WFLD Channel 32 - Scared Straight! Chicago Reacts (Part 1, 1979)

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Here's Part 1 of Scared Straight! Chicago Reacts, a local interview program hosted by Kathy McFarland that followed an encore presentation of the Academy Award-winning Scared Straight! on WFLD Channel 32. Also featuring a former street gang member turned straight, Ray Rowland(sp?). Includes:

A few more seconds of the Scared Straight! film are shown (with a quick zoom-in of the Scared Straight! Chicago Reacts title) as Kathy begins her comments leading into the local part of this presentation, mentioning how most agreed with the approach if based on the mail the station had received, but adding that there are those who disagree vehemently. She then explains how this part will deal with the pros and cons of such a program and the possibility of starting a similar program in the Chicago area.

After Kathy previews the guests who will appear on the program later (Gayle Franzen, Chief of the Illinois Department of Corrections; Commander Harold Thomas of the Chicago Police Department's Youth Division; and Hon. Judge William Sylvester White, Chief of the Juvenile Division of Cook County Circuit Court), her first guest is a 19-year-old former street gang member, Ray Rowland(sp?), who says he has turned straight and is going to college. (He is also the only interviewee not to have a lower-third superimposed title card with his name and description, unlike the others to follow.)

Ray starts off by mentioning how, pre-rehabilitation, he had gotten in "some trouble" due to his gang involvement, including getting into fights and "trying to make a reputation" within the gang; he didn't shoot anyone, but got into many close situations where he would have incriminated himself (or as he put it, "You don't get in these situations, they put you in them"); he says that gang life does not allow development of one's own personality, and describes how the gang structure operates (including accruing a "bad rep," the latter word short for reputation); since leaving gang life, he has been into a "more positive" community role, going to college and working, and trying to avoid the gangs which is hard considering he still lives where the gangs operate, and many of "that crowd" still consider him a gang member.

The turnaround for him began when he joined the YMCA as a youth and women's supervisor (in the Youth Awareness program), dealing with other gang members from ages 12-13 and up; he explains how, as a kid, one sees examples all around the neighborhood where they live, and decides to become a gang member on that basis.

The conversation then turns to how the YMCA's Youth Awareness Program differs from the approach depicted in Scared Straight!; while Ray thought the film was good, he says in his case he had received advice from a Victor Gonzalez and a teacher, Mr. Tony Diappo(sp?), who pointed to him better ways to "enjoy" himself including planning recreational trips, skiing and camping outside the immediate neighborhood. He says kids need these things - as well as vocational training - more than the "battering" and yelling as seen in the film; and criticizes the educational system, noting that he "didn't know much" after finishing high school.

Kathy then notes that one of the criticisms of the film is that it does not deal with a whole cross-section of teenagers in trouble, instead dealing with one group that came from the suburbs, and asks if that approach would work for city kids; Ray responds that in some cases, "you have to fight fire with fire," and that those kids in the film needed to be yelled at because of what they were in for, adding that "jail scares everybody." To Kathy's point of street gangs controlling Chicago-area prisons such as Stateville in Joliet, Ray says, "What are you going to do before you get there?" and that "if you don't find it, you're in trouble." His own arrest had been for disorderly conduct, and he notes that he's happier now; he hopes to stay in the community to help others in similar troubles as he had once been.

Asked if a "Scared Straight!"-type program would have worked for him, Ray says that it might have, and then says that it would work for certain individuals such as those in Latino gangs, but emphasizes that it should be in neighborhoods such as where he lives and not in Stateville Prison, noting that the youth in those neighborhoods have nothing to do but hang out in street corners, get high on drugs, or get in situations where they could shoot somebody; and brings up the issue of dilapidated basketball courts, schoolyards with glass strewn all about, and graffiti on walls (showing that this was not just an epidemic confined to, say, New York City subways); Kathy then notes that, in high school, she was "no angel," but never got in the kind of trouble that many youths today get into, to which he responds that today's youth hurt people for the sake of it due to acquiring a reputation or staking one's turf, and that many families in neighborhoods such as where he lives are on welfare; he closes by noting his purpose (as the lower-third station ID is briefly shown) is to "stop the gang war," after which Kathy concludes this part of the show by previewing a "pros and cons" interview with Gayle Franzen and Harold Thomas.

Scared Straight! Chicago Reacts bumper, with faraway shot of interview studio

Sponsor billboard for Toys "R" Us, over brief clip from Scared Straight! film (voiceover by Ron Beattie)

PSA for Chicago Crime Commission - "Come to Grips with the Handgun Problem" (voiceover by Ken Nordine?)

Promo for next week's Joe Oteri Show with guest Jane Fonda, in which she talks about her past and future plans - none of which even hint at her "Workout" enterprise she would start two years from this airing (Oteri's Sunday night talk/interview show had been preempted on this night to show Scared Straight!), to air Sunday, May 27th at 8pm (ending voiceover by Ron Beattie)

This aired on local Chicago TV on Sunday, May 20th 1979 during the 10:00pm to 11:30pm timeframe.


Date Uploaded: 07/19/2013

Tags: 1970s   WFLD Channel 32   Kathy McFarland WFLD News Segments   Mostly Content     




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The turnaround for him began when he joined the YMCA as a youth and women's supervisor (in the Youth Awareness program), dealing with other gang members from ages 12-13 and up; he explains how, as a kid, one sees examples all around the neighborhood where they live, and decides to become a gang member on that basis.

The conversation then turns to how the YMCA's Youth Awareness Program differs from the approach depicted in Scared Straight!; while Ray thought the film was good, he says in his case he had received advice from a Victor Gonzalez and a teacher, Mr. Tony Diappo(sp?), who pointed to him better ways to "enjoy" himself including planning recreational trips, skiing and camping outside the immediate neighborhood. He says kids need these things - as well as vocational training - more than the "battering" and yelling as seen in the film; and criticizes the educational system, noting that he "didn't know much" after finishing high school.

Kathy then notes that one of the criticisms of the film is that it does not deal with a whole cross-section of teenagers in trouble, instead dealing with one group that came from the suburbs, and asks if that approach would work for city kids; Ray responds that in some cases, "you have to fight fire with fire," and that those kids in the film needed to be yelled at because of what they were in for, adding that "jail scares everybody." To Kathy's point of street gangs controlling Chicago-area prisons such as Stateville in Joliet, Ray says, "What are you going to do before you get there?" and that "if you don't find it, you're in trouble." His own arrest had been for disorderly conduct, and he notes that he's happier now; he hopes to stay in the community to help others in similar troubles as he had once been.

Asked if a "Scared Straight!"-type program would have worked for him, Ray says that it might have, and then says that it would work for certain individuals such as those in Latino gangs, but emphasizes that it should be in neighborhoods such as where he lives and not in Stateville Prison, noting that the youth in those neighborhoods have nothing to do but hang out in street corners, get high on drugs, or get in situations where they could shoot somebody; and brings up the issue of dilapidated basketball courts, schoolyards with glass strewn all about, and graffiti on walls (showing that this was not just an epidemic confined to, say, New York City subways); Kathy then notes that, in high school, she was "no angel," but never got in the kind of trouble that many youths today get into, to which he responds that today's youth hurt people for the sake of it due to acquiring a reputation or staking one's turf, and that many families in neighborhoods such as where he lives are on welfare; he closes by noting his purpose (as the lower-third station ID is briefly shown) is to "stop the gang war," after which Kathy concludes this part of the show by previewing a "pros and cons" interview with Gayle Franzen and Harold Thomas.

Scared Straight! Chicago Reacts bumper, with faraway shot of interview studio

Sponsor billboard for Toys "R" Us, over brief clip from Scared Straight! film (voiceover by Ron Beattie)

PSA for Chicago Crime Commission - "Come to Grips with the Handgun Problem" (voiceover by Ken Nordine?)

Promo for next week's Joe Oteri Show with guest Jane Fonda, in which she talks about her past and future plans - none of which even hint at her "Workout" enterprise she would start two years from this airing (Oteri's Sunday night talk/interview show had been preempted on this night to show Scared Straight!), to air Sunday, May 27th at 8pm (ending voiceover by Ron Beattie)

This aired on local Chicago TV on Sunday, May 20th 1979 during the 10:00pm to 11:30pm timeframe." /> Share

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