WLS Channel 7 - 30th Anniversary Special (Part 2, 1978)
Here's Part 2 of WLS Channel 7's 30th Anniversary Special, broadcast from Chicago's Park West and hosted by Eyewitness News anchors Fahey Flynn and Joel Daly.
This part includes:
Fahey and Joel walking on the stage to the podium (with the iconic "Circle 7" logo up front), introduced (off-camera) by Gary Gears
Fahey opens with his famed "How do you do, ladies and gentlemen" intro, to hearty applause, while he and Joel trade barbs about what the former was doing 30 years before; Fahey then goes into the station's pre-history, including an experimental TV station in 1939, and Joel mentions that 30 years ago, a station's general manager would have gone into the home of a broken set's owner to fix it, and how his duties evolved into delivering editorials (with brief shots of the station's then-current general manager, Phil Boyer, laughing). At that point, Fahey brings up Channel 7's sign-on date - September 17th 1948 - and introduces clips of vintage kids' programs that aired on the station over the years, including:
- Super Circus, hosted by Claude Kirchner and featuring Mary Hartline (and sponsored by Kellogg's)
- Another program (?) where the host has many pies thrown in his face as he's singing "Try a Little Tenderness"
- Here's Geraldine, hosted by Jim Stewart with Geraldine (a giraffe puppet), along with such other puppets as Helen Hippo (who's seen briefly), Pearl Squirrel, J.P. Alligator and Virgil Vulture; an an excerpt from the closing theme "Be Kind to Your Parents" (from the musical A Little Night Music) is played as old photo stills from the program are shown
- Jim Lounsbury's Record Hop (Lounsbury would later relocate to New York City where he worked for many years as an anchor for UPI radio; during his time there, he would also work part-time as a fill-in announcer for WLS's sister station, WABC Channel 7, as seen - or, more specifically, heard - on this 1973 clip, and also from time to time in that same capacity at WOR Channel 9); the clip was from around 1959, and a brief segment of dancers shimmying to Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat" is shown
- Kukla, Fran & Ollie (various clips from over the years, all presented in what would appear to be sepia tone)
After the last of the clips are shown, Fahey gives a shout-out to Fran Allison (the "Fran" of Kukla, Fran & Ollie) who came all the way from New York; puppeteer Burr Tillstrom who brought Kukla and Ollie to life; Jim Stewart, who not only hosted Here's Geraldine but also Passage to Adventure for the station; Jim Lounsbury; and Tom Fouts (a.k.a "Captain Stubby"); all take bows when they're called.
Joel then comments on Mary Hartline's, er, ample assets, and segues into early variety shows such as Don McNeill's Breakfast Club and what could go wrong in the days of live TV; clips of the following programs are shown:
- The short-lived TV version of Don McNeill's Breakfast Club (which contrasted wildly with the long run of his 1933-68 radio show); among the excerpts shown is Don with Fran Allison in character as "Aunt Fanny"
- Jim Moran ("The Courtesy Man") introducing Paula Ray, who sings "Lover" (by Rodgers & Hart), intermixed with live bloopers including a doctor sketch, a man explaining some technical difficulties, a stand-up advising to pick one of three jokes, a Courtesy Motors ad gone wrong, a dance number, two sets of rowboats in the water, and swimmers kicking up their heels, which signals the end of this segment
Fahey then introduces clips of early talk shows, including The Morning Show (with Jim Conway), Kup's Show, Off the Cuff (with Norman Ross), Marty's Place (with Marty Faye) and Kennedy & Company (with a clip of Bob Kennedy and Sandi Freeman opening one broadcast atop the Sears Tower to which WLS moved its transmitter, "circular polarization" and all, in 1974), up to AM Chicago (with Steve Edwards and Ms. Freeman), with "Jive Talkin' " by the Bee Gees playing on and off (clips of Mr. Edwards' own discussion show, Steve Edwards, including an interview with Neil Sedaka, are also shown); followed by shots of Ms. Freeman over the years, including a brief period when future TV news legend Charlie Rose was co-hosting AM Chicago with her
30th Anniversary Show title bumper with voiceover (by Gary Gears) previewing a look at classic commercials
This aired on local Chicago TV on Saturday, September 9th 1978 during the 9pm to 10pm timeframe.
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