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Monday, January 26th, 2015
48 Years Ago Today

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued a travel ban that begins after midnight on January 27, 2015 due to the Nor-easter bearing down on Northeast. Let's recall another blizzard, the one in Chicago from January 26-27, 1967. The forecasts called for a high of 40 degrees with rain or snow. Instead, 23" of snow fell with winds of 53 MPH and drifts of 4 to 6 feet.

Here's an edition of Newscope on WFLD Channel 32, anchored by Patrick Muldowney. Also featuring Harlan Draeger of the Chicago Daily News, Richard Foster of the Chicago Sun-Times (both papers, like WFLD, were owned by Field Enterprises), sportscaster Dave Martin, and WA9RTP ham operators Jim Roper(?) and Dick Cox.

This is the earliest footage currently known to exist of a WFLD broadcast (albeit via kinescope).

At frame left on the Newscope set is a Teletype Model 28RO (Receive Only), which along with the Model 15 was the workhorse of many a newsroom for decades - and the source of the ubiquitous "clack-clack-clack" sound heard on many a newscast or all-news radio station (such as WBBM Newsradio 78 or the late, lamented WMAQ All News 67) until the advent of computer-based systems rendered teletype machines obsolete. Finally, the font used for lower-third identifications was Univers 67 Bold Condensed, which would be used by the station well into the early 1970's (noticeable, for example, on lower-thirds seen on surviving episodes of the late Jerry G. Bishop's Screaming Yellow Theatre a.k.a. Svengoolie).

Patrick opens the newscast by noting that, prior to a one-hour break, they had continuous coverage for the last 10 hours, with the combined facilities of Channel 32, the Daily News and Sun-Times, and amateur radio station WA9RTP (with him introducing Jim and Dick).

At the city room of the Sun-Times, Richard Foster adds that by dawn, Chicago temperatures will be bitterly cold (10 above), and mentions the following facts in the course of his report:

Snow fell for 29 hours and 8 minutes straight, with a total depth of 23 inches, with some drifts as deep as 15 feet.

Patrick then mentions about WFLD having broadcast "the longest weather report ever on a Chicago television station," and introduces a photo montage (taken by Daily News and Sun-Times photographers) of scenes from the storm (accompanied by numerous elevator music) including:

Ben Minotte, OddityArchive in the forums wrote "Such inappropriate music for that montage, the splice midway through is a thing of sheer beauty (and yes, someone had a wicked sense of humor). Awesome find."

ArmitageNLowell wrote: "I have never in my life seen a reporter give a report while smoking a cigarette."

T.K. adds "Note the distinctive spines of the World Book encyclopedia set over Muldowney's left shoulder ... that was a Field Enterprises publication as well. Talk about product placement!

"Realizing that WFLD was a fledgling UHF station, only on the air a year at this point, this was a very ambitious broadcast. (And to think that there wouldn't even be a WFLD news department to speak of for many years!) The higher-ups at Field were very forward-thinking in trying to create synergy between the papers and the TV station. While many newspapers owned radio and TV stations (i.e. the Tribune and WGN) there usually was little collaboration -- in part because many at the papers still viewed broadcasting as a sidelight, and also to deflect FCC scrutiny over media consolidation. (The latter concern proved to be valid with the cross-ownership bans and divestment that came during the mid-'70s.)

"Surely the audience was minuscule compared with 2, 5, 7, and 9 -- were those stations also preempting long stretches of their usual schedules for news during the emergency?"

Finally, MildApplause in the FuzzyMemories.TV forum wrote: "I am loving the way this Richard Foster of the Sun Times gives the news starting at about 2:20 into the clip. If someone were on the air today giving the news like he did here, that would be great! I love how he's all totally casual and interweaves the news with personal stories and his own take."

WFLD Channel 32 - Newscope - "The Blizzard of '67" and Other Stories (Part 1, 1967)

Here's the first part of an edition of Newscope on WFLD Channel 32, anchored by Patrick Muldowney. Also featuring Harlan Draeger of the Chicago Daily News, Richard Foster of the Chicago Sun-Times (both papers, like WFLD, were owned by Field Enterprises), sportscaster Dave Martin, and WA9RTP ham operators Jim Roper(?) and Dick Cox.

NOTES: This is the earliest footage currently known to exist of a WFLD broadcast (albeit via kinescope); the sound heard in the background on the right channel is of time code as heard on 3/4" Umatic tapes. (this is not our museum's transfer)

Also, at frame left on the Newscope set is a Teletype Model 28RO (Receive Only), which along with the Model 15 was the workhorse of many a newsroom for decades - and the source of the ubiquitous "clack-clack-clack" sound heard on many a newscast or all-news radio station (such as WBBM Newsradio 78 or the late, lamented WMAQ All News 67) until the advent of computer-based systems rendered teletype machines obsolete. Finally, the font used for lower-third identifications was Univers 67 Bold Condensed, which would be used by the station well into the early 1970's (noticeable, for example, on lower-thirds seen on surviving episodes of the late Jerry G. Bishop's Screaming Yellow Theatre a.k.a. Svengoolie).

Includes:

WFLD station ID slide, showing their first logo with a '32' where each number has a spiral (plus the early Field Communications logo)

Patrick opens the newscast by noting that, prior to a one-hour break, they had continuous coverage for the last 10 hours, with the combined facilities of Channel 32, the Daily News and Sun-Times, and amateur radio station WA9RTP (with him introducing Jim and Dick).

He then points out that not just Chicago, but much of the state of Illinois, was buried in snow, before introducing Harlan Draeger from the Daily News' city room.

Harlan starts out by noting that conditions were just as bad for suburbanites and city residents, and advising them not to venture out if they don't have to. All major and secondary roads are "impassible," with Harlan citing the closures of US Highway 45, Illinois 102 and 54 in Joliet as one example; he reports of one elderly man who lost three fingers in a snow blower who had to be rescued by helicopter; and the U.S. Army Reserve was called out in Kankakee County. Snow removal efforts in northeastern Illinois are hampered by stalled cars and trucks on the road, and extra equipment was brought in from Wisconsin. The only silver lining is that temperatures aren't as bitterly cold as predicted by the Weather Bureau.

At the city room of the Sun-Times, Richard Foster adds that by dawn, Chicago temperatures will be bitterly cold (10 above), and mentions the following facts in the course of his report:

- In Springfield, Gov. Otto Kerner meets with National Guard to coordinate snow removal efforts; Mayor Daley met with department heads to coordinate such efforts

- Snow fell for 29 hours and 8 minutes straight, with a total depth of 23 inches, with some drifts as deep as 15 feet(!)

- At least 29 lost their lives in the storm, mostly from heart attacks while shoveling snow

- Richard notices he's practically the only one in the room at this time, and that one edition was published which might not be available at your area newsstand due to the snow; he mentions that the main job of the newspapers was to "ferret out the good news from the bad news"

- Chicago's airports were closed; O'Hare may reopen the next day around 4:30pm, and Midway about noon

- Long-distance trains had as many as 4-hour delays

- CTA's rapid transit network was operating as scheduled, but the buses were another story, with one reporter speaking of taking 5 hours getting from the office to Fullerton and Clark

- Many grocery shelves, especially of milk, meat, bread and cigarettes, were bare, and there was no door-to-door milk delivery

- For the kids, the snow was a godsend; Richard spoke of his two nephews in Inverness building a Viet Cong-style tunnel

- On west side, some looting, with 10-year-old Dolores Miller shot to death during a shootout between looters and police at a shoe store on West Roosevelt Road; more than 65 arrested; days off for police officers were cancelled; much of the trouble came about because police couldn't get to the affected areas

- Most Chicago hospitals were fully operational

- Richard advises to check as to which activities will be held, as most are cancelled; he then signs off his report

Patrick then mentions about WFLD having broadcast "the longest weather report ever on a Chicago television station," and introduces a photo montage (taken by Daily News and Sun-Times photographers) of scenes from the storm (accompanied by numerous elevator music) including:

- Snow-filled highways with cars just standing there

- Another road which looked more like a parking lot, and only three people trying to cross the street

- A row of cars (four in all) packed in snow

- Another car stuck near the curb

- Yet another car stuck in the snow

- A person plowing snow with what may look like a snow blower

- People trying to walk in the snow as a car is stuck

- A lone person walking through the snow, clutching a newspaper (presumably either the Sun-Times or Daily News)

- Another scene of people walking in the snow, with one lady on crutches (one of her ankles is in a cast)

- A brief shot of a dog in the snow before the film cuts

- A sanitation truck attempting to plow snow

- A heavy-duty snow blowing machine attached to a truck

- Another truck on the side of the road

- "No Parking Anytime" sign, with a CTA route 151 bus (of 1963 Flxible "New Look" model F2P401-1 - number 8752 shown on front, production serial number 51404) stranded in the background (info on this particular model courtesy Ohio Museum of Transportation)

- Another stranded CTA bus (1963 Flxible "New Look" model F2P401-1 - number 8739, production serial number 51391) on the road

- People inside a CTA bus (including a police officer at right) biding their time during the storm

- Shots of Sun-Times / Daily News building, with one brave soul using skiing equipment to get through town

- And finally, a shot of people on the beach (including a few women wearing bikinis)

As to that final shot, Patrick speculates it was taken in either California or Florida, given how it was unrelated to the snow scenes

This aired on local Chicago TV late Friday, January 27th 1967 during the 11:30pm to 12:00am (Midnight) timeframe.

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This clip aired on Friday, January 27th 1967, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

OUTSTANDING RICK!! :)
Comment posted by Matt on Sunday, January 5th 2014 at 5:35pm.

Such inappropriate music for that montage, the splice midway through is a thing of sheer beauty (and yes, someone had a wicked sense of humor). Awesome find.
Comment posted by OddityArchive on Sunday, January 5th 2014 at 7:44pm.

I seem to remember watching a copy of this in the Museum of Broadcasting Archive back when they were in the Cultural Center. I always thought the music they played was a little too cheerful based on the situation.
Comment posted by Smctopia on Sunday, January 5th 2014 at 9:10pm.

Note the distinctive spines of the World Book encyclopedia set over Muldowney's left shoulder ... that was a Field Enterprises publication as well. Talk about product placement!
Comment posted by T.K. on Sunday, January 5th 2014 at 10:23pm.

Bob Sirott used the virtually empty newsroom scene for years on "Fox Thing in the Morning". Additionally Nancy Pender on WFLD just a few years ago mentioned "you can watch footage from Channel 32's newscast from 1967" regarding this very report. I thought it was really odd that FOX would acknowledge WFLD's great past although I think this museum does it better than anyone!
Comment posted by GalagaFleetCommander on Monday, January 6th 2014 at 9:21am.

Man oh man! My mom was right when she said that people these days are way too uptight; I have never in my life seen a reporter give a report while smoking a cigarette.
Comment posted by ArmitageNLowell on Tuesday, January 7th 2014 at 1:05am.

Realizing that WFLD was a fledgling UHF station, only on the air a year at this point, this was a very ambitious broadcast. (And to think that there wouldn't even be a WFLD news department to speak of for many years!) The higher-ups at Field were very forward-thinking in trying to create synergy between the papers and the TV station. While many newspapers owned radio and TV stations (i.e. the Tribune and WGN) there usually was little collaboration -- in part because many at the papers still viewed broadcasting as a sidelight, and also to deflect FCC scrutiny over media consolidation. (The latter concern proved to be valid with the cross-ownership bans and divestment that came during the mid-'70s.)

Surely the audience was miniscule compared with 2, 5, 7, and 9 -- were those stations also preempting long stretches of their usual schedules for news during the emergency?

WFLD was a color plant from the start, right? So I assume the portion from the studio was in color and the cut-ins from the newsrooms were in black-and-white. I recall a forum post somewhere that mentioned the newsroom setup was a little vidicon camera that ended up being moved to the announce booth once WFLD scaled down its news operations to the "Channel 32 Newsbreak."

Comment posted by T.K. on Tuesday, January 7th 2014 at 12:46pm.

An early WFLD 32 AD as found in Broadcasting Magazine, April '66...
http://www.americanradiohistory.com/hd2/Archive-BC-IDX/66-OCR/1966-04-04-BC-OCR-Page-0074.pdf#search=%22wfld-tv%22

Comment posted by Matt on Tuesday, January 7th 2014 at 3:11pm.

From what I've been apprised by various sources, while WFLD ran color programs from its start, programming which they originated (such as "Newscope") was in B&W the first year or two.
Comment posted by W.B. on Tuesday, January 7th 2014 at 6:46pm.

I am loving the way this Richard Foster of the Sun Times gives the news starting at about 2:20 into the clip. If someone were on the air today giving the news like he did here, that would be great! I love how he's all totally casual and interweaves the news with personal stories and his own take. Did he continue his TV career? I tried googling but couldn't find anything on him.
Comment posted by MildApplause on Tuesday, January 7th 2014 at 7:42pm.

The first time WFLD did all news coverage most of the broadcast day? I know from September 11-16, 2001 it was carrying non stop the FOX News Channel feed for September 11, 2001 tragic event news coverage.
Comment posted by Dth1971 on Thursday, January 9th 2014 at 9:39pm.

Some research results: Patrick Muldowney apparently later worked at WABC in New York from 1969 to September 1977. As of August 2000 he was "a New York publicist" and may have been a spokesman for the Department of Transportation. The August 2000 article lists his age as 62, so that would now make him 75 or 76 years old.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Saturday, January 11th 2014 at 10:38pm.

I'm loving Richard Foster starting his report (and going for a good 5 seconds) with a smoke in his mouth until he starts.
Comment posted by AMNewsboy on Saturday, January 18th 2014 at 2:30am.

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This clip has been viewed 3770 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Sunday, January 5th 2014.
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