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WGN Channel 9 - WGN Thursday Night Movie - "Taxi Driver TV Disclaimer Ending" (1982)

On WGN Channel 9, the Thursday Night Movie one particular evening was Martin Scorsese' Taxi Driver - what you might call a "difficult" film to air on regular broadcast television. Besides making some comical expletive overdubs, they added this curious disclaimer to the end of the film, which was not present in the theatrical or DVD releases, as seen here:

"TO OUR TELEVISION AUDIENCE - In the aftermath of violence, the distinction between hero and villain is sometimes a matter of interpretation or misinterpretation of facts. TAXI DRIVER suggests that tragic errors can be made. - The Filmmakers"

This aired on local Chicago TV on Thursday, November 18th 1982.

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This clip aired on Thursday, November 18th 1982, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

Thanks for posting this. I remember seeing this at the end of a presentation by KOMO in Seattle. The film was sponsored by Craftmatic Beds, as a sort of infomercial for the bed company. I had assumed that Craftmatic placed that disclaimer at the end of the movie to distance themselves from the controversy..
Comment posted by visaman on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 12:44am.

That would had been great for a special feature on a DVD. This is one of the best movies that was released in 1976 besides "Carrie", "Network" and the Oscar winner "Rocky".
Comment posted by betamax75 on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 7:27am.

What an awesome year for movies, eh?
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 7:41am.

If it's the certain Chicago station that I'm thinking of, I'm surprised that they even attempted it (I lived in Chicago at the time but really didn't pay much attention to that station). Interesting that what was difficult to show on broadcast TV in 1982 is no big deal today.
Comment posted by HUdson 3-2700 on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 8:34am.

I'd bet the story of this is out there somewhere. Just who exactly are "The Filmmakers" and why/how were they compelled to stick this awkward frame before the credits?
Comment posted by AbeFroman on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 9:56am.

This certain station between 8 and 10 aired Pulp Fiction one night in the 90s. It was overnight on a Saturday, major scenes were deleted, and entire sections of dialogue (lasting as long as a minute) were deleted.

You almost had to ask why they bothered airing it.

Comment posted by SuperCFL on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 4:43pm.

Couldn't they have waited until AFTER the closing credits to stick that in there? Instead, it's just pasted randomly into the movie as if something onscreen was being censored.

Imagine watching the movie in your dark living room, when suddenly it jump cuts to this "warning" frame from out of nowhere. That would've startled me considerably.

Comment posted by Studio76Art on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 9:32pm.

Or, here's a better idea - treat television viewers like adults and not have *any* disclaimer. Seriously, are TV viewers supposed to need more looking after than theater patrons?
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 10:21pm.

TV executives don't insert stupid notices like this, marketing managers who are worried about upsetting their sponsors do.
Comment posted by Officedrone1 on Thursday, May 14th 2009 at 11:44pm.

Sorry, Rick, that'd make too much sense. Considering that Taxi Driver is hardly a kids' movie, you'd think the network would know better than to insult the intelligence of its audience and expect them to believe that the filmmakers actually conceived this empty disclaimer. Guess not.

However, the difference is that theaters weren't under such pressure to placate sponsors and moviegoers consequently weren't bombarded with 20 minutes of commercials like they are now.

Comment posted by Studio76Art on Friday, May 15th 2009 at 8:58pm.

Staring: Frank Adu as Angry Black Man! :'P
Comment posted by BabyBear on Saturday, May 16th 2009 at 1:44am.

It adds a sort of porno vibe to the movie, especailly with that music bed. Oohh, we just saw a dirty movie!
Comment posted by visaman on Saturday, May 16th 2009 at 4:21am.

I hate to break a few bubbles but that disclaimer was obviously not added by the station. That was added to the film print they bought. The TV version that the film studio sold. Watch it again and you will notice the softness of the graphic's lettering. If it had been added by the station it would have been a lot sharper. Wouldn't surprise me if it came edited for TV right from the film studio.

As for the assumption that TV viewers are sophisticated. Well sorry but this is America. Don't confuse it with the rest of the world where language, body parts and sexuality are the norm on TV. We don't like any of that nasty stuff. Just ask our politicians who make up all the FCC rules.

Comment posted by telefrank on Tuesday, May 19th 2009 at 10:21am.

Yeah, I instinctively knew it was on the film print too - but the more important question is, who *insisted* the film studio put it on there? Probably the marketing managers, as someone else said.

We're used to them cutting out nudity and profanity, but this was something all together different. They're placing a note at the end of a film in an effort to prevent us from making some "wrong" interpretation of the movie. Maybe they did this after Reagan was shot and the whole Jodie Foster-connection was revealed?

Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Tuesday, May 19th 2009 at 1:47pm.

Fuzzy, I think you just nailed it right on the head.
Comment posted by kietdoke on Tuesday, May 19th 2009 at 2:59pm.

The ending looks suspiciously like the opening of "Nightbeat"...I'm surprised WGN didn't try to sue them.
Comment posted by yarsdad on Wednesday, May 20th 2009 at 7:44pm.

yarsdad - LoL :-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Wednesday, May 20th 2009 at 8:42pm.

"Taxi Driver" is now available on Blu-ray for the first time.
Comment posted by Betamax75 on Tuesday, April 5th 2011 at 10:04am.

Found an article about a 1979 showing of the movie in a NY newspaper, that has the full disclaimer as well, which would mean that they didn't put it in there specifically for the Hinkley Assassination... but, it does appear it was part of whatever "TV version" was floating around being used by stations.

It is the only mention in newspapers/magazines I could find online about the disclaimer.

Comment posted by afdave on Friday, November 18th 2011 at 7:59am.

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This clip has been viewed 3800 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Wednesday, May 13th 2009.
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Most Recent Site Comments

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. ;-)


Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - 10th Inning with Jack Brickhouse - "Interview with Bob Lurie" (1976) by T.K. on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 8:51am CT

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.


Comment posted in National Clothing Fashions - "Be a Disco Star Tonight" (Commercial, 1979) by OldTVNut on Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 11:32am CT

Yes, Steve Dahl had killed disco a month earlier at a White Sox game, but there are still some people who refuse to believe that disco is indeed dead.


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