20th anniversary book cover

CURATOR'S NOTE: WMAQ-TV celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1998 with little fanfare. Not so in 1968 (perhaps better times) when the late John Gibbs wrote a magnificent 20th anniversary tribute to the station. Almost impossible to find in hard copy, I offer an HTML version here.

Those who knew John Gibbs will verify that he was one of the most capable and empathic gentlemen ever to have worked in the newsroom at Channel 5.

The links below are to the ten sections of WMAQ-TV: 1948-1968.

I have also included two 1967 memos (rescued from the dumpster in 1989) relating to WMAQ-TV's plans for its twentieth anniversary the following year. They were written by Chet Campbell, WMAQ-TV's publicist, and directed to W. C. "Bud" Prather, the station manager.

WMAQ-TV plans for its twentieth anniversary....

Memo of June 14th, 1967. Deals with the anniversary booklet, the anniversary seal, possible special network originations from Chicago, etc.

Memo of July 13th, 1967. An anniversary planning progress report

WMAQ-TV: 1948-1968: a Tribute on the Station's 20th Anniversary...

Fade up. The WNBQ transmitter is fired up for the first time. Includes a picture of the original test pattern.

Flashback. A brief history of WMAQ radio and NBC in Chicago. Includes pictures of studio A, the original WMAQ studio in The Fair Store, the "Three Doctors" on the air, Marian and Jim Jordan, a WMAQ mobile radio unit from the early 1930's (using a beach umbrella an an antenna) and WMAQ-TV's state-of-the-art "VTMU".

Roll opening credits. How Jules Herbuveaux, starting with a staff of two (including himself) put WNBQ on the air.

Fade up on scene one. The earliest broadcasts of WNBQ.

Closeup. Channel 5 begins regularly scheduled broadcasts and initiates a video style known as the "Chicago School" of television.

Segue to highlights. More WNBQ programming of the early 1950's. Includes photos of the casts of "Stud's Place" and "Hawkins Falls", Wayne King and a boxing match in studio B.

Fade up on the Peacock. How WNBQ became the world's first all-color television station. Includes pictures of the innaugural broadcast (with Robert Sarnoff, Jules Herbuveaux and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley), "The New Performers", "Kukla, Fran and Ollie", "By Gemini", "It's Academic", the "NBC News Night Report" and "Kup's Show."

Roll tape. How video tape revolutionized television production. Includes pictures of the video tape room, the VTMU in action (with Jorie Lueloff) and the state-of-the-art control room of studio D (featuring the back of Roger Lee Miller's head).

Cue NBC News. WMAQ-TV doubles its news staff under the direction of General Manager Bob Lemon and News Director Bill Corely. Three-man film crews roam the streets. The award-winning "City Desk" debuts. Weekly half-hour documentaries air on "Dateline: Chicago." Channel 5 dominates the ratings with Floyd Kalber and Len O'Connor. Includes pictures of the newsroom (with the late Ron Chizever), the film processor, the WMAQ-TV Weather Bureau, studio E control and a wall full of awards.

Cue Preview. WMAQ-TV looks forward to the '70's and beyond and concludes, "Whatever best serves Chicago and its people....that is what WMAQ-TV will be doing. And doing it first."

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
Audio and video downloads
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Created by Rich Samuels (e-mail to rich@richsamuels.com)