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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 2102 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Tuesday, February 7th 2012.
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Comment posted in WLS Channel 7 - The ABC Thursday Night Movie - "The Return of the King" (Opening & Commercial Break, 1983) by FuzzyMemories on Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 10:23pm CT

MildApplause - This is another occasion when I wish we had Facebook style "Like" buttons on comments because I like your comment. :-) I too have wondered about the stories behind the people. Once in a while I get little glimpses like getting contacted by the kid in the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese commercial, or the little girl in the Jewel commercial, etc.


Comment posted in WLS Channel 7 - The ABC Thursday Night Movie - "The Return of the King" (Opening & Commercial Break, 1983) by MildApplause on Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 8:10pm CT

Every time I see an actor or actress in an old TV commercial, and it's someone who I don't recognize and who maybe never "made it," I always wonder what that person's story ultimately turned out to be.

Like the two ladies here in the Sani-Flush ad. Both very attractive, and especially the brunette had some very endearingly cute and memorable characteristics. At the time both were probably thrilled to have gotten to do a national commercial, but then... ??? Work in theater? Go into writing? Go back to college and learn another trade?

We all have to ultimately find our own way in life. Of all these old commercials, and each of the actors in them, probably many have a fascinating and untold story.


Comment posted in Boxcar Willie - King Of The Road - 20 Great Tracks (Record Offer, 1981) by Detroit4Chicago on Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 8:01pm CT

Willie reminds me not just a "hobo," but he sure a lot looks like Foster Brooks.


Comment posted in WLS Channel 7 - ABC News Special Report - "Death of Bobby Sands" (1981) by Detroit4Chicago on Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 7:57pm CT

I remember vividly this bulletin; it was also a period when I was preoccupied with the notion of death of human beings. I think we changed the channel from watching M*A*S*H and happened to see this. And this came on.

There were reports of Bobby Sands' hunger strike and it was all over the news. When I saw this bulletin, I was asking a lot of unresolved questions thereafter.

It was hard to understand at the time.

A few days later, another IRA member, Francis Hughes, also died of a similar hunger strike. And another, which whose name I can't recall, died soon after also.

Man, I remember this too well....



Comment posted in WBBM Channel 2 - Universe with Walter Cronkite - "The Science Behind Star Wars" (1980) by OddityArchive on Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 6:45pm CT

I have a copy of this one too, albeit the Baton Rouge, LA broadcast. Always been reluctant to post it to YT because of all the LucasFilm footage though.


Comment posted in Boxcar Willie - King Of The Road - 20 Great Tracks (Record Offer, 1981) by LaPrincess on Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 9:20pm CT

My great grandma had this record. Strangely Boxcar Willie looks like he could be related to my guy friend.


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. ;-)


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