WGN Channel 9 - WGN Television Presents - "White Christmas" (Opening & Excerpts + Sales Presentation Excerpt, 1972/1973)
Here's two segments with an early opening title sequence for the long-running late night movie showcase WGN Television Presents on WGN Channel 9, one from an early home videotape recorded in black-and-white (though aired of course originally in color - the recording of which has some tape tracking problems at certain points in the video) and the other from an internal sales presentation video.
The first clip is from the presentation of the 1954 Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye/Rosemary Clooney/Dean Jagger film "White Christmas," which aired on local Chicago TV on Saturday, December 16th 1972 during the 10:30pm to 12:55am timeframe. Includes:
- Opening titles and introduction of movie (voiceover by George Bauer)
- First moments of film - notice as it progresses, a big clump of what looks like hair and dirt starts building up in the top left corner of the picture, until it leads to a critical mass of junk with a whole section of the picture disappearing. Then we have the beginning of a technical difficulties moment as the movie stops so they can fix the problem. (cuts off at Bing Crosby's "Just like the ones I used to know" line from the title song)
- "White Christmas" bumper slide
- Resumption of scene with Bing's rendition of title number
The next clip is the only other authentic video footage of this early WGN Television Presents opening currently known to exist - an excerpt from a 1973 internal WGN-TV Sales Presentation. In this clip, voiceover Bob Bell narrates a preview of the following films to be aired in the upcoming (Fall 1973) season:
- "Elmer Gantry"
- "The Blue Max"
- "The Group"
- "Come Blow Your Horn"
- "Paris When It Sizzles"
- "Grand Slam" (trailer voiceover by Hank Simms?)
- "A New Kind of Love"
- "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?"
- "Two for the Seesaw"
- "Von Ryan's Express"
- "The Honey Pot"
- "Way...Way Out"
- "Heller in Pink Tights"
- "The Long Duel"
- "A Rage to Live"
- "Warning Shot"
- "The Pigeon That Took Rome"
For this WGN Presents opening, the following stars are shown, in rapid-fire order: Edward G. Robinson, James Stewart, Audrey Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, John Wayne, Paul Newman, Raquel Welch, Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, Cary Grant, Glenn Ford(?), Bette Davis, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Carroll Baker, Gary Cooper, [unknown actress], and Robert Wagner. Can anyone ID the unknown?
What is known, however, is the theme music for this WGN Presents opening: "Song from 'The Oscar'," by Percy Faith and His Orchestra (Columbia 4-43555, 1966; also included on his LP from that same year, Percy Faith Plays Academy Award Winner And Other Great Movie Themes, CL 2650 / CS 9450; Mr. Faith also co-wrote this piece with Jay Livingston and Ray Evans).
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