TFTP Sports: MLB Game of the Week, Phillies vs. Cardinals from NBC (Apr. 15, 1978)

Posted to YouTube by user 'ClassicMLB11'

Now that Memorial Day has passed, and summer is truly upon us, TFTP says: Play Ball! This game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies from early in the 1978 season of Major League Baseball is a great example of late-1970s baseball in the astroturf and double-knit era. The game takes place at St. Louis's Busch Memorial Stadium, which was one of the typical all-purpose, multi-use stadiums of the time. The Phillies' reddish-purple "P" logo seen here was an iconic part of period baseball uniforms (as was the powder-blue coloration it was paired with); the Cards' uniforms here, on the other hand, look pretty much the same as they do now (and as they always have).

This game is also a great example of how sports broadcasts from earlier periods can seem peculiar to us now, as they lack the polish and graphical sophistication that we have come to expect. For instance, something like not having the score (and in the case of baseball, the strike/ball count) constantly onscreen--which are onscreen continuously and universally, for the most part, on sports broadcasts now--seems odd and disorienting when we are so used to being able to refer to it at any time while watching.

A great deal about this broadcast from 1978 seems familiar, though: the play-by-play and commentary from Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek, the camera angles from which the action is shown, the use of slow-motion instant replay--all of these are used in this now nearly-forty-year-old sportscast in almost exactly the same way they would be today.

As far as the game itself, we're not going to spoil it by naming the winner of this ten-inning contest. But the Phillies were at a high point in the late-1970s, in the middle of their Mike Schmidt heyday, with Tug McGraw pitching here and Larry Bowa contributing. A final fun fact: ten days after this game, on Apr. 25, 1978, was the debut of the Phillies' legendary mascot the Phillie Phanatic.


TFTP Signs-Off for the Week: Station Sign-Off from WLW/Chicago (Aug. 7, 1979)

Each Friday afternoon, TFTP signs-off for the week by featuring a classic station sign-off segment for your enjoyment and to bid a farewell until Monday...

Posted to YouTube by user 'The Museum of Classic Chicago Television'

From Chicago ABC affiliate WLS comes this late-1970s station sign-off with a couple of elements that were not uncommon but also not universal in sign-off sequences. First is an FBI most-wanted bulletin, of the kind that still occasionally appears on local affiliates today, as a sort of public service element in the sign-off sequence. The other element, which was found in many sign-off (and also sign-on) sequences, is a religious thought-of-the-day type piece; stations including such segments sometimes created their own using local clergy and sometimes utilized syndicated national segments. WLS's is a locally-made one called "Reflections". These are followed by--and the sign-off sequence concluded with--the "Star-Spangled Banner".

TFTP On This Day: "The Hollywood Palace" from ABC (May 27, 1966)

Posted to YouTube by user 'Hollywood Palace'

It Was 50 Years Ago Today: "Hollywood Palace" was one of the great all-purpose variety shows of the 1960s, an ABC stalwart for most of the decade (from 1964-1970), for most of it anchoring ABC's Saturday night schedule. This episode, aired 50 years ago today on May 27, 1966, is from the program's third season, the season's next-to-last episode.

"Hollywood Palace" was much like the "Ed Sullivan Show" in that it was a true variety show--in addition to sundry musical acts and comedians, the program featured acrobats, puppeteers, clowns, sports figures, and all manner of actors and celebrities. Act after act was packed into each episode--the first quarter of this episode features an opening song by guest host Judy Garland, acrobats The Roselle Troupe (performing an aerial act outside the theater in a parking lot), and two songs by Johnny Rivers (including "Secret Agent Man"). The rest of the show features clown Charlie Cairoli, another song by Garland, comedian Jack Carter, actor/singer Van Johnson, a duet between Garland and Johnson (in clown make-up!), and pantomimists The Black Theatre of Prague.

"Hollywood Palace" did not have a regular host, opting for a different guest host for each episode, although some hosts returned again and again. This episode is the second Garland-hosted one just in this season, and Bing Crosby returned repeatedly in the show's six-year run (including in the next episode after this one, as previewed by Garland at episode's end). This particular episode has as its main sponsor "investor-owned electric and power companies", and so filmed commercials related to the electric industry are sprinkled throughout the first half of the episode.


TFTP News: "11 Alive Newsroom" from WXIA/Atlanta (Apr. 13 1980)

Posted to YouTube by user 'NewsActive3'

From Apr. 13, 1980, is the local newscast--titled "11 Alive Newsroom"--from WXIA-TV in Atlanta, which at this time was the Atlanta ABC affiliate but later in 1980 would switch its affiliation to NBC, which it retains (along with the "11 Alive" branding) to this day. Curious local news tidbit: the painted portraits of newsmakers that are utilized as graphics in several of the stories here.

Stories featured in this newscast: demonstrations related to racial strife in the town of Wrightsville, GA; Ted Kennedy wins the Arizona primary in the 1980 Democratic presidential race in his run against incumbent president Jimmy Carter; a local rodeo in the Atlanta area; final results from the 1980 Masters golf tournament; flooding in Louisiana; and details related to severe weather in the Atlanta and north Georgia region, including a recent tornado watch.

Most of the commercials and interstitial elements have been edited out here, with a few significant exceptions: there is a Cadillac ad at the very end, an ad for the regional Krystal fast food chain midway through, and at the very beginning there is a brief bumper promo for local syndicated airings of "Star Trek".


TFTP Will Return After These Messages: Miscellaneous Commercials from the 1950s

Posted to YouTube by user 'MattTheSaiyan'

Here's an assortment of commercials from the 1950s, not from any one commercial block but just a miscellaneous grouping.

Commercials from the 1950s do not resemble later commercials in a variety of ways. They were often presented as inserts in the program, by an announcer or even a cast member associated with the program (most shows at this time had a single sponsor); they could be much longer (some of the ads in this block clock in at over a minute); and they are often much more demonstrative in nature, showing the product in use.

Products in the commercials in this block (in the order they are seen): Kodak Brownie cameras, Coca-Cola (a Thanksgiving-themed ad), Betty Crocker cake mix, Olde English Peanut Brittle, Carnation Evaporated Milk, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee spaghetti sauce, another ad for Coca-Cola (a football-themed one), Dodge automobiles, Ivory Soap, and Dodge auto dealers (this last one a spiffy animated ad--cartoon ads were prevalent in the '50s and into the '60s).


TFTP Cable: Promo Breaks from USA Network and CBN (Feb. 1986)

Posted to YouTube by user 'WREYtube' (all three clips)

USA Network and CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) were well-established as cable networks by the mid-1980s, both having been started in the first big wave of basic cable expansion in the late-1970s. At the time of these promo break clips, all from February 1986, both had as a mainstay of their programming off-network reruns of old shows from the major broadcast networks.

The first clip above from USA features a short segment of the game show "Jackpot" before moving into a promo break for "The USA Comedy Hour", a programming block airing at the time that had episodes of very obscure network sitcoms such as "Mr. Merlin", "The Second-Hundred Years", and "He & She" (as well as the less-obscure "That Girl"). USA showed a lot of game shows in those days, most of them off-network reruns, but "Jackpot" was at the time a Canadian-produced first-run game show.

Clip #2 (in the middle) is another, shorter one from USA that has a promo break for an Western/adventure block that included "The Monroes", "The Virginian", "Wanted Dead or Alive", and "Lancer". This is followed by an excellent example of the mid-1980s USA Network ID bumper, then the first seconds of an episode of the game show "Chain Reaction".

The third and final clip, from CBN, starts with the close of an episode of the game show "Go", followed with a nice CBN network ID. Then, a promo break features "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and then a "Late Night Comedy" block including Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life", the '70s version of the "Bill Cosby Show", "Dobie Gillis", and "Father Knows Best". The clip ends with a fascinating CBN image spot called "Family Power".


TFTP Kids: "Quiz Kids" from NBC (1951)

Posted to YouTube by user 'ClassicTVShows'

"Quiz Kids" was a renowned program that aired on both radio and TV throughout the 1940s and 1950s and gave inspiration to a generation or two of youngsters. Several children ranging in age from 12 to 16 formed a panel to which the moderator asked challenging questions sent in by viewers/listeners based on various areas of knowledge. The child panelists were regulars who rotated on and off of the panel for extended periods of time, thus fostering viewer/listener identification and familiarity. This is why many of the questions asked seem to hint at familiarity with the particular child on the part of the letter writer asking the question.

"Quiz Kids" was on radio on NBC from 1940 to 1953 and on TV on NBC and CBS simultaneously from 1949 to 1953, returning for a brief run in 1956. For most of this time, the program was sponsored by Alka Seltzer, thus the commercials for that product included here. The producer of the show was Louis G. Cowan, who would go on to produce the massively popular "$64,000 Question" on CBS in the mid-1950s, success that he would then parlay into the presidency of CBS for a short time before stepping down amid the quiz scandals of the late-1950s. At the time of this "Quiz Kids" episode in 1951, the show's host was Joe Kelly; "Kukla, Fran, and Ollie" host Fran Allison is subbing for him in this episode, which she addresses in a statement near the end of the episode.

"Quiz Kids" had a long-lasting influence on television, inspiring every high-school quiz challenge program that has appeared since, mainly by local stations drawing on children in their local area. Quite a few national versions or extensions of the program were tried over the years as well, and the program even was the inspiration for the quiz program and related characters in the Paul Thomas Anderson film "Magnolia".


TFTP Signs-Off for the Week: Station Sign-Off from WXON/Detroit (Summer 1986)

Each Friday afternoon, TFTP signs-off for the week by featuring a classic station sign-off segment for your enjoyment and to bid a farewell until Monday...

Posted to YouTube by user 'Ej H'

TFTP signs-off this week--just like last week--with a station sign-off that features a song other than "The Star-Spangled Banner" (which is in most station sign-offs). This 1986 sign-off segment from independent station WXON in Detroit has as its sign-off song "My Country 'Tis of Thee" with stylized animated visuals highlighting colonial imagery (and apparently created by the Mormon church).


TFTP Game Shows: "Shadow Stumpers" from WAAM/Baltimore (c. early-1950s)

Posted to YouTube by user 'ClassicTVshows'

From the days when local stations produced programs for their local audiences in genres such as the game show, "Shadow Stumpers" is a fascinating example of a game show premise and of game play specifics very unlike other game shows, before or since.

Aired on WAAM (now WJZ) in Baltimore, and hosted by Brent Gunts, who was apparently sort of an impresario of local Baltimore TV, the show has a delightfully quaint pace and tone. Two families compete by guessing what an object is from a silhouetted shadow of the item; points are given for each correct guess, but that's mostly beside the point, as the purpose here is to showcase the wholesome family members (especially the kids) and highlight the interchanges between Gunt and family members. A family living-room set further enhances the tone.

Before program syndication became prevalent and networks took over almost every spare hour of a local affiliate's schedule, local stations used to produce programs in many genres--weekday talk shows, afternoon teenage dance parties, kids' programs--but relatively few ever attempted a local game show (outside of the high-school knowledge bowl variety, at least). "Shadow Stumpers" is one of those rare attempts.

The YouTube posting of this episode is labeled as being from 1962, but this is a mislabeling, as the program aired in Baltimore from approximately 1949 until 1953.


TFTP Will Return After These Messages: Commercial Block from KTLA/Los Angeles, with bulletin of Elvis Presley's death (Aug. 16, 1977)

Posted to YouTube by user 'MicroJow'

Recorded from a rerun broadcast of the 1960s TV western "The Big Valley" on Los Angeles independent station KTLA, this block of commercials includes the news bulletin of Elvis Presley's death on Aug. 16, 1977.

Rundown of commercials in this block (by original YouTube poster), not in the order they appear:
Schick Center For the Control of Smoking and Weight
Queen Mary Tours
Capital Home Loans
Standard American Builders
Silent Valley
TV Guide
Aames Home Loans
Hair Away
The Bryman School
Custom Craft Carpets
H. Salt Fish & Chips
Dr. F.E. Campbell - Credit Dentist
Emergency! One
Banner Carpets
Hall's Furniture
The Sawyer Schools
Vita Mix



TFTP Variety: "Laugh-In" from NBC (Feb. 10, 1969)

Posted to YouTube by user 'Anna'

"Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" was a turning point in the TV variety show when it premiered in early-1968. Both in terms of content and in terms of form, "Laugh-In" upended 20-year-old traditions in the genre: its use of sexually-suggestive and permissive humor was part of TV's mainstreaming of the counterculture, while the quick cuts and very short comic bits (assembled through editing in post-production) countered the longer sketches and staging traditionally used in TV variety programs.

Although a departure from the TV variety show as it had been known, "Laugh-In" was massively popular--becoming the #1 show on TV for the 1968-69 and 1969-70 seasons. This episode is from February 1969, when the show was at its peak of popularity and influence. It includes several of the show's signature segments: a party where random guests turn to the camera and recite jokes, the elderly couple on a park bench played by Ruth Buzzi and Arte Johnson, the Fickle Finger of Fate award given by Rowan and Martin, Arte Johnson's wisecracking German World War I soldier, and the show's most well-known bit, the "joke wall" (in which cast members tell short jokes after emerging from small doors opened in a wall painted in "Laugh-In"'s trademark psychedelic colors).

We also see in this episode (from a recording when the series was rerun on cable network Trio in the late-1990s/early-2000s) the classic cast of the show, including hosts Dan Rowan and Dick Martin as well as Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Goldie Hawn, Joanne Worley, Henry Gibson, and Judy Carne, and guest stars Davy Jones (of The Monkees), Greer Garson, and Robert Wagner.


TFTP On This Day: "The Today Show" w/ coverage of shooting of George Wallace, from NBC (May 16, 1972)

Posted to YouTube by user 'NewsActive3'

It Was 44 Years Ago Today: On May 15, 1972, an assassination attempt was made on Alabama Governor and '72 presidential candidate George Wallace. This program is the following morning's episode of the "Today" show on NBC, from May 16, 1972--44 years ago today--most of which was given over to coverage of the event.

"Today" celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1972, having pioneered the early-morning news program with its premiere in January 1952. The program moved back and forth in these years from a harder news emphasis and a more varied mix of news and lighter fare; at this point in the early-1970s, "Today" was in one of its newsier phases, even discounting the extra emphasis on hard news in this episode due to the Wallace shooting.

In 1972, "Today" was co-hosted by Frank McGee, a longtime NBC newsman and one of the reasons the show was in a newsier phase at the time, and Barbara Walters, who was still on the upward trajectory of her legendary career but who had been with the "Today" show for about a decade by this point. (We see them in separate locations in this episode due to the ongoing events of the Wallace shooting and Walters' coverage of the '72 presidential primaries.) Frank Blair reads the news--a job he had had since nearly the beginning of "Today" in 1953. The "Today" we see here is vastly different than the "Today" of today. From the sets and the graphics, to the tone of the proceedings and the atmosphere of the program, this is a fascinating look at the "Today" show of 44 years ago today.


TFTP Signs-Off for the Week: Station Sign-Off from KTBS/Shreveport, LA (1975)

Each Friday afternoon, TFTP signs-off for the week by featuring a classic station sign-off segment for your enjoyment and to bid a farewell until Monday...

Posted to YouTube by user 'Spufferama321'

From KTBS-TV, an ABC affiliate in Shreveport, Louisiana, this station sign-off includes a couple of elements not always seen in sign-offs: First, there is a National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Television Code seal, which simply meant that the station subscribed (as almost all stations did) to the NAB code, which was a common-sense list of practices for broadcasting. Many, if not most, stations included this seal in their sign-off segment, although it's not always included in the sign-off clips that surface on YouTube.

Secondly, and more rare, is the use here of "Dixieland" rather than "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the sign-off song. Stations would sometimes include in a sign-off segment a second song in addition to the national anthem, but rarely in place of it. (I don't believe that there was any requirement by stations to use "The Star-Spangled Banner" when signing off.) Having the voiceover technical and ownership information over the end part of the sign-off film, as done here, is also less common; usually it was done over a slide of some kind (often the station's call letters).


TFTP Game Shows: "The Price is Right" from CBS (Jul. 19, 1973)

Posted to YouTube by user 'PTR'

Here is a great example of a typical early episode of the 1970s version of "The Price is Right" from when the show was still only half-hour in length. The Bob Barker-hosted revival of "TPiR" had been on for less than a year (premiering in fall 1972) when this episode aired in mid-summer of '73.

The half-hour version is in most respects similar to the later hour-long version (which started in 1975 and is still on the air of course today), except there are only three pricing games and no bonus wheel to determine who got into the showcase. (The top two moneymakers of the three pricing game contestants were simply automatically advanced to the showcase.)

The three pricing games featured in this episode are a classic group that includes the True/False Game, the Grocery Game, and the Clock Game. The quality of the video in this episode is also especially good (far better than many of the blurry taped-off-of-GSN vintage "TPiR" episodes that pop up on YouTube). The upload seems to come directly from a master tape of the episode, although this means that there are long slugs of black where commercials would have been dropped in by the network or local station.


TFTP Will Return After These Messages: Commercial Block from ABC (Dec. 30, 1978)

Posted to YouTube by user '80sCommercialVault'

Rundown of the commercials and promos in this block, by the original YouTube poster:
1. Station ID
2. Promo for "The Saturday Night Movie: Help!"
3. Kentucky Fried Chicken
4. Promo for "AM" (With Regis Philbin. I posted this same promo in an earlier volume, amazing that I found another copy of it floating around out there)
5. Promo for "The Hollywood Squares"
6. "The Saturday Night Movie" Intro 
7. TV Spot for "Force 10 From Navarone"
8. Hills Bros. Coffee (With Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows)
9. Alpha Beta
10. Victoria Station
12. "The Saturday Night Movie" Commercial Bumpers
13. Thomas' English Muffins (I detect creepy robotic children)
14. Milk (So good)
15. NyQuil
16. C.W. Post
17. "The Saturday Night Movie" Commercial Bumpers
18. Reunite (On ice, that's nice)
19. Olivia Newton John "Totally Hot" (Hawt)
20. Irish Mocha Mint from General Foods International Coffees (With Carol Lawrence)
21. Maxim Freeze Dried Coffee
22. "The Saturday Night Movie" Commercial Bumpers
23. TV Spot for "The Bermuda Triangle" (I think I now have to watch this, if only because it reminds me of "In Search Of...")
24. Yuban (LOL)
25. Vicks Inhaler
26. Cycle 1
27. "The Saturday Night Movie" Commercial Bumpers
28. Birds Eye Vegetables
29. TV Spot for "Force 10 From Navarone" (I've heard this movie is pretty bad, but it involves a bunch of famous people blowing up stuff during WWII. Think I'll have to watch it sometime)
30. Promo for "The Long Ships"


TFTP News: "58 After... News" (newsbreak) from KSCH/Stockton, CA (Oct. 20, 1986)

Posted to YouTube by user 'Chuck's New Classic TV Clubhouse'

Here's a classic "newsbreak" of the kind that used to appear constantly in the afternoon and evening hours on local stations and networks alike. This mid-1980s example--from independent station KSCH (now KQCA) in Stockton, California--is an especially pedestrian one in that it doesn't even include any reported material or over-the-shoulder graphics (other than the station logo)--just the newsreader reading the news. Apparently, KSCH (channel 58) did such a newsbreak on a regular basis at 58 minutes after the hour (or 2 minutes before the top of the hour), thus the title "58 After... News".

This kind of newsbreak, while still used occasionally, is one of the features of television from the past that has been made obsolete by newer forms of learning about the news. Now, online headlines, Facebook feeds, and 24-hour cable news have taken the place of such TV news summaries. But in 1986 (and more so in the years prior to that) this was one of the only ways to get a quick update of what was happening locally, nationally, or internationally.


TFTP Kids: "Howdy Doody" from NBC (Jul. 2, 1948)

Kids' shows like "Howdy Doody" that aired daily on weekdays often had a structure similar to soap operas in which a continuing storyline would carry over from one day to the next. Many such storylines on "Howdy Doody" involved villain Phineas T. Bluster, as in this episode where Bluster has an ongoing threat to take over Doodyville unless Howdy and Buffalo Bob give him 500 marbles a day. Here, they offer to provide 500 marbles worth of entertainment per day instead, with Bluster willing to give that scheme a tryout. (Sometimes, the logic of these ongoing storylines made about as much sense as in soap operas.)

"Howdy Doody" was the iconic children's program of early television, starting on NBC in the fall of 1947 and continuing until 1960. Each day's half-hour episode included a few short scenes advancing the current storyline as well as some musical numbers--always kicked off by the "peanut gallery" (the audience of kids in the studio) singing "It's Howdy Doody Time". Later this same year, Howdy Doody "ran" for president for the first of several times--a canny storyline that both played on current events and helped propel the "Howdy Doody" show's popularity.

"Buffalo" Bob Smith, once a radio DJ before coming to Doodyville, hosted the proceedings, joined by a mute Clarabell the Clown (played in the early years by Bob Keeshan, soon to become another iconic kids' show host, Captain Kangaroo) and an assortment of other human sidekicks. A variety of marionette puppets led by the vaguely Western-themed Howdy Doody filled out the non-human cast of the show.


TFTP Signs-Off for the Week: Station Sign-Off from WCPX/Orlando (March 1986)

Posted to YouTube by user 'WREYtube'

TV stations used to sign-off at night (usually at sometime between midnight and 1:00 am) and remain dark in the overnight hours until signing on again the following morning (usually sometime in the 5:00 am hour). Each Friday afternoon here at TFTP, we feature a station sign-off to mark the end of our blogging and posting for the week.

This mid-1980s sign-off from Orlando CBS affiliate WCPX (now WKMG) has as its centerpiece the main element of almost all station sign-offs: a film of the U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner". This is follwed (again, as most station sign-offs were) by a voiceover announcer stating the call letters, frequency (channel number), transmitting power and transmitter location, and mailing address of the station. Once this is completed, the signal changes to static--until morning!


TFTP Variety: "The Jack Paar Program" with Bob Newhart from NBC (May 28, 1965)

Posted to YouTube by user 'StandApartComedy'

Bob Newhart, before becoming an icon of 1970s and 1980s sitcoms, was a stand-up comic best known for his mock telephone conversations. Jack Paar, after his stint as the host of "The Tonight Show" ended in 1962, hosted a prime-time variety show for a few years on Friday nights on NBC.

This clip is a stand-up appearance by Newhart on one of the final episodes of Paar's prime-time show, which ended in June of 1965. In his introduction, Paar exclaims his appreciation of Newhart's comedy, and Newhart provides a bit that was another of his signature types: assuming the identity of a particular kind of character (here a flight attendant) and mining the character's situation for comedy.


TFTP Will Return After These Messages: Commercial Block from CBS (Jan. 27, 1978)

Posted to YouTube by user '80s Commercial Vault'

Rundown of the commercials in this block (just under 9 minutes in length), by the original YouTube poster:
1. L'eggs
2. Excedrin (The first guy must have received all of his fashion advice from Carl Sagan)
3. 7-11 (Mr. Hyde drives a Volkswagen Convertible?)
4. Promo for "The Jeffersons", "Maude" and "Kojak"
5. Aim (Note to self: never start an argument with this lady over toothpaste)
6. Wisk (Oh god! Those dirty rings!)
7. Lowenbrau (With Paul Gleason from "The Breakfast Club")
8. "The World Beyond" Commercial Bumper
9. Promo for "The Bob Newhart Show" and "The Tony Randall Show" (Tony Randall had his own sitcom?)
10. Fred Montesi Supermarket (Amazing elevator music here)
11. Dobbs Ford
12. Promo for "Miss Arkansas Universe Pageant" ("Arkansas Universe" is a pretty strange phrase...)
13. Bayer ("It has relieved more aches, pain and fever than any medication in history." Well ok then...)
14. Western Electric Telephones
15. Dial (Oh yeah!)
16. Gallo Red Rosé (This reminds me of one of those product placements on "The Price Is Right")
17. Pam (Money - Calories - Time = Pam)
18. Sucrets
19. "The World Beyond" End Credits


TFTP Game Shows: "What's My Line?" w/ debut of Fred Allen as panelist, from CBS (Aug. 15, 1954)

Posted to YouTube by user 'What's My Line?'

"What's My Line?" was one of the most durable and popular prime-time game shows of the 1950s and 1960s (it ran from 1950-67, with a syndicated version then continuing until 1975). The four-person panel (which from early in the show's run included Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Bennett Cerf) guessed the profession/vocation of contestants, with one celebrity mystery guest (for which the panelists were blindfolded, so as not to recognize the person) thrown into each episode.

The show was thought to have hit its stride only around the time of this episode, the first with fourth panelist Fred Allen, the great radio comedian. Allen had a legendary wit that is evident in his exchanges here, and although he never really adapted well to television, his run as a "What's My Line?" panelist may be his TV high-point.

This episode's mystery guest, "Buffalo" Bob Smith, host of the iconic "Howdy Doody" kids show (that was in the heart of its 1947-60 TV run at this time), has some fun with Allen, too, at one point doing a Fred Allen impression as one of his voice-disguising gambits. (Mystery guests usually disguised their voices as well, so panelists wouldn't be able to ID them that way.) Overall, in addition to being a landmark episode with Allen's debut, it's a good example of a typical mid-1950s "What's My Line?" episode.


TFTP Signs-On for May: Station Sign-On (w/ "A.M. Weather") from WTTW (Chicago) (Oct. 18, 1983)

Posted to YouTube by user 'The Museum of Classic Chicago Television'

Television from the past was not 24/7 like it is now, and stations usually signed-off for the night at around midnight or 1:00 am; this, of course, meant that they had to sign-on again the following morning each day.

This is a station sign-on for Tuesday, October 18, 1983, from Chicago PBS station WTTW, which starts with the color bars used by TV engineers to adjust the transmitted picture, followed by the customary voiceover info about the station's frequency and ownership (as required by FCC rules). This is followed by the day's segment of "A.M. Weather", a national round-up of weather information produced by Maryland Public TV with the support of several aviation-based organizations.

Station sign-ons usually took place around 5:00 or 5:30 am each morning (sometimes a little later), depending on when the station's first scheduled program for the day was. TFTP will feature one of these station sign-ons each month on the first of the month (or the first Monday if the 1st is on a weekend).