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WBBM Channel 2 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Excerpts, 1975)

Here's some surviving excerpts of the 1975 airing of a holiday perennial, the animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas on WBBM Channel 2. Includes:

A more complete "Season's Greetings" WBBM Station ID, with the same bumper slide as on here (voiceover by ??) - followed by CBS "bong"

Animated "A CBS Special Presentation" bumper

Opening titles of How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas opening sponsor billboard (for Kellogg's cereals - "Your Best Days Start with Breakfast," and Nestle - makers of Crunch, $100,000 and Choco-Lite candy bars, and Quik chocolate drink mix "for you and your family") (voiceover by ??)

Final moments of last scene of How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas closing sponsor billboard (products same as on opening billboard) (voiceover by ??)

Closing credits of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (with voiceover promos by Bill Martin)

This aired on local Chicago TV on Friday, December 12th 1975.

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This clip aired on Friday, December 12th 1975, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

CHOCO-LITE!!!! That's the chocolate bar I was trying to remember.
Comment posted by NuBnPrnc2k on Tuesday, November 29th 2011 at 7:45am.

End credits promo V/O added to clip description.
Comment posted by W.B. on Tuesday, November 29th 2011 at 12:14pm.

What is the "CBS bong" anyway? When did they stop using it?
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Tuesday, November 29th 2011 at 4:06pm.

Funny you should ask. The CBS "bong" sounded almost like a piano note. I personally measured the sound as being 433 Hz modulated by a faint 866 Hz. It was heard at the top of the hour for the purpose of signaling the start of a network feed. It can still be heard to this day on WBBM Newsradio 780 (and where I live in NYC, WCBS Newsradio 880 - and countless other CBS Radio affiliates across the nation) before the hourly CBS News updates. It was last used on the TV side around the late 1970's or early '80's.
Comment posted by W.B. on Tuesday, November 29th 2011 at 4:12pm.

A lot of TV programming on all the networks no longer start at the top of the hour. It's not uncommon for a show to start at say, 8:59:30 PM or even at say, 10:01:10 PM. The networks often air network commercial breaks at the top of the hour. Therefore, the use of tones at the top of the hour aren't practical at all anymore. I sure do miss them though. NBC Television had a "beep" at the start of their shows. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dWhjB8_0U&feature=related :12 into video. Although this was used in this instance for radio, I use to hear this on WMAQ-TV and WNDU-TV, South Bend before the NBC peacock would air all the time when I was little.
Comment posted by Matt on Tuesday, November 29th 2011 at 7:34pm.

NBC's "beep" (both on radio and TV) from the 1960's into the '70's was about 750 Hz, lasting about :00.5 seconds, and sounded like a combo of sine, square and sawtooth (with sine being the louder, of course). (And the opening and closing V/O on that clip was the late Bill Wendell, in-between being sidekick to Ernie Kovacs and becoming David Letterman's first NBC announcer.) It should be noted that this kind of tone with that kind of length lasted on at Philadelphia radio station KYW 1060 AM for many, many years after it switched to the current all-news format way back in September 1965; last I checked, the frequency of that tone was 787 Hz.

The other factor about TOH (and even BOH) tones today is the digital delay applicable at many radio stations today, with anywhere from 8 to 20 second drift after the exact time. (And don't get me started on the lag between picture and sound, with a lot of times looking like a badly dubbed Japanese monster movie where the lip movements don't match what's being spoken.)

Comment posted by W.B. on Tuesday, November 29th 2011 at 8:02pm.

Was this from a Betamax tape recorded on BI speed (from the Betamax console) or a U-Matic tape?
Comment posted by Betamax75 on Thursday, December 1st 2011 at 12:41am.

@Betamax75 - No actually, this clip, along with the Grinch clip, WGN White Christmas broadcast segment, the ""Dart Gun Fun" clip, and Dominick's 1977 Turkey commercial were all from EIAJ open-reel 1/2" tape - same batch that I got at the beginning of this year. I have so many tapes left that we still need to transfer. I am going to need to do another fundraiser soon to finance some of these.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Friday, December 2nd 2011 at 11:06pm.

"Now stay tuned for The Frosty the Snowman!"
...but first this public service announcement from The Smokey The Bear... :)

Comment posted by ChrisBCritter on Saturday, December 3rd 2011 at 2:16pm.

Anyone notice anything else strange about the ending voiceover? A flub, perhaps? ;-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Saturday, December 3rd 2011 at 2:55pm.

There was no flub that I know of; the audio briefly faded due to a tape dropout. No, Martin clearly intoned, "Now stay tuned for 'Frosty the Snowman'." If you've heard audio tape dropouts on some music, you'd know what I mean. However, the way he said it, it almost sounded like, "Now stay tune for..."
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, December 3rd 2011 at 3:17pm.

"Monday, the p---- gang..." - no one else hears this but me? :-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Saturday, December 3rd 2011 at 3:50pm.

You're right - no extra "the" - oh well. In the immortal words of Emily Litella: "Never mind."

And now that you mention it, Fuzzy, it does sound like - uh, that...

Comment posted by ChrisBCritter on Saturday, December 3rd 2011 at 3:51pm.

Again, Bill Martin did seem to have a peculiar way of pronouncing some things from time to time. But the way he said the word sounded more like rhyming with "Venus." And his pronunciation of the lead character's first name sounded almost like the nickname of former Cubs manager, and member of the 1961-65 "College of Coaches," and announcer for much of the 1960 baseball season, "Jolly Cholly" Grimm.
Comment posted by W.B. on Saturday, December 3rd 2011 at 5:26pm.

The V/O on the station ID is Ed Roberts (compare with other clips featuring his voice and 1974 TV 2 News at 6 open).

And here's an example of NBC's TOH "beep" on TV. This was recorded off WMAQ-TV (!) on December 10, 1974, right before a Kraft-sponsored Andy Williams Christmas special. However, the tone in this example was 747/748 Hz (thanks for the measurement, W.B.).

I saw a clip on YouTube from 1980 where the CBS "bong" was still being used, so they continued to used it until the early '80s.

EDIT: I.I.R.C., the clip with the CBS "bong" was from WCCO-TV in the Twin Cities.

Comment posted by IAmNomad on Thursday, December 13th 2012 at 1:19am.

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This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Monday, November 28th 2011.
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Comment posted in WGN Channel 9 - "We're For You" (Promo, 1979) by Dth1971 on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 2:24pm CT

Do you think the syndicated "The Palace" was a short lived revival attempt of the original 1960's ABC variety show "The Hollywood Palace"?

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!

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