WTTW Channel 11 - The Captioned ABC News (1978)
Here's the first ten minutes of The Captioned ABC News on WTTW Channel 11, which was a replay of the evening's edition of World News Tonight that had aired earlier (at 5:30pm) on WLS Channel 7. The anchors were Max Robinson in Chicago, Peter Jennings in London (on assignment) and Frank Reynolds in Washington, with commentary by Howard K. Smith, and Barbara Walters with a special report (alas, of these five, only Reynolds and Robinson are the ones with significant airtime; the others are only seen in the opening). Also featuring reports by Greg Dobbs, Charles Gibson, and Dave Davis of KTRK Channel 13 (today a sister station to WLS) in Houston, TX.
The preparation of these newscasts for the hearing-impaired emanated from WGBH Channel 2 in Boston, with the lower-third captioned typesetting set in Vidifont 28 (an early CG typesetting system whose main typeface was based on CBS News 36); this permutation ran on public TV stations including WTTW from 1973 (when the alphabet network's nightly newscast was called the ABC Evening News and co-anchored by Smith and Harry Reasoner) until 1981. It should be noted that the text shown on the screen often varied wildly from what the anchors and reporters actually said, but the gist of what was being reported was shown.
'11' station ID slide with person using snowblower outside on a street covered with snow (voiceover by Marty Robinson)
Opening titles for The Captioned ABC News - "A rebroadcast specially prepared for the hearing-impaired."
Opening of World News Tonight with preview of following headlines (voiceover by Frank Reynolds):
- Oil strike and more violence in Iran
- The Nation: New Federal auto safety standards criticized
World News Tonight opening title sequence with introduction of anchors and commentators (voiceover by Bill Rice)
Frank Reynolds leads with the situation in Iran, with riots in Tehran and other cities, and a strike by thousands of oil workers (with two refineries being shut down), all demanding the removal of the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, and rooted in religious rather than political reasons; demonstrators disobeyed a curfew for a fourth day. This leads to a report from Greg Dobbs in Iran, explaining the motives for the religious leaders' organizing the protests; a meeting place in Qum is home to these leaders who would ultimately take over in the next year after the Shah was deposed. Frank spotlights the main religious leader who would go on to be in charge, Ayatollah Khomeini, who at the time of this broadcast was in exile in France (whose government warned him against preaching revolution whilst on French soil).
Pre-commercial bumper with stock market closes:
- Dow Jones - 806.83 (down 4.67) - Volume 22,020,000
- Amex - down .02
- NASDAQ - up .38
"Weekend in Review" segment (inserted into this broadcast in place of commercials that had run on WLS; typesetting in Vidifont 18):
- "Charles Schultze is Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Yesterday Schultze said he thinks business should accept strikes instead of giving high pay increases that would help cause inflation. But Schultze said that the Administration is also reviewing its 7% limit on all wages and benefits."
- "Saturday Virginia Democrat Andrew Miller challenged results of the Nov. 7 Senate race. Miller said he will demand a recount of the ballots. Earlier, election officials said John Warner won the election by a few votes."
- "Yesterday Henry Kissinger said the U.S. should help improve China's military."
Max Robinson reads and introduces the following items:
- A report on a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, criticizing newly-enacted federal bumper standards meant to make 1979 cars more resistant to low-speed crashes; Charles Gibson reports on the study, with the IIHS's Ben Kelly being interviewed (in which he denounced the standards as being more of a laboratory than the real world) and films of crash tests conducted by the institute (with such models as the 1979 Chevrolet Malibu, 1979 Chevrolet Chevette, 1979 Ford Fairmont and 1979 AMC Spirit being shown in such scenarios as front/angle barrier, rear/pole and front/rear at 5 and 10 mph); also interviewed about the newer bumpers is auto body mechanic Bill Langford
- National Guard troops on patrol in Bossier City, LA, to prevent looting after tornadoes inflicted major damage, killing 5 persons and leaving 1,500 others homeless; cleanup efforts are made much more difficult by freezing temperatures (which had dropped from 78 to 34 degrees within hours) (with tape footage courtesy KTBS Channel 3 in Shreveport, LA)
- A report from Dave Davis of KTRK Channel 13 in Houston, of nine members of the Bird family (three adults and six children, ranging in age from 10 to 2) killed in a house fire, and four escaping the flames; a survivor, Linda Bird, is interviewed; arson investigators determine the cause as having originated from the kitchen next to a gas stove that the family left on to heat the house, after a cold snap with overnight temperatures in the 30's; officials find a car radiator hose illegally attached to the gas line, with unregulated gas flowing into the house and thus leading to the flash fire
Max then signals for a commercial with a preview of more news from Frank.
Pre-commercial bumper with reading of New York Stock Exchange Most Active:
- Boeing - up 1/4
- Ralston Purina - down 3/8
- Sterling Drug - unchanged
- Beatrice Foods - up 3/4
- AT&T - down 1/4
"Caption Center Late Report" (inserted in place of the next commercial break - punctuation exactly as written on the screen):
- "A privately chartered jet crashed tonight at Anchorage International Airport in Alaska. The jet was carrying Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens and his wife. Five people died. Including Stevens' wife. But Stevens survived. A spokesman at Providence Hospital said Stevens is "in no great danger." But the full extent of Stevens' injuries is not known." (Trivia Note: Ironically, Stevens would subsequently die in another plane crash, 17 miles north of Dillingham, AK, on August 9th 2010.)
Followed by Captioned Sports:
- "Football - Weekend N.F.L. - Only two weeks are left now before the playoffs begin. Yesterday three teams clinched division championships and a place in the playoffs."
- "N.F.C. East - Dallas beat New England and clinched this division title. Washington and Philadelphia both lost and are still tied for second. each with an 8-6 record."
- "N.F.C. Central - Minnesota beat the Eagles by one point to stay tied with Green Bay for first. Minnesota will play Detroit and Oakland. Green Bay will play Chicago and L.A."
- "N.F.C. West - Los Angeles also clinched its division with a difficult win over the Giants. The Rams. now 11-3. have the best team record in the National Conference." (Shown for less than a second.)
At this point, the tape runs out, so what you're seeing is all there is.
This aired on local Chicago TV early Tuesday, December 5th 1978 from 12:30am to about 12:40am.
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