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WSNS Channel 44 - Al Lerner Sports - "So Long..." (Part 1, 1971)

Here's Part 1 of the final episode of Al Lerner Sports on WSNS Channel 44. Lerner was the station's first sportscaster, and would go on to a long career with such stations as WLS Channel 7, WMAQ Channel 5, WGN Radio 720 and WSCR-AM, as well as being a wrestling announcer. Also featuring a young (and at this point, moustacheless) Tim Weigel, then a sportswriter for the now-defunct Chicago Daily News, who himself would become a familiar face on Chicago television, working for all three network-owned stations at one time or another. Includes:

An introduction of Tim Weigel, with the offscreen announcer (Al Lerner himself) mentioning his prediction that Northwestern would win the Big 10 title, and advising he is "isolated in a super-secret soundproof booth"; the voiceover then announces this program as coming "from the penny-pinching capital of the world, Chicago"

Al Lerner Sports title bumper and theme music - "Chicago's most complete and comprehensive coverage of the day's sporting events" (typeface used for title is Americana Bold) (voiceover by ??)

Al Lerner (wearing a green-colored jersey sporting number 84 on the front) introduces Tim (as the "First Bum of the Week") and announces that this is the last program (to groans from the crew), as well as the last big football day; at one point Don (?) passes through. A brief display of small pickets reading "We Love You Al" and "Unfair!!" is shown, and Al advises that the pickets will be outside the WSNS studios after 6:30 (with a "Right On, #84!!" picket showing briefly). Al then gives the phone number for viewers to call. Afterward, Al goes on to the first of the college football scores:

- Army defeats Navy at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, 24-23 (with Al wearing the headgear of each branch, finally settling on an Army helmet; Al has trouble getting to the score at one point because he is sprayed with pink confetti); the winning score was by Kingsley Fink; one of the Navy touchdowns was by Fred Stuvek. After Al mentions that "it wasn't a pillow fight," one of the crew members throws a pillow at him.

Throughout this segment, various sound effects are heard, more or less signifying what Al and Tim are discussing at a given moment.

Al Lerner Sports title bumper

Commercial: Discipline hair spray - for long hair - Available at Osco Drug

Commercial: George Kirby for Cool-Brella umbrellas (ending voiceover by ?? - "Don't let it rain on your parade")

TECHNICAL NOTE: The in-studio picture quality is attributable to a British-made camera, the EMI 2001, which was prevalent on many British TV shows of the late 1960's to the '80's and even into the early 1990's (ranging from Doctor Who to Dave Allen at Large to Monty Python's Flying Circus to The Benny Hill Show to Upstairs, Downstairs to the early years of EastEnders). This camera was marketed in the U.S. by International Video Corporation (IVC) in two variations, four-tube (IVC/EMI 2001-B) and three-tube (IVC/EMI 2001-C); WSNS was probably the only U.S. station to have bought and used this camera - making it unique among the Chicago TV stations - or for that matter, other U.S. stations (WBBM Channel 2 and WFLD Channel 32 used Marconi Mark VII's during this period; WMAQ and WGN Channel 9, the RCA TK-44A/B; and WLS, the General Electric PE-250, for example).

This aired on local Chicago TV on Saturday, November 27th 1971 during the 5:30 to 6pm timeframe.

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This clip aired on Saturday, November 27th 1971, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

Once again...EPIC!
Comment posted by ArmitageNLowell on Tuesday, February 7th 2012 at 1:29pm.

Based on the television listings, WSNS cancelled the show before the end of its scheduled run. Can't imagine why. Al Lerner and Tim Weigel moved on to Sports Sportlight for Channel 44 until Weigel got hired by WMAQ.
Comment posted by Phantom on Tuesday, February 7th 2012 at 8:56pm.

Never saw this show although I've heard about it often!
Nice to see it for the first time! OUTSTANDING Rick!!! :)

Comment posted by Matt on Wednesday, February 8th 2012 at 11:15am.

Glad you guys like it. It came from a VHS dub of a studio recorded tape (not sure if it was on 2" or what) - unfortunately the original has long since been discarded, so all we have is this VHS dub. Still, for something this old the quality is not too bad. :-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Wednesday, February 8th 2012 at 11:32am.

I never expected to see anything from this era! I *think* I was actually in studio for this one. Those might have even been my hands (I often floor directed "Al Lerner Sports"), insisting that we go to break.

I *think* the v-o announcer was Harvey Radis. The crew member in question, who passed through as Al was introducing young Tim, was Dom Bonavolonta. (Howdy, Dominic!)

I do believe that the obnoxious "Flyaways" hairspray commercial had been the very first filmed spot that ever ran on 44. (All spots before its first run, were from slides with a taped accompaniment.) For a few weeks, that damned spot came up every 10 or 15 minutes. I was ready to blow up the film.

I remember the George Kirby spot very well, too. I'm glad it's out there in the cloud now!

That Zenith ChromaColor commercial sure had crappy color, didn't it? I always thought it was pretty funny that you could watch a spot for a great new TV set, on a horrendous old TV set.

I don't know who voiced the Paneling Unlimited spot in segment 3 ... but it wasn't Mal.

Joe Oher was the director, according to the only closing credit.

Comment posted by Geno57 on Thursday, February 9th 2012 at 2:25am.

I did notice that the way filmed ads were shown on 44 seemed below par compared to the "major" stations (2, 5, 7, 9 and 11 - even 32, though it wasn't until later that WFLD's ratings were on par). I'm curious - what film chain would WSNS have used in those days - RCA TK-27? Or an old TK-26 that was somehow donated by WGN or WMAQ?
Comment posted by W.B. on Thursday, February 9th 2012 at 7:24am.

Awesome stuff! I was surprised to see Silly String on display here, thinking it was a newer invention. And looking at Wikipedia, it says Silly String was patented in 1972. Any kids from the 60s or 70s know what this pink proto-Silly String was?

Comment posted by APM on Friday, February 10th 2012 at 2:36pm.

It's too bad you don't see shows like this anymore.
The only thing that I can remember that was close was the Sunday night sports show (I can't remember what it was called) on WMAQ in the early 90's with Mark Giangreco and #76 Steve "Mongo" "Ming" McMichael.
That was wild!

Comment posted by ArmitageNLowell on Friday, February 10th 2012 at 4:02pm.

Yeah, I was surprised by the silly string too. In one of the clips he doesn't call it that either, but something else.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Friday, February 10th 2012 at 4:17pm.

Kinda reminds me of a TV Production class the day the teacher wasn't around. Too funny !

Comment posted by TeleFrank on Monday, February 13th 2012 at 5:19am.

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This clip has been viewed 2946 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Tuesday, February 7th 2012.
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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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