Home  News & Views  Forums  Donate  About  Contact  
Search our online archive of 4,703 clips.
Category Search:
Keyword Search:  
Latest Additions - Recently Viewed - - My Favorites - Most Favorited - Most Commented - Sponsored - Random
Loading the player ...
Share You must Log In to store favorites.
This clip has not been favorited.
 Link/Embed

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)

Click here to search for related videos.

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.

You must be logged into the forums to add comments.

This clip has been viewed 30778 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Sunday, March 22nd 2009.
Latest Additions
10 total pages
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 8 9 1 page forward10 pages forward

WGN Channel 9 - Emergency Broadcast System - "This is NOT a Test" (1985)

WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service (Opening, 7/16/82)

WPRO Channel 12 - 11th Hour News with Bob Wallace (1965)

Weebles Tree House by Romper Room (Commercial, 1975)

WKBS Channel 48 - Snipets - "Homework First" (1983)


Most Recent Site Comments

Comment posted in WSET Channel 13 - News 13 (Preview, Break & Opening, 1977) by JFTaylor on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 at 7:52pm CT

I actually lived at 4715 Boonsboro Road Boonsboro Village Apartments. Just about everyone in Lynchburg knew that. Glad it wasn't Chicago!

I'm the voiceover in the news preview (voiceover by ??) with teases and opening titles (without theme music - imagine that!), with wide shot of news set (voiceover by ??).

In 1977, there were only 6 members of the news staff... News Director/Anchor - Stan Jayson, Weather - Charles Middleton, Sports - John Buren, Reporters - Jeff Taylor & Jennifer Smith and a Photographer.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service (Opening, 7/16/82) by davismv on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 at 6:19pm CT

Wow, lots of new night owl stuff starting to surface!! Fuzzy, I knew there was more, and I'm sure there's some more yet to be found!!


Comment posted in Digger by Romper Room (Commercial, 1975) by LaPrincess on Sunday, March 12th, 2017 at 11:43pm CT

I had Digger. Why I had a fake dog when I had two dogs (one of which I could walk as a child)is something that makes no sense.


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Emergency Broadcast System - "This is NOT a Test" (1985) by FuzzyMemories on Monday, March 6th, 2017 at 11:05pm CT

@Detroit4Chicago - You got it - only difference is there's no repeat at the end. :-)


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Emergency Broadcast System - "This is NOT a Test" (1985) by Detroit4Chicago on Monday, March 6th, 2017 at 10:51am CT

My sneak preview guess of EBS Cart #3: "This concludes operations under the Emergency Broadcast System. All broadcast stations may now resume normal broadcast operations. I repeat....."


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Emergency Broadcast System - "This is NOT a Test" (1985) by Tommy33 on Monday, March 6th, 2017 at 10:28am CT

This is scary. 1985, the last throes of the Cold War. MX and Pershing II missiles. Our launch sites in WEST GERMANY. Before perestroika and glasnost. If you want to get really scared watch "Threads." Better yet, don't watch "Threads."


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Emergency Broadcast System - "This is NOT a Test" (1985) by FuzzyMemories on Monday, March 6th, 2017 at 12:18am CT

Detroit4Chicago - Thanks for the input. I defer to your expertise. It would be awesome (awesomely frightening?) to hear one from a local Chicago station that actually mentioned an "Attack Warning". But I guess this might be the closest we can get to that right now. :-)

I also obtained the EBS Cart #3 from the same batch - I will post it eventually. It's not as exciting as this one and if I recall correctly is an "All Clear" or cancellation of the alert or something. Same graphics and same announcer though. (Rick Garofalo has no idea what became of the EBS Cart #1, by the way) :-)

Subcarrier - Thanks for the story. Scary stuff! :-)


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Emergency Broadcast System - "This is NOT a Test" (1985) by Detroit4Chicago on Sunday, March 5th, 2017 at 8:12pm CT

I believe this is not a RED CARD EAN (although judging by the label on the cart via Facebook, it does seen that way.)

I believe that this here was a standby script that was adopted by the FCC around 1972 when the Commission had changed some of the EBS/EAN procedures a year after the disastrous "wrong tape" incident at NORAD.
This also included the elimination of the EAN Message #1 ("White Card") and EAN Message #2 ("Red Card/Attack Warning") alert scripts. After the changes were made, you did not know what the heck was going on.

I think in this case, EBS #1 was the initial interruption announcement, use of the 22.5 second two-tone attention signal then the body announcement of the EAN. This clip from the cart, being marked EBS #2, may have been used for standby purposes when no Presidental "or his representative" address to the nation was available and everyone in the country was biting their nails and fidgeting.

My guess is that after 1981, the FCC (during the Reagan administration) and/or FEMA had given the "green light" for radio and TV stations to stay on the air and rebroadcast WGN Radio's EBS programming during an EAN request. I believe in turn, WGN would rebroadcast WLS (the EBS PEP; dunno..)

Before this, only key EBS radio stations (WGN and/or WLS) whom were allowed to stay on the air during an EAN would have been the only one(s) airing this script; everyone else would have been off the air after being ordered to cease broadcasting and to wait for the Emergency Action Termination to be given.

BTW (and on the same topic,) I'd like to know if anyone who worked at channel 5 have any knowledge if WMAQ-TV was a "Non-EBS" station during an EAN. (???)

Case in point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAsGpYMpn3s&list=PL4dCu1NpF8Sb-xR8_fV_XTD0ypUIwKsNT


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - Emergency Broadcast System - "This is NOT a Test" (1985) by Subcarrier on Saturday, March 4th, 2017 at 8:11pm CT

I have a cart that was also used for the EBS. It was taken out of service when the EAS replaced it. It's labeled "National Emergency" and has a black plastic cover with diagonal stripes over the business end so it didn't get put on the air accidentally. The announce is similar to the clip- and it is chilling to hear. I played it on the prelisten bus on the MC switcher we were using at the time (CDL 990) which was probably a bit dangerous! After I heard it I threw it back in the rack as quick as I could.


Comment posted in Sears Bank & Trust - "Fastest Bank in Town" with Bobby Hull (Commercial, 1979) by FuzzyMemories on Friday, March 3rd, 2017 at 10:10am CT

Thanks for the update. I also added information to the description.


<<< Older
  News & Views  Forums  Donate  About  Contact  Disclaimer  Links  Press   
This page was created in 0.84915 seconds 2007-2017 Museum of Classic Chicago Television