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WGN Channel 9 - Night Beat with Jack Taylor (Opening, 1980)

Here's one a lot of people have been asking about for quite a while - the original opening for the Night Beat news program on WGN Channel 9 featuring Jack Taylor.

Anyone know what the name of the music theme for Nightbeat is?

Also includes a WGN "Last Farewell" Station ID at the beginning. (Announced by Jerry Golden)

This aired on local Chicago TV on early Saturday, September 20th 1980.

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This clip aired on Saturday, September 20th 1980, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

Wow! Len O' Connor did commentary? Thanks Fuzzy.
Comment posted by 1980sfan on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 7:16am.

I DO NOT KNOW THE NAME OF THE THEME,BUT DO KNOW IT WAS COMPOSED BY DAVE GRUSIN. MARTY MC NEELEY HOSTED NIGHT BEAT LATER. WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM?
Comment posted by ROGERRENNER on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 8:41am.

To '1980sfan': Sure did. Mr. O'Connor went to WGN after leaving WMAQ-TV around 1974.
Comment posted by W.B. on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 11:59am.

The opening was shot in 1970.
Comment posted by mprender on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 12:04pm.

Wow - ok, Mr. Prender - you have to let us know how you know that. :-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 12:05pm.

Well...you can read a few titles on the movie marquees...that's a good start!
Comment posted by SuperCFL on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 12:51pm.

Marty worked for ABC radio after he left Chicago. Last I heard, he was retired and living in New York.
Comment posted by kba on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 2:52pm.

And, I might add, he doesn't have any WGN material, incase anyone was thinking of trying to track him down. ;-) A friend of mine did a number of years ago and he wasn't too interested in reminiscing, shall we say. But - you never know, maybe he's had a change of heart - if you're out there Marty - let us know! (Kathy McFarland too) ;-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 3:01pm.

On the Chicago Theater marquee it shows "The Grasshopper". The film was released in 1970.
Comment posted by mprender on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at 10:50pm.

Ah ha... you are most wise, grasshopper. Snatch the pebble from my hand... ;-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Friday, April 11th 2008 at 8:59am.

Can anybody name the landmarks?
Comment posted by armitagenlowell on Saturday, April 12th 2008 at 7:01pm.

I believe the State-Lake Theatre was one of them. Plus a few places on Rush St & Wells St in Old Town.
Comment posted by Telenews on Saturday, April 12th 2008 at 10:24pm.

Fuzzy mentions in his intro to this clip that it is the original opening of Night Beat with Jack Taylor. I know that Taylor was the main anchor at WGN for many years. But wasn't it Carl Grayson who was the original Night Beat guy?
Comment posted by telefrank on Sunday, April 13th 2008 at 8:10am.

Well, I guess I just meant the original opening, film-wise - not considering the anchors - you may be right though. There is one other Nightbeat episode out there with this old opening, but it is with anchor Marty McNeeley from 1978. It seems like Jack Taylor must have taken over Nightbeat (again?) in 1980. By early 1983 at least, McNeeley was host again (as evidenced by another existing episode, this time with updated opening from 1983).
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Monday, April 14th 2008 at 8:02am.

The station ID announcer is Jerry Golden. Just posted a longer write-up about him in the comments for The Late Movie open.
Comment posted by RickLaPorte on Monday, April 14th 2008 at 10:13pm.

Keep in mind Nightbeat aired six or seven nights a week, so it used a rotation of anchors. Carl Grayson did indeed anchor in the 70's, and Jack Taylor, Marty McNeeley, Larry Roderick, Bob Jordan, and others all sat behind the Nightbeat mic at one time or another.
Comment posted by kba on Tuesday, April 15th 2008 at 8:20am.

RickLaPorte - Thanks for the info, buddy! It's nice to be able to credit another announcer's work here.

kba - You're right - I thought that perhaps one person was the main anchor for an extended period of time though. It's hard to say with such a paucity of Nightbeat episodes available.

Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Tuesday, April 15th 2008 at 10:34am.

this reminds me of WDIV 4's nightbeat news program here in detroit from 1987 (i think) to 2002. the music from the 1995 open kicked a**
heres the video (on youtube)
better quality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMijISi1pmk
longer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh0Fntqmw_E

Comment posted by bigglitch98 on Sunday, April 20th 2008 at 2:25pm.

I was producer of "Nightbeat" for its final 10 years. For some 35 years, it always followed the Late Movie. My principal anchors were Carl Greyson and Jack Taylor. In 1983, the station brought in a program director who maintained that all tv programs had to start on the hour or half hour and "Nightbeat" was scheduled for 2 a.m. If the movie ended at 1:20, then there would be among filler material including "Industry On Parade," and a black and white series on rising Hollywood stars. "Keep your eye on this young actor... we think he'll be a big star some day." It was Paul Newman. The result was the death of Nightbeat. As I recall, that program director didn't last long.
I remember when the station did a story on a company in the area that had made beer mugs with the Moscow Olympic symbol before President Carter canceled our participation and the company was stuck with thousands of mugs. By that time we were a "super station" and "Nightbeat" was the highest ranking evening newscast in Alaska. I received a letter from a lady in Pt. Barrow on Alaska's north shore asking where she could get some of the mugs. I did a story on the letter saying that the lady must be "Nightbeat's" most distant viewer. In a few days, I received another letter from her saying that her next door neighbor to the west was upset because she considered herself to be our most distant viewer.
Marty McNeely married one of our directors, Susan Petix. They had to have company dispensation for them to get married and both continue working at WGN (he was union, she was salaried). In a few years, Susan became a director at what was then WOR-TV in New Jersey. Last I heard, Marty had retired and Susan had become an executive director for WNBC in New York. They had a son who would now be about 20.
Ironic that I should learn of your website today, Dec. 31, 2008. For the past 14 1/2 years, I have been on the producing staff of WKMG, Orlando, and today I retired after 60 years in broadcasting, which included 23 years at WGN. After 10 years on "Nightbeat," I became producer of WGN's Midday News and "retired" in 1994.
Forrest "Frosty" Respess
respess@att.net

Comment posted by frespess on Wednesday, December 31st 2008 at 7:03pm.

Congratulations on your retirement Frosty! :-)

What a long and interesting career in the business you've had. Thanks for sharing a few of what I'm sure are many great stories. Interesting info too about the demise of Nightbeat.

Let's hope that WGN comes around and lets their clips be displayed here. I'm sure you'd like to reminisce with some of these Nightbeat ones. I actually have found several more clips from the same time period (1980 or so) but can't post them right now unfortunately.

Thanks for coming again; hope to see you around here more in the future. :-)

Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Saturday, January 3rd 2009 at 6:17pm.

i remember the name forrest respess must've been on the credits for nightbeat, GOD i would love to have a short video clip of night beat, i watched it most of the time, no matter how late it was on, and also watched the movie afterwards which i recall some bowery boys, real old john wayne western shorts, like - randy rides again.

i remember watching the last nightbeat, say about, 1983? i recall it being marty mcneely, and when he said it was the last one i was like DAMN!!!!

i watched night beat from the mid 70's till its end, as i was an insomniac, and also was young and out late many times ;)

fuzzy thanks for this site, been following your site on youtube for a few yrs and finally came over here. i suppose "GN" pulled some "rights" thing on your dsiplaying any GN vids. a shame for all the fans of that station especially of its history with which they grew up with.

i thought there were no vids of nightbeat and accepted it as that. then i saw your site with a few nightbeats and i freaked! then DAMN!!!! it's not accessible! i wish co.'s would consider the fans are what made them (especially us chicago-ins who watched dedicatedly cause we liked GN and BEFORE it was a superstation). but i guess they don't care about us or having a chance to relive memories of a time we really enjoyed, by them being so stingey about letting people see such vids. truely a shame and cause of it, other than a cub game, or hawks, i won't watch GN.

i cannot believe forrest respess found this site and commented, A HUGE THANK YOU!!! for all you did at GN and especially "nightbeat" friends my age, 50, we still talk about night beat, the movie after, creature features, ray rayner, garfield, bozo, and other programs we grew up with and in most cases lamented that GN was too cheap and stupid to save old videos of these shows, which limited severely what video might be left now, and then also going ahead and making sure that on sites like this, we can not watch what little footage might be left.

thanks for nothing GN! don't wanna even give them the respect of their full call letters. all the time we all spent watching and buying their programs' sponsors products, and they cannot even throw us a bone!
:(

Comment posted by Phantasm777 on Tuesday, July 14th 2009 at 2:17pm.

FUZZY.....WHAT HAPPENED.....WE DID IT!!......
I just decided to check by the site and see what was new since it's been a while since I've done so. So I typed in " WGN Last Farewell" (just foolin' around-mind you),hit search and expected that somber "Mack The Knife" rendition.....only to hear my most favorite station ID of all time and that comforting music of "Night Beat"! Yeah...everything's alright in my world tonight!!
I fired off an e-mail to the brass at WGN as I'm sure thousands of classic Chicago TV fans did and thought my rant fell on blind eyes. I don't know what happened, Fuzzy-I'm WAAY out of the loop. Did WGN have a change of heart?,did we all irritate the living hell out of them and they cried "Uncle"??...WHAT HAPPENED!!!!!! :-D Please tell me!
I don't know,I'm just glad to get to see more of MY Chicago's Very Own Channel N9ne!!
Thanks Fuzzy,all of my fellow viewers ,and to WGN for allowing these clips (most of them anyway,some still have the MTK clip up) to stay up so we can enjoy them!!

Comment posted by 69TH&STONY on Tuesday, September 21st 2010 at 7:45pm.

69th&Stony - No, it's kind of a "soft" victory. I didn't receive any concrete verdict or word from them, but I did happen to notice that they've allowed some WGN movie promos from the early eighties on YouTube to stay up for a considerable amount of time still, so I concluded that they were loosening their policies somewhat. Or just perhaps thankfully turning a blind eye. In any case, I think their main problem at this point is with any Bozo, Gar, or Ray material - not sure at this point if that material would be allowed here, but I'm thinking it still would not be, at this time.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Tuesday, September 21st 2010 at 7:59pm.

IMO, I think it was BG&R the whole time really, they just decided to go "all the way" because of the BG&R clips. I think there is plenty of Chicago history, WGN and otherwise, OTHER than BG&R history that Fuzzy can bring us.

For one thing, I'm still looking for some actual Cartunes footage :) (actually, I probably had some taped way back when, if I still had all my old beta tapes, alas).

Comment posted by afdave on Tuesday, September 21st 2010 at 9:17pm.

That doesn't sound like Jerry Golden to me...not raspy enough. He used to be on WLS 890 in the 60s (and the American Contemporary Radio network), so I used to hear him all the time.
Comment posted by HUdson 3-2700 on Tuesday, September 21st 2010 at 10:40pm.

Fuzzy-Many thanks to you for the update. It's sad the BG&R clips (as afdave called them) will not be shown here. I'm just glad to see all of the old Channel 9 movie bumper and station ID clips. I've always loved those clips even as a kid. I'd like to thank you and your staff for all the hard work you put into bringing these Chicago TV memories to all of us. When I'm able to,I'll gladly sponsor a video to help the museum because I enjoy the site so much!!
Comment posted by 69TH&STONY on Sunday, September 26th 2010 at 10:41am.

Slightly off-topic: What does "BG&R" stand for?
Comment posted by HUdson 3-2700 on Sunday, September 26th 2010 at 3:29pm.

Bozo, Garfield Goose and Ray Rayner.
Comment posted by CJH791982 on Sunday, September 26th 2010 at 5:21pm.

I wonder . . . does Jack Taylor have any video samples of his WGN days?
Comment posted by W.B. on Monday, April 4th 2011 at 5:30pm.

He had a few clips - on some tapes with extensive mold issues that we had to have professionally cleaned. The transfers turned out surprisingly good. But I think I already had more examples of his work than even he kept! :-)

P.S. - Still working on the FM editor status configuration. Please stand by. :-)

Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Monday, April 4th 2011 at 9:57pm.

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This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Wednesday, April 9th 2008.
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