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WGN Channel 9 - Saturday Matinee - "The Bells of St. Mary's" (Opening & Bumper Excerpts, 1971)

Here's a clip that, for those of you who remember it will likely be pretty amazing - the opening segment and bumper excerpts of the Christmas 1971 Saturday Matinee presentation of the 1945 Bing Crosby Christmas classic "The Bells of St. Mary's" on WGN Channel 9 - but that's not what's amazing...

This is the older style bumper slate which was used for both Saturday Matinee and Sunday Matinee on WGN-TV until the "camera lenses" version took over for the Saturday Matinee and the "film projector" slate took over for the Sunday Matinee starting sometime in the mid-seventies (I would guess). A lot of people remembered this slate, and have described it to me over the years looking for it - "It had a brick wall, and an oval in the center...", so I'm happy to finally be able to display it here. :-)

The theme music is "Happy Feet" by Quincy Jones (from the soundtrack of Cary Grant's final film, "Walk, Don't Run" [1966]).

Voiceover by Len Johnson.

NOTE: This broadcast was in color, but captured on an early home videotape recording in black and white. (Of course, the film itself was in black-and-white - only the show opening, bumpers and commercials would have been in color.) There are also some tape-tracking problems that are noticeable at certain points on this clip.

"It's midday in Chicago and time to enjoy fantasy, comedy, romance and adventure, as WGN Television brings you the finest in family entertainment on Saturday Matinee...we'll begin our feature in just a moment."

This aired on local Chicago TV on Saturday, December 25th 1971 during the 1:00pm to 3:30pm timeframe.

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This clip aired on Saturday, December 25th 1971, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

Len Johnson Voiceover.
Comment posted by Erniebaud on Monday, December 5th 2011 at 9:41pm.

The song is from Cary Grant's last film "Walk, Don't Run".
I also remember this one but the background is yellow with brown bricks and the oval was red with white lettering. The camera lenses version came in the late 70s.

Comment posted by Betamax75 on Monday, December 5th 2011 at 10:06pm.

V/O info duly added to clip description.

Didn't "The Bells of St. Mary's" first air on Chicago TV in 1957-58 or thereabouts on what was then WNBQ? I know that their sister station, then WRCA Channel 4 (now WNBC), ran this picture in the late 1950's, originally part of a 58-film package offered by NTA (whose logo of the time was seen at the start of this picture) under the "Champagne" umbrella, a package that also featured such titles as the 1952 Gary Cooper Western "High Noon"; the Joseph Cotten/Orson Welles drama "The Third Man"; the 1950 Jose Ferrer "Cyrano de Bergerac"; Marlon Brando's 1950 film debut "The Men"; two Hitchcock entries, "Rebecca" and "Spellbound"; and the 1945 film "[The Strange Affair of] Uncle Harry." By the 1970's, "Bells" was running in NYC on WGN's sister WPIX Channel 11.

Comment posted by W.B. on Monday, December 5th 2011 at 10:25pm.

A common element on NTA prints on TV are the censored lines of text. You'll see one at 1:00. Usually they are blanking the copyright information, but in this case it looks like they covered the name of RKO, the old distributor.
Comment posted by Szake on Tuesday, December 6th 2011 at 7:15am.

"Bells of St. Mary's" first aired on WGN in December 4, 1958. An Tribune article dated September 7, 1958 mentions that John Mallow would host a 10 PM Thursday series of films called "Festival of Stars." The program was to air a package of 26 NTA Twentieth Century Fox films that included "High Noon" (the kickoff feature,) "Spellbound," "The Third Man," "Chad Hanna" (one of three color films,) and "Bells of St. Mary's."
Comment posted by Phantom on Tuesday, December 6th 2011 at 8:35am.

Ah, so WGN acquired the "Champagne" package for airing in Chicago. Thanks for the tip. WRCA in New York first aired "Bells" on Dec. 7, 1957 (one year to the week before its WGN debut - evidently different markets debuted individual titles at different points in a year) - indeed, may have been that station's kickoff feature among that package. Channel 4 held the package right up to 1962. Did WGN always have "Bells," or was there a stretch where they didn't?

As for "Festival of Stars" - wasn't that a predecessor of some sorts to "WGN Presents"?

And the Champagne package also held productions from Stanley Kramer and David O. Selznick, as well as the 20th titles in question. A few of them (such as "The Men" and "Uncle Harry") returned in later years in different packages to WNBC, but others were scattered among other stations such as WNEW Channel 5, WOR Channel 9, and WPIX.

Comment posted by W.B. on Tuesday, December 6th 2011 at 9:51am.

When was the last time WGN aired "The Bells of St. Mary's"?
Comment posted by Betamax75 on Tuesday, December 6th 2011 at 10:21am.

The last WGN showing I am seeing is December 23, 1983. Channel 7 acquired the film during the 1960s.
Comment posted by Phantom on Tuesday, December 6th 2011 at 4:23pm.

12-23-83 - the date of my appearance on Bozo!
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Tuesday, December 6th 2011 at 4:59pm.

Finally...I've been trying to find that song FOREVER!!!! I knew I wasn't crazy, although the last time I remember hearing it was when I was probably 6 years old!

Does anyone know what the actual title is?

Comment posted by atrex21 on Sunday, December 11th 2011 at 12:34pm.

WOW!!!
I thought I'd never hear that music again,Fuzzy memories indeed!!
When this aired I was about 4 mos. old. I remember the Saturday Matinee intro with the same theme on this clip along with a slide of a sun with a face on it. It's a possibility I'm off the mark with the smiling sun slide,but I definitely remember the music. If my recollection is correct,the theme was still being used by the late 1970's because that's when I remember hearing it.
Anyways,THANKS for posting this!!!!

Comment posted by 69TH&STONY on Sunday, December 11th 2011 at 5:05pm.

atrex21-
The song is "Happy Feet" by Quincy Jones. I just found a variation of it,but it has vocals sung over it instead of the whistling. I really want to find the version featured in this clip.

Comment posted by 69TH&STONY on Sunday, December 11th 2011 at 5:18pm.

Here's the song in it's entirety...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=xCT_LxF4XT8

Comment posted by 69TH&STONY on Sunday, December 11th 2011 at 7:04pm.

I don't remember this Saturday Matinee slide, but not too long after, I believe that they started using a drawing (similar to Creature Features, I believe, maybe even by the same artist) of a guy wearing a groovy checkered cap and dark sunglasses, with a handlebar mustache. Of course this is from the memory of a 6 or 7-year-old kid--could be inaccurate, but hopefully not too far off. It would be great to see that fuzzy memory again!

This was always one of my favorite pieces of theme music, associated with a lot of happy times watching Abbott & Costello movies on Saturday afternoons. They used this music all the way into the early 80's! Also, it's interesting to note that Len Johnson was working Saturdays for such a long time--until WGN seriously cut back their announcing staff in late May of 1981, a very sad time.

Comment posted by RLaPorte on Sunday, January 29th 2012 at 1:34pm.

Picked up a used VHS tape of "The Bells of St. Mary's" at a thrift store in the City of Chicago. It was released by Artisan Home Video (now Lions Gate). I think Paramount now has the rights to this title along with "It's A Wonderful Life".
Comment posted by Betamax75 on Thursday, August 23rd 2012 at 8:13pm.

Even the DVD release of this movie has the gray box at the one minute mark masking a title on the screen.
Comment posted by Szake on Sunday, December 22nd 2013 at 10:51pm.

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This clip has been viewed 6023 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Monday, December 5th 2011.
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Comment posted in WLS Channel 7 - "The Original 3:30 (4:30) Movie Opening!" (1969-1973?) by W.B. on Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 at 2:39pm CT

I also wish to add that, checking the LOC's (Library of Congress) catalogues of copyright entries as in Google Books, Raim's "Big Show Theme" copyright was registered on November 22nd 1968, five years to the day after JFK's assassination - a wild coincidence if ever there was one. But the original "4:30 Movie" opening, from all accounts, was also used in Detroit by WXYZ Channel 7 as well as by WABC. If it's true WLS never used this type opening with the difference in title, it'd be a surprise - given the use of that type of logo design in one of the promos Cathy Mustari designed.


Comment posted in WTTW Channel 11 - Movie Eleven - "Dr. Who" (Opening, 1976) by FuzzyMemories on Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 9:58pm CT

Music Source Discovered!

Another mystery music track is identified...

(are you ready?) :-)

The theme used for Movie Eleven here was composed by Dave Grusin and is from the soundtrack for the film "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" [1968]. Apparently, although not yet confirmed (since the soundtrack is hard to come by) - the specific name of this track is called "Growing Pains". Here's a link right to the scene in the movie where the music is used.

Many thanks to Paul Simmons for providing us with the answer!


Comment posted in WLS Channel 7 - "The Original 3:30 (4:30) Movie Opening!" (1969-1973?) by FuzzyMemories on Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 9:24pm CT

Bernie Drayton actually e-mailed me with this information back in October of 2013, but somehow it got overlooked until now. Sorry for the oversight. :-(


Comment posted in WLS Channel 7 - "The Original 3:30 (4:30) Movie Opening!" (1969-1973?) by FuzzyMemories on Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 9:19pm CT

From W.B. - "It has since been revealed that the theme was composed by a chap named Walter Raim (who over the years, wrote many music cues for ABC promos) around 1968, in the movie program's waning months under its original title "The Big Show," and indeed it is registered with ASCAP as "Big Show Theme." It had been commissioned by ABC in New York, and was recorded at the now-defunct Gotham Recording Corp. in New York City, with Bernard Drayton and Susan Hamilton as producers and Herman Edel Associates as the music house, with The Lampert Agency and two of its staffers, agency producer Diane Flynn and agency creative director Bill Wurtzel, also involved in the making of this piece (this info courtesy Mr. Drayton himself, in a message to this individual on YouTube, where he has an account under the name "Last Minute Entertainment"). Ed Rice was the recording engineer."


Comment posted in WSNS Channel 44 - Summit Series Game 8 (Commercial Break, 1972) by AnnArborMI90 on Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 5:59pm CT

I am curious as to what format this may be. I know it's not CV-2000, since that only recorded in black-and-white. I'm thinking Type A VTR.


Comment posted in WSNS Channel 44 - The Dating Game - "Joey D'Auria" (Part 4, 1980) by W.B. on Monday, January 25th, 2016 at 6:12am CT

I.I.N.M., Chuck Barris, besides being responsible for both "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game" (not to mention "The Gong Show"), also produced "The New Treasure Hunt," which may explain how that post-Game 1 music on "The Dating Game" that 'BobAnthony' mentioned, ahem, got around . . . as well as the tuxes.


Comment posted in WSNS Channel 44 - The Dating Game - "Joey D'Auria" (Part 4, 1980) by BobAnthony on Sunday, January 24th, 2016 at 10:10pm CT

You kind of get the feeling that this go round of The Dating Game was quite ribald...Jim Lange's tuxes notwithstanding. These I think were among those worn by Geoff Edwards when he hosted "The New Treasure Hunt." And yes to WB's point this was the version seen on WOR-TV Channel 9 along with The Newlywed Game's 1977-80 run. I remember seeing reruns of these shows on 9 in the mid 80's as a prep for the "New" versions of these shows.


Comment posted in WSNS Channel 44 - The Dating Game - "Joey D'Auria" (Part 2, 1980) by BobAnthony on Sunday, January 24th, 2016 at 10:05pm CT

By the way, the music used after the end of game one should be familiar to game show fans like myself. It was used when one of the prizes was won or perhaps passed up on The New Treasure Hunt (1973-77). It also served as the show's closing theme.


Comment posted in WNBQ Channel 5 - The Dorsey Connors Show (Part 2, 1963) by Pushbutton on Sunday, January 24th, 2016 at 4:40pm CT

Thanks so much! I tried, but couldn't find anything!


Comment posted in WNBQ Channel 5 - The Dorsey Connors Show (Part 2, 1963) by W.B. on Thursday, January 21st, 2016 at 7:37pm CT

Ms. Cameron was fashion editor for the Chicago American at the time. She was mentioned in a September 16th 1962 article in the Chicago Tribune's Magazine of Books section, in the "Bystander" column by future WTTW "Book Beat" host Robert Cromie, in relation to an upcoming talk at the Chicago Public Library to be held that October 4th. One of her articles - penned in 1959, about a Swedish fashion designer named Katja - can be found online within the New School site.


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