KTRK Ad From 1971: Typewriters! Reel-to-Reel Tape! Bullfights! Who Wouldn't Tune In?
This is an advertisement for Channel 13's Eyewitness News circa 1971, and it is magnificent.
In our view, it represents a serious lack of judgment that news stations no longer use one-minute ads set to the Mission: Impossible theme, with constant cuts to the space-age state-of-the-art equipment that looks like it came from an evil genius's lair.
And the "news" they are hyping!
Let's examine, second by edge-of-your-seat second:
0:01 -- The unmistakable opening to the M:I theme immediately ratchets your heartbeat up several notches. And if that's not enough, there's some sort of vague house fire going on! Not to worry, though, the finest in huge tape reels is there to record it for posterity.
0:04 -- A&M scores a touchdown, and the reel-to-reel magic gets even more intense: They now are illuminated by blinking red lights.
0:08 -- A helicopter takes off, ready to cover a downtown that seems to have half the big buildings it does now.
0:09 -- A Clockwork Orange has nothing on the montage boys at 13.
0:11 -- You need to freeze-frame at this point to see the world's worst photo of the Dome, taken with what looks like a large utility unit standing strategically in the way.
0:14 -- Cool early-`70s cop car cruises by, at a sedate pace despite its lights blazing.
0:17: -- The exciting process of film being developed is shown, in order to lure the viewers in. At least those viewers who love to watch film being processed.
0:18 -- Gadgets galore! Someone thumping a gavel!
0:21 -- Yes, even back then TV news specialized in shots of cars going through hubcap-high street floods, but the rides were sweeter. Followed by a quick shot of what we have to assume is a cutting-edge typewriter. Yes, a typewriter.
0:23: -- Check out the Johnny Unitas billboard behind the picketing striker. They just don't throw footballs like that anymore.
0:29 -- Lyndon Baines Johnson cracks a joke that Lady Bird finds funny. Maybe it was -- we couldn't hear it over the Mission: Impossible theme.
0:30 -- Your WTF moment of the spot: A bullfight. With the bullfighter falling on his ass, obviously seconds away from being gored in the balls by El Toro.
0:41: More fires, lots of pictures of billboards saying KTRK is Now ! and New! because pictures of billboards are always more exciting than graphics you make yourself. Then, another shot of the flashing-red reel-to-reel technology, because it is so, apparently, cool.
0:43 -- You'll need to freeze-frame for the shot of young juvenile delinquents sorrowfully standing in a line-up, facing the wall. Because ass-recognition is the best way of identifying young toughs. Although frankly, the orange pants are pretty unforgettable.
0:50 -- More billboards, more reel-to-reel as the countdown takes us closer to showtime. The tension is almost unbearable at this point.
0:56 -- Finally -- the "On Air" sign!!
0:58 -- Just to keep with the theme, an exciting zoom-in on...another billboard.
They just don't make `em like this anymore.