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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 6256 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Friday, November 21st 2008.
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Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Super Cartoon Sunrise (Jetsons Bumper #2, 1984) by OldTVNut on Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 2:42pm CT

OOOPS! It seems that somebody got Jane Jetson's & Judy Jetson's hair colors mixed up LOL.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - The Jack Benny Show - "Pre-Emption Notice" (1975) by Burr-Rabbitt on Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 11:29am CT

This aired the day I was born!


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by HUdson 3-2700 on Saturday, October 18th, 2014 at 8:52pm CT

GalagaFleetCommander - Johnny Unitas used to wear his hair in a crewcut until about 1970, when he decided to let it grow out to where he could part it. A real square...


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by GalagaFleetCommander on Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 9:23pm CT

Johnny Unitas did WHAT? I can't believe that! He's got that perfect haircut you can set a watch to like Abe Simpsons said! I wonder if he made anyone any significant amount of money.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by ER3017 on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 7:37am CT

About 2 years ago, my brother and I was on our way to the park and I saw boxes and boxes of videos, and my brother and I agreed to get almost all of them. Unfortunately, due to my strength, I didn't carry a lot, so I grabbed like 2 boxes and some videos are quite interesting I tell you. I'am still waiting to deliver these to you because if I wait, not only they'll rot but worried that these will be in the dumpster like my mom did but retrieved by me thank god.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by FuzzyMemories on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 12:48pm CT

davismv - Thanks Mark! Well, we do have some late-breaking developments - once again provided by our researcher extraordinaire, Mr. Chris Tufts (Phantom). He found this interesting article on the development of Teletext in the U.S. as well as it's use on Nite-Owl. It's from New Scientist magazine and dates to July 22nd 1982. After reading this one has to wonder - what happened? Everything seemed so rosy. They had lots of viewers, and were making some advertising money apparently. So why did Nite-Owl quit just about a month later at the end of August 1982? Were they just tired of "giving it away for free"?

In any case, Chris found another interesting article, this time from Broadcasting Magazine dated September 7th 1981. In it, we finally learn that the true start date of Nite-Owl was early Friday, September 4th at 12 Midnight! Therefore, we can say with certainty that the clip you see here is the opening of Nite-Owl's Second Episode! We'll have to adjust the airdates of a few other clips to reflect this new information.

(T.K. - the answer to your question regarding Nite-Owl's music is also in this article - although who knows, perhaps they changed music providers at some point during the run of the show)

One other thing - the article mentions that WFLD was actually including teletext pages over its regular broadcasts since April of 1981. I had never heard this before. This information just leaves me wanting more. Did they transmit the teletext pages over every program that aired on WFLD since April 1981? Secondly, if you have a recording of a WFLD broadcast from that time period and you are able to fashion some kind of decoder, can you see the original teletext pages that aired during the broadcast? According to this article, there were at least 100 decoders floating around the Chicagoland area. Did anyone save one?

davismv - Regarding your questions: this was recorded by someone who was a "serial taper" but who also apparently had a short attention span. His tapes are filled up with 4-6 hours of material per tape, and rarely are there complete programs, but instead have little "snippets" (no pun intended) of news, sports, commercials, and whatever else struck his fancy I guess. There are a lot of good "bits" but unfortunately almost each one makes you wish he stuck with the recording at least a little longer. (but then again, if he recorded longer segments we wouldn't have the variety that he captured, so it's a six-of-one situation)

Regarding finding tapes: more and more I believe that the best way to find tapes is by asking neighbors, friends, or acquaintances. Why? Because unfortunately these home recorded tapes are seen by most people as virtually worthless most of the time, and if something is viewed as worthless it has way less of a chance of even making it to a thrift store or garage sale. People would just throw them out (which is sad, I know).

Also, some thrift stores now have policies of not letting "home-recorded" tapes make it to the shelf at all - they will just toss or recycle them if donated. The reason I've heard for this is that either someone complained before about something they found on one of the tapes ("adult" content perhaps), or the thrift store people are just being proactive and trying to avoid any issues like this from happening in the first place. In any case, it does stink. One idea I had that you might want to do is call all of your local thrift stores in your area and ask them if they ever get any home-recorded tapes and what they do with them. (first hurdle is making sure they understand what you're talking about - I usually use the term home-recorded tapes and then make sure it's clear by saying I'm not talking about "store-bought" movie type tapes - but tapes that people recorded themselves at home off of TV) If they say that their policy is to just throw them away or recycle them, tell them to save them for you. Give them your name and number and tell them you will pay for them too if they are what you're looking for. Make sure you're talking to a manager or someone at the store that actually has the power to make this change. Also remind the manager to inform his workers so that they are aware of what to do with the tapes too. And lastly, it couldn't hurt to call the stores again every couple months or so, and talk to the same manager if possible, to double check they are still saving tapes for you and that they haven't lost your contact info. :-)

One last tip - when buying tapes I don't buy them based on what is on the labels. The stuff written on the labels can be a red herring. I go by the age of the tapes. If you've been doing this long enough you can identify a pre-1985 videotape just by the box style as well as certain markings on the videotape itself. The stuff written on the labels can be a nice clue, but again I don't hold much stock in it. There could be a Sony K-60 Betamax tape that could potentially date to 1975 and the person could have recorded over most of it and wrote "Jurassic Park 2" on the label - doesn't matter - because you may still find an untouched 10-20 minutes at the end of the tape of a 1978 airing of Baretta with original commercial breaks for all you know. Anyway, happy hunting and of course please let me know if you find anything good. :-)


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by Phantom on Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 6:41pm CT

An article in Broadcasting Magazine in February 1982 says Nite-Owl had as many as 110,000 viewers on some nights.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by T.K. on Sunday, October 12th, 2014 at 10:04pm CT

It struck me how much Keyfax resembles the graphics of the Prodigy online service several years later. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because they both used the NAPLPS graphics language, which was originally developed for videotex and teletext use.

Now I'm curious how Nite-Owl's music feed originated. Usually the all-night news tickers run by stations in other cities simply carried audio from a sister radio station or the local National Weather Service broadcast. It sounds like Nite-Owl had a dedicated playlist. Did WFLD have a full-blown radio automation system with multiple carts and reels run off a clock, like something by Harris or IGM? Or did someone just dub everything together onto a new reel for each night's playback? Or did the overnight master-control operator sit there and play each song back from its own cart?


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by Detroit4Chicago on Thursday, October 9th, 2014 at 12:09pm CT

Kinda neat to see an early computer-based newsfax system up and running for a UHF Station in a big market about this time. I'm thinking WFLD was trying this out to see if it became successful, it would have been used within years at the other Field stations across the country. Another possibility was to compete locally against WGN, WBBM and possibly WSNS (with of course, ON-TV) in the wee hours of the morning.

But what's neater-than-neat? Watching the Empire State Building take off like a Saturn V rocket in Commodore 65 form!


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Son of Svengoolie - "Monster on the Campus" (Partial Mail Segment with Chicago Lions Showgirls, 1981) by HUdson 3-2700 on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 2:57pm CT

http://chicagolions.com


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