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WBBM Channel 2 - Partial Anthem, Sign-Off, & Bars (1978)

Here's a clip that's pretty rare - Includes the ending of the National Anthem (recording starts late for some reason), the Station Sign-Off (with voiceover by Jerry Harper), about 24 seconds of black, and then color bars on WBBM Channel 2. Watch during the color bars for a on-screen ID and voiceover. (different announcer)

Also includes a cool "color-lightning" station ID animation before the color bars. (Voiceover by?)

This aired on local Chicago TV in 1978. (about 90% sure)

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This clip aired in 1978, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

FM, have you forgotten? The voice is Jerry Harper. ;-)

Edit: Channel 2 followed suit when channel 9 became an 24-hour station followed by channel 7.

Comment posted by ChitownTVFan on Friday, November 21st 2008 at 11:55pm.

Which one is Jerry Harper - the ID voiceover or the one during the color bars? Sounds like two different people. (or should I say two different '2' people. ;-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Saturday, November 22nd 2008 at 1:31am.

Interestingly, the colors on the print WBBM used of the CBS "SSB" film were more faithful to the original than the way-faded print used at that same point by WCBS-TV in New York. I have some questions, though: In what year did WBBM forsake the famed CBS test pattern design of old in favor of the EIA RS-189A style color bars seen at the end? And was there a reason that, as of c.1978, WBBM didn't have the "Seal of Good Practice"?

And B.T.W., the tone WBBM used with those bars measured at 401 Hz.

Another thing: After the legalese, the final sentence of this sign-off differed from that used by WCBS and Philadelphia's WCAU-TV: "Our next regularly scheduled program will come to you at _____ A.M. Good morning (WCAU varied the very last sentence as "Good night and good morning")."

Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, November 22nd 2008 at 3:55am.

Been waiting to see a WBBM-TV sign-off. Despite the partial SSB film going first then the sign-off, which follows the CBS script with some variant, that jarring lightning ID and then the color bars instead of the CBS style TP. I'm thinking WBBM wanted to one-up its sister stations, especially WCBS-TV.


Thanks fuzzy for this.

Comment posted by BobAnthony on Saturday, November 22nd 2008 at 5:38am.

From what I could tell, Mr. Harper handled the sign-off script. I did notice the WBBM slide used at that point used the same Serif Gothic fonts as WCBS (and, from 1978-84, KNXT in Los Angeles, now KCBS-TV) used for its "2" logo. Wonder if this slide was created pre-1975 or so, given that by this time WBBM's "2" logo was in Avant Garde Bold?
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, November 22nd 2008 at 10:47am.

Jerry Harper is doing the sign-off and not the 2nd part with the ID.
Comment posted by ChitownTVFan on Saturday, November 22nd 2008 at 12:35pm.

Anyone know how old the film was.

Was it somewhat recent or much older?

Comment posted by MIKEPROSPECT on Monday, November 24th 2008 at 3:18pm.

The voice for the station ID. at the end sounded like an old tape.
Maybe it plays automatically every so often, like every 30 minutes (per FCC)?

Comment posted by armitagenlowell on Tuesday, November 25th 2008 at 3:22pm.

To 'MIKEPROSPECT': It looks like the "SSB" film dated back to the mid-1960's if not somewhat earlier. (The 50 stars are a key to dating.) As I said, I give kudos to WBBM for keeping their "SSB" film print in better shape than WCBS-TV did theirs. I was informed WCAU-TV in Philadelphia also used this "SSB" film, but can't say about either KMOX-TV (now KMOV) in St. Louis or KNXT (now KCBS-TV) in Los Angeles, though in both cases it wouldn't be surprising if they did. I was also curious as to which orchestra played this version, as it's one that sounds a might different from the various arrangements that the bands of each branch of our military had at their disposal.
Comment posted by W.B. on Tuesday, November 25th 2008 at 4:20pm.

Thanks for putting this up. Sign-ons and sign-offs are a thing of the past now. Are stations still required to report owner, operator, broadcast and technical information sometime during the day, or is that now a thing of the past?
Comment posted by ro46214 on Wednesday, November 26th 2008 at 8:07am.

To ro46214...no, they don't have to give owner, operator, or broadcast information. Some stations still do it-but it's not required.
Comment posted by MATSYLPOFF on Wednesday, November 26th 2008 at 3:09pm.

Hmmm... starting at the :26 mark, they don't have the "2" for their channel, just the capitalized "TWO." Maybe another way 'BBM wanted to "one-up its sister station... WCBS-TV," quoting BobAnthony?
Comment posted by BuffaloBound on Wednesday, November 26th 2008 at 3:14pm.

I also noticed that the tone sounds like a very elongated version of their news radio division's top of the hour "BUNG" tone.
Comment posted by armitagenlowell on Wednesday, November 26th 2008 at 3:31pm.

Yeah, armitagenlowell... when I turn the sound up and down, it does sound like that TOH "bong."
Comment posted by BuffaloBound on Wednesday, November 26th 2008 at 4:55pm.

Actually, as I said, the tone accompanying the color bars was 401 Hz . . . the "bong" was 433 Hz modulated by an 866 Hz signal.
Comment posted by W.B. on Wednesday, November 26th 2008 at 5:02pm.

I remember this! I used to think, "Wow, I'm up REALLY late!"
Comment posted by ScarlettOHara on Sunday, October 16th 2011 at 5:02am.

The V/O during the color bars is Ed Roberts, who can also be heard on some other WBBM clips on this site.

The V/O during the station ID animation is Jerry Harper. It sounds exactly the same as the 1980 station ID which aired after the CBS News Special Report, John Lennon: The Dream is Over.

Comment posted by IAmNomad on Sunday, November 25th 2012 at 3:52am.

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This clip has been viewed 6203 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Friday, November 21st 2008.
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Comment posted in Boxcar Willie - King Of The Road - 20 Great Tracks (Record Offer, 1981) by LaPrincess on Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 9:20pm CT

My great grandma had this record. Strangely Boxcar Willie looks like he could be related to my guy friend.


Comment posted in Marriott's Great America (Commercial, 1979) by pvx on Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 12:49am CT

In reply to Szake's, T.K.'s, and Fuzzy's comments regarding the letters flashing in the corners of the screen at the beginning--I have seen this as well in other national TV commercials on film from this era.

I have a really good hunch as to what this is--going from my experience working master control in local commercial television and handling the physical airing of commercial spots (albeit much later in the early 2000s on videotape and satellite-delivered video files for on-air playout, as opposed to the film print this commercial is most likely from), this is more than likely an ISCI (Industry Standard Commercial Identifier) code, an unique 4 letter & 4 number identification code assigned to national commercial spots that receive national network and/or local affiliate airing. Each ISCI code is unique to the spot for identification for advertisers, ad agencies, post-production staff, and the station's/network's traffic/logging, ad sales, and and master control personnel. A typical ISCI code is usually in the format of ABCD1234.

I'd hazard to guess that it must of been the industry standard in the 70s to have the ISCI code digits show up on the corners of the first few film frames of the spot, to ease identification for the master control/projectionist/editor at a station to know what spot it was while splicing it together with other commercial films to make a spot reel (or when threading the spot by itself up in a film-chain projector) for airing in a local commercial break.

When the transition to delivering commercials to stations/networks on videotape became more common practice, usually the ISCI code was displayed during the slate & countdown before the spot on the beginning of the tape (obviously not aired, unless the MCO screwed up and switched it up too early ;) )).

I wonder of the ISCI code of this spot is something like xMxHx0x3 (the "x"s being whatever letters/numbers displayed at the left side of the screen, which is mostly cut off in this video), say, something like IMGH1023?


Comment posted in Boxcar Willie - King Of The Road - 20 Great Tracks (Record Offer, 1981) by Phantom on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 5:10pm CT

This album came from Suffolk Marketing which also sold records of Slim Whitman, Jim Nabors, Jim Reeves & Cristy Lane.


Comment posted in Marriott's Great America (Commercial, 1979) by T.K. on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 4:04pm CT

I was able to stop on two frames... the first with M in the upper-right corner and H in the lower-right and the second frame with O in the upper-right and 3 in the lower-right. So... MO, H3? If it was flashing M-O-M, I'd think maybe it was a subliminal message to ask your mother to buy a ticket.


Comment posted in Marriott's Great America (Commercial, 1979) by FuzzyMemories on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 1:39pm CT

Seriously though, it seems like the letters change in each corner very quickly, like it is cycling through something. I also see an 'O' in the upper-right hand corner. Can't we get the conspiracy nuts to break this down for us? This is probably bigger than the "subliminal" station sign-off message. ;-)


Comment posted in Marriott's Great America (Commercial, 1979) by FuzzyMemories on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 1:36pm CT

I still see the X. ;-)


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When Lurie said, "Toronto certainly is a great city and I know the commissioner wants to get a team in Washington," he's referring to the Seattle Mariners, the other American League expansion team that had been announced in January 1976.

The A.L. had been embroiled in a lawsuit with the state of Washington, which accused the league of breach of contract for not allowing a local nonprofit group to purchase the bankrupt Seattle Pilots prior to the 1970 season. (The other owners believed their clubs would be devalued as a result of such an arrangement. Instead, the team was sold to Bud Selig and moved to Milwaukee between the end of spring training and Opening Day 1970.) Granting another expansion franchise to Seattle was the league's way of settling the case and avoid paying $32 million in damages.


Comment posted in Boxcar Willie - King Of The Road - 20 Great Tracks (Record Offer, 1981) by Duck 182 on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 3:40am CT

I think I remember my Grandma and Aunt having this on 8 track.


Comment posted in Marriott's Great America (Commercial, 1979) by ER3017 on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 1:19pm CT

I see it too


Comment posted in Marriott's Great America (Commercial, 1979) by Szake on Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 9:14pm CT

You can see a M in the upper right hand corner, an H in the lower right hand corner and an I in the upper left hand corner one second into the video.


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