Screening Room

On Sept 2, 1981, Peg Sullivan, who was one of the original liaison people from Taft Broadcasting when they purchased WDCA in 1980, came to me and said that as part of the license commitment, we were going to do a Public Service Announcement about the difference between fantasy and reality on television.

I liked the idea and asked her what she had in mind and when she wanted to shoot it.  She said that there was an open spot in the production schedule that afternoon and as far as content went, "It's up to you!"

After thanking her for the advance notice, my mind went back to stories I had heard in my youth about kids being injured by trying to fly like TV's Superman. So, a few hours later, we went into the studio, I had the crew set and light a blue chromakey sweep and take a camera outside into the parking lot.  There was no script, but I had in mind what I wanted to say. It took about 20 minutes to set, light and rehearse the spot. We did the first take and it was OK, except that some glare on my shoes "keyed" out and it looked bad.  So, I took my shoes off and we did the second and last take. Peggy loved it. Management loved it and it was put into the scheduling computer to begin airing the following week.

The spot ran and ran and ran. The computer was instructed to run the spot on a regular schedule during kid's programming and then whenever there was an additional opening in the schedule.  Because it was an important part of the license commitment, it was given a special priority code that could not be easily over-ridden.

The spot continued to run, even after I was fired Memorial Day weekend 1987, because no one knew how to override the code!  Eventually they figured it out.  But by then it was had run for five and a half years and was certainly the most viewed PSA in the history of the station.

To watch it with a broadband connection, click on the image below.