Recently I wrote about the fabulous film school education I receieved--not at the American Film Institute (whose masters graciously bestowed an MFA upon me before tossing me into the mean streets of early 1990's Hollywood)--but from staring glassy-eyed, hour after hour, at local Los Angeles television in the 1970's and early 80's. Every local station aired movies--old features, old shorts, good and bad fifties and sixties television. In the days before cable, it was possible to catch almost all the necessary-to-be-seen movies on local TV--brutally cut up and, if in Scope, featuring horrible pan-and-scan work. (I often wondered if the job of panning-and-scanning the scope prints fell to the drunks...it seems like the kind of job somebody would be able to perform while inebriated and if they were no good at it, who could say? For there is truly no such things as a "good" pan-and-scan).
What I didn't realize until recently was how emotional my identification with the actual stations that showed these movies was. It makes sense, I suppose, that a young television watcher would find comfort and familiarity with certain trademarks that indicate that something enjoyable is coming up. But until discovering the following cache of logos, I.D.s and intros to movie shows, I had no idea that my real nostalgia for my childhood was centered on something so bitesized, so unsubstantial, so utterly without true artistic redemption. And yet, judging by the number of hits a lot of these clips get on Youtube, apparently I'm not the only child of television eager to revisit these iconographic snatches of the pre-cable, pre-DVD, pre-internet, pre-Iphone, pre-Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Obama years.
First up is the ID from what I considered my "home station"--KTTV, Metromedia Channel 11. Although the below is technically from a mid-western affiliate, it's the same logo and music that I recall from thirty years ago. Viz:
Ahhhh, those pulsating "eleven, eleven, elevens". I am twelve and eating a complete box of doughnuts, drinking a carton of chocolate milk and awaiting "I Love Lucy". KTTV also had a strange sign-on, filled with facts and figures about their transmission which I used to occasionally catch--if awake too early or up too late--and was always perversely thrilled by. Did I ever think, though, that I would be watching this again, aged fifty...and on a computer? (Warning: it's proceeded by a commercial for a gambling/dining establishment in Gardena, California that runs a brief forty-five seconds.)
KHJ, channel 9, hosted an eight-o-clock movie as well as did KTLA, channel 5. Even though I preferred the latter (as it was heavy on Paramount movies from the 30' and 40's) I occasionally dabbled in the usually Universal Studios-based movies generally presented on KHJ. And on sick days, you could catch the KHJ Midday Movie--in case Ben Hunter was presenting something a little too lame on KTTV.
Here's a nice old KTLA Channel Five logo/bumper that makes me feel truly warm and fuzzy. I always liked the use of "Golden West Broadcasters" in the announcement, accompanied by the golden Channel five logo. Get it? Golden? And Golden?
I'll close this increasingly suspect trip down memory lane with the coolest of all opening movie-program bumpers--which happened to be for the worst of all movie programs. At 4:30 in the afternoons, ABC used to air a two hour movie in a ninety minute time slot with a half hour of commericals. Thus did I see any number of films--mostly sixties product and a good helping of Jerry Lewis (and strangely the George Hamilton starring "Evil Knievel" which seemed to never stop airing)--in "tab" versions. Imagine, editing a film down by fifty percent? The results were toothpicks out of what had once been wooden furniture--the films made little sense and often times the combination of late afternoon sloth, un-followable narrative and constant commericials, led me to simply doze through what was left of the movie. Nevertheless, the intro--and my desire to avoid Algebra homework--kept me coming back for more:
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