WBBM Channel 2 - Fright Night (Opening, 1971-72)
Here's the opening sequence for WBBM Channel 2's stab at a horror movie showcase, Fright Night.
This opening was created by Jim Talbot.
"I had designed and animated the wbbm station break for Hal Biard, who was head of promotion for channel 2. He liked it and asked me to do something for their fright night late night movie.
I was a one man operation back then (still am) working from the back porch of an editing company at 111 east oak st and is now a jewelry store. It's one block off michigan ave.
The monster hand is my hand inside a rubber monster glove. The light is a regular tungsten light with the camera zooming into it. The fright night is set type made into a hi con transparency, taped onto a black sweep to give the effect of the curve.
So... here i am, a few years out of film school, on this back porch office with no heat in the winter, in downtown chicago; the porch had been sinking into the ground over the years, so if you put a marble on the floor, it would roll from one end of the room to the other.
I shot most of this myself on that porch: the monster hand, the light, the title sweep, etc. It was also used on a couple of the other cbs o&o's.
At this point in my life, it astonishes me what one can do in their early 20s with practically no money and absolutely no sense of practicality.
After that, i did a wbbm newsradio spot and 28 filmed segments of sesame street, all shot in chicago.
I didn't hand letter it, but they must have given that to me: done by the art dept at cbs. They wouldn't have had me pick the font, I'm sure.
Putting the title on a sweep so i could curve the lettering, was my attempt to duplicate the wb trailers from the 40s, where the titles looked like they came off the 'ground' - i had so much freedom back then, and they did no adjustments whatsoever to any of them when i finished, as i remember.
I'm proud of the fright night one, it's shlocky like the films they were running back then. Right about that time I was working with Herschel Lewis to get a feature I wrote off the ground. Chicago was such a great place to be doing film back then. I never thought about it at the time; i suppose you have to grow old to get that perspective.
There's a lot to say for rudimentary technology; it feels more human. That's the way the first king kong feels. You know it's a model, but there's so much more character there than in the remake... by far.
Regarding the music, i doubt they gave that to me; i must have pieced two pieces of stock music together, but i have no memory of where it came from."
This program preceded by some fifteen years WGN Channel 9's short-lived movie skein of the same name - and also preceded the better-known (and longer-running) showcase of that title on WOR Channel 9 in New York City by about two years.
This filmed open features stills from various horror movies in various color duotones, ending with a shot of Bela Lugosi(?) as Dracula before the title (in green) comes up. The music starts off with organ music sounding like that heard in amusement parks, before a silhouette of a moving scary hand segues the music to more "scary" sounding with horns.
(NOTE: During that same period, WBBM's New York sister station WCBS Channel 2 tried its hand at its own horror movie show, Saturday Shocker. It ran only a few months in 1972, facing countless preemptions from CBS Network Sports Spectaculars. One film seen on that showcase was the 1953 film version of "The War of the Worlds.")
This aired on local Chicago TV during circa 1971-72.
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