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ABC News - "Death of Karl Wallenda" (1978)

Here is an ABC News report on the death of circus performer and tightrope walker Karl Wallenda, (of The Flying Wallendas) who fell to his death while performing at the age of 73.

From Wikipedia: "Karl attempted a walk between the two towers of the ten-story Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on a wire stretched 37 metres (121 ft) above the pavement, but fell to his death when winds exceeded 48 kilometres per hour (30 miles per hour). The Wallenda family attributes the tragedy to "several misconnected guy ropes along the wire" and not the windy conditions. A film crew from WAPA-TV in San Juan taped the fall, and the video, featuring anchorman Guillermo Jose Torres' anguished narration of the fall, circled the world. Rick Wallenda went back the following year and completed the walk successfully.

He was quoted as saying, "Life is being on the wire, everything else is just waiting."

Harry Reasoner introduces the story and James Walker reports.

Also includes at the end after a channel change a short report from another station, which looks like the local Rockford NBC affillate WTVO Channel 17.

This aired on local Rockford, IL TV on Wednesday, March 22nd 1978. (not Chicago, but close enough)

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This clip aired on Wednesday, March 22nd 1978, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

This clip is not even for the weak at heart I'll tell you what.
Comment posted by ChitownTVFan on Monday, March 23rd 2009 at 12:10am.

Wow! This man was truly insane?
Comment posted by pantaloon123 on Monday, March 23rd 2009 at 9:22am.

The debate has been raging ever since there were news cameras going back to the early days of photography where hangings of convicts would be in just about every news paper. Before film journalism, you had a choice of seeing the hangings or not.
When the use of photos, motion pictures, and video came around, you had no choice but to look at death when all you wanted to do was check the box scores or the results of the race as you flip the pages, change the channel, etc.

Nothing is sacred, not even a family's personal tragedy.

I remember CBS news using this as their closing piece. Kronkite should have said something to the producers about teasing this story all through the show and using it as a "grand finale".
I am not sure if ABC did in this case.

I didn't watch any news for a long time after seeing that!

It wasn't so much as to witnessing the tragedy, it was the way it was handled and sensationalized.

Prime example: 1983; Cecil Andrews' attempted self immolation to protest unemployment. In an alleged drunken state, he called a local TV station to have them come and video tape it! Of course the station jumped all over it, taped it, and distributed it freely to other outlets!
(BTW: He lived. But, he ended up suing the station for "egging him on" when they knew he was drunk and could perish as a result...Not to mention, no one from the crew lifted a finger to extinguish the flames that eventually engulfed him and scarred him for life. A passerby with a fire extinguisher saved him.)

But, then again, there are those instances such as Oswald being shot by Ruby, 9/11, etc.

Comment posted by armitagenlowell on Monday, March 23rd 2009 at 6:01pm.

Didn't another family member die a few years later? Ok, this is something you couldn't pay me enough to do.
Comment posted by LaPrincess on Monday, March 23rd 2009 at 9:44pm.

You guys are forgetting Budd Dwyer, that politician who killed himself in a press conference after he was convicted of accepting bribes.
Comment posted by Officedrone1 on Thursday, March 26th 2009 at 12:37am.

drone, that was in 1987 I believe. And I had the rather grim take of seeing this video online at another site. I thought I was gonna have nightmares!
Comment posted by BobAnthony on Thursday, March 26th 2009 at 5:25am.

I remember Budd Dwyer on the news the day it happened, but they blanked out the vid after a certain point. As a kid, I was always curious as to what they didn't show...stupidly, I went & found it on the internet a few years ago. Don't listen to the 12 year old kid inside of you.
Comment posted by kietdoke on Thursday, March 26th 2009 at 7:07am.

I remember Budd Dwyer too, kietdoke. He was the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania who got busted for taking kickbacks. I rembered watching the video showing him with the gun and waving people off. But that was it. I did see part of the video showing him pulling the trigger in Michael Moore's 'Bowling for Columbine', but only for a split second.
Comment posted by Loyal32fan on Thursday, March 26th 2009 at 10:04am.

This video is right up there with an old Vietnam war film footage showing a South Vietnamese cop casually shooting a Viet-Cong prisioner in the head as if it was no big deal. Although the anti-war movement in this country started long before the incident happened, it sure must have accelerated the movement even more.
Comment posted by Loyal32fan on Friday, March 27th 2009 at 10:41am.

ABC is turning Nik Wallenda's attempted tightrope walk over Niagara Falls into a prime-time television event with a three-hour special on June 15, 2012 with the daredevil attempt. Part of the show will be an examination of the greatest stunts of all time. His great-grandfather, Karl, fell to his death in a tightrope walk in Puerto Rico in this video clip.
Comment posted by Szake on Friday, May 11th 2012 at 1:00pm.

And Nik recently crossed the Grand Canyon successfully with no safety measures.
Comment posted by VintageCanada on Wednesday, July 3rd 2013 at 5:56am.

Congratulations to Nik Wallenda, whose Great-Grandfather (seen in this clip) was Karl Wallenda. Tonight, Nik successfully traversed, right here in Chicago, a high wire from Marina City's West Tower to the Leo Burnett Building, and then another high wire between the two Marina City Towers.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Sunday, November 2nd 2014 at 10:53pm.

Congrats to Nik Wallenda!
Comment posted by ER3017 on Monday, November 3rd 2014 at 11:19am.

I can't help but wonder if some people were born with the idea to do this. Nik Wallenda said that there were some things that could have caused problems but luckily he made it.
Comment posted by LaPrincess on Tuesday, November 4th 2014 at 4:16pm.

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This clip has been viewed 28471 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Sunday, March 22nd 2009.
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Most Recent Site Comments

Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - The Joker's Wild/Tic-Tac-Dough Contestant Search (Promo, 1983) by FuzzyMemories on Sunday, May 1st, 2016 at 8:37am CT

Corrected spelling of Jack Barry's name.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Newstalk - "Audio Book Devices" (Small Excerpt, 1981) by Szake on Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 at 9:06pm CT

http://factually.gizmodo.com/the-first-audiobooks-were-invented-for-blind-americans-1620940467 It seems like two librarians talking about books on tape and books on record albums with adaptive devices such as a record turntable with a pause button and a pitch or speed control on the audio cassette tape player.


Comment posted in WSNS Channel 44 - Bob Luce Wrestling - "Report on Verne Gagne Loss" (1974) by FuzzyMemories on Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 at 1:58pm CT

Correction: Al was able to confirm that this was a filmed insert for Bob Luce Wrestling, not Al Lerner Sports as was previously listed.

Also, I updated the video title to make it more clear that this is a report, and not actual footage of the match. :-)


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Garfield Goose and Friends - "Clutch Cargo" (1971?) by W.B. on Sunday, April 24th, 2016 at 8:15am CT

I was wondering exactly what telecine equipment was used to make this transfer. Because certainly it appears a bit better than it would have "back then" via WGN's film chain setup which at that point would have included RCA TK-27's.


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Garfield Goose and Friends - "Clutch Cargo" (1971?) by FuzzyMemories on Monday, April 18th, 2016 at 6:07pm CT

GHilbrich - Good observations. To answer your question, we did the transfer ourselves, direct from the original film reel. Everything you see, including the dissolve between the ID and the GG opening, was as it appears on the reel.

I agree with your reasoning. Perhaps we'd have a better idea where this came from if we can get any more information out of the original seller on Ebay. For example, I'd like to know how long this reel was in his possession, and where he got it from (was it an estate sale / private collection, or something else?)


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Garfield Goose and Friends - "Clutch Cargo" (1971?) by GHilbrich on Monday, April 18th, 2016 at 2:32pm CT

I do not believe that this was done for any other reason than someone taking home a souvenir of sorts. I think what you have here is one of (and maybe now the only) original, station used 16mm reels with the WGN Color Presentation and Garfield Goose intro that would have run any given morning before moving into the video feed with Frazier. Perhaps someone who worked at WGN got a hold of the materials here when the station was unloading reels into a dumpster and adding one of the full 5 part Clutch serials for continuity.

This is just a guess, of course. But judging from the flow of the 16mm print, it's probably the best bet (the Clutch episodes are spliced pretty tightly together without any leader, countdowns or "Place Commercial Here" slugs).

Maybe the person responsible for getting this reel out of WGN is or will read this and chime in.

I have to ask, Fuzzy, did you add the dissolve between the Color Presentation and GG titles? Do you have the actual reel or was it transferred and sent to you this way?


Comment posted in WSNS Channel 44 - Bob Luce Wrestling - "Report on Verne Gagne Loss" (1974) by TeleFrank on Monday, April 18th, 2016 at 12:22pm CT

SPOILER ALERT !!
No wrestling is shown. Booooo !!!!


Comment posted in WSNS Channel 44 - Bob Luce Wrestling - "Report on Verne Gagne Loss" (1974) by ArmitageNLowell on Sunday, April 17th, 2016 at 4:22pm CT

From what I have read in various message boards, including THE source for wrestling's past, kayfabememories.com , this sounded like a non-taped/broadcast house show to promote the big card at Comiskey Park in September; Robinson actually DID NOT win the title because Gagne's foot was on the rope when he was pinned. So, the belt was held up until the September card at Comiskey Park.

(Edited to correct date of the Amphitheater card.)

*SPOILER*
Gagne defeated Robinson via count-out.


Comment posted in WSNS Channel 44 - Bob Luce Wrestling - "Report on Verne Gagne Loss" (1974) by FuzzyMemories on Saturday, April 16th, 2016 at 11:34am CT

Or, could this have been from Bob Luce Wrestling?


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Garfield Goose and Friends - "Clutch Cargo" (1971?) by Szake on Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at 8:49pm CT

I'm thinking it was the film roll in for the show. I wonder if the original 16mm film had a splice between the Garfield Goose intro and the Clutch Cargo cartoons. If so... it may have been the telecine film run during the show. There is also a dissolve between the WGN Color intro and the show open. Film dissolves needed to be done optically, so I expected the one to end in black and the next to start from black.


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