out There Flashbacks."

STATION!!

Comment posted by on Wednesday, August 5th 2009 at 12:51pm.

You gotta love the way Pardo inflects "BILL-ion dollars," "bllllowww up the compound," and "Comandante Uno." As with KNBC's Victor Bozeman, his classically trained stage presence comes brings a bit of life to otherwise dry news copy. It would be a refreshing change to hear the news occasionally delivered this way again -- a resonant off-camera voice with a slightly dramatic delivery and little other affectation.

Today's cookie-cutter VO talent seems to fall into two categories, either: 1.) overprocessed to the point of sounding like Satan incarnate, or, 2) wimpy and pubescent voices attempting to be "hip, everyday guys." I'll get off my soapbox now...

Comment posted by T.K. on Saturday, October 10th 2009 at 2:25pm.

It should be noted that the "SSB" played here was by the U.S. Army Band, and because of the area in and around where this was filmed, has been referred to by Wikipedia as the "Mount Vernon SSB." Besides WNBC, other stations that played this film included WNAC/WNEV Channel 7 (now WHDH) and WBZ Channel 4 in Boston, WFMJ Channel 21 in Youngstown, OH, KLCS Channel 58 in Los Angeles, WETA Channel 26 in Washington, DC, and several others.

In addition, the "SSB" recording here was also used for another film called the "Army Evolution SSB" because it showed a brief history of the U.S. Army from its founding in 1775 up to the point the film was made (around late 1960's, as seen here); plus another film that may or may not have been homemade, and which aired on WPIX Channel 11 in New York for many years starting around the late 1960's (as shown here; however by the time of this 1979 sign-off, the film was very badly faded). I say "may or may not" because it's possible a short snippet of the "SSB" film WPIX ran for years was shown at the end of an "SSB" film run as of 1987 on KING Channel 5 in Seattle, WA per here.

Comment posted by W.B. on Monday, November 1st 2010 at 10:32pm.

Info on ending voiceover on "Second Opinion" PSA and version of National Anthem added to clip description.
Comment posted by W.B. on Wednesday, April 13th 2011 at 10:55am.

Pinpointed the timeframe of this sign-off and added to clip description. (This followed a repeat of the 1960's Patrick McGoohan spy series Secret Agent which aired at 2:30am [EST].)
Comment posted by W.B. on Sunday, November 11th 2012 at 4:30am.

Rest in peace, Don Pardo. 96 years is such a blessing!
Comment posted by AnnArborMI90 on Tuesday, August 19th 2014 at 4:52am.

"Ladies & gentlemen, it's with great admiration that I present for the 2,753rd time. The star of Jeopardy!... Art Fleming!" - Don Pardo on the last NBC telecast of Jeopardy! aired on Friday, January 3, 1975.
Comment posted by ChitownTVFan on Tuesday, August 19th 2014 at 7:39am.

I did a tribute to Don this morning on my blog.

He was a dedicated professional and he will be missed.

Comment posted by HUdson 3-2700 on Tuesday, August 19th 2014 at 2:57pm.

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This clip has been viewed 17985 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Saturday, March 1st 2008.
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Check out the technician fleeing the shot at 3:45 as the Camaro comes into view! Lucky his yellow shirt matched the car to help camouflage his exit...


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Am I the only person who thinks that Jerry Taft should be surprised on his next birthday with this clip?


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Can't beat the million-dollar sound of a jingle performed by the Ron Hicklin Singers. Even after 40 years, "At McDonaaaald's..." still sticks to the brain. It's been so long since a memorable uptempo jingle has been used in a national ad campaign, using one would stand out against all the maudlin and futuristic aural wallpaper used today.

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T.K. - You're correct - I hadn't noticed that, but this is the last regular appearance of Frazier Thomas on Family Classics that has yet been found. I don't have the opening for "The Black Swan" but I do have the last half hour or so including the complete ending, some of which you see here. I'll have to give this a proper posting at a later time.


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - The 1985 Chicago Automobile Show Special (First 10 Minutes, 1985) by T.K. on Friday, May 15th, 2015 at 10:37pm CT

Less than two months before the death of Frazier Thomas... am I right in that this is the latest of his regular appearances to have surfaced so far? (I'm not counting the clips used in the retrospective stories in April.)

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