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Take The Time Capsule Back To 1965, Via KPRC

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Via Mike McGuff's blog comes a whole lot of time-capsule goodness: a 1965 mini-documentary by KPRC on how KPRC goes about putting together the news for its TV and radio audience.

It's a world where cigarettes are smoked manfully, reporters are uniformly white and the intersection of Westheimer & Weslayan is a rural outpost of fields and used-car lots.

We follow as a KPRC reporter pulls up to the cop shop to begin his shift; we see HPD cops answering phone calls.

"There are," narrator Ray Miller intones, "the usual reports of missing milk bottles, vandalism and break-ins."

Well, HPD, you haven't solved the vandalism-and-break-in problem, but you deserve absolute kudos for cutting waaaay back on the missing milk bottles. (Did reports of missing milk bottles get put onto milk cartons?)

Then comes a report of shooting! With the spellbinding suspense that's typically only seen in a Hitchcock or David Fincher film, we watch -- mesmerized -- as the reporter dials the newsroom to tell them about it. Dials all seven numbers. (Editing was apparently in its infancy.)

Then it's a jump into the painted KPRC station wagon to the scene, which nicely includes shots of the dead man's feet sticking out from beneath a sheet. Gigantic, aircraft-carrier-sized cars drive by in the background.

And then, after the reporter files a radio report, a stunning example of multi-media: a billboard that looks to be near the Southwest Freeway goes into action. "When the light blinks, there's news!!" it says, as a large light begins blinking. ("When the light's not blinking, don't bother!!" the sign somehow doesn't also say.)

Other highlights include the filming of an arrest that Cops would be proud of, and an incredibly young Steve Smith, who later went on to anchor KHOU news.

Check it out. And for god's sake, keep an eye on your milk bottles.

-- Richard Connelly

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