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Welcome to Central Illinois' On-Line Broadcast Museum. This website documents in detail the history of each of the viewable TV stations, past and present, across mid-Illinois in text, photos, and videos, as well as each station's current status. This site also includes local radio history and automated analog formats, again told in pictures, videos, and text. 

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Doug with his 1958 Philco Predicta "Holiday"

Doug Quick 
Radio/TV Broadcaster/Historian, Author, Webmaster
complete bio available here.

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Doug from 2010 with his
1958 Philco Predicta "Holiday"

The 1962/63 Models of Telstar

Telstar

July is Telstar Month at the Museum, as the US launched its first telecommunications satellite on July 10, 1962. It was first used to broadcast a live program from various US sites to Europe on July 23, 1962. Watch that program and what it took to produce at TV History, Historical Television Highlights!

Videos of the Week

This week, the Museum recognizes the sixty-second anniversary of Telstar. It was the first real active communications satellite to receive video from a base station and then re-transmit it to another set of base stations on another continent.  Below are videos from that era of television and radio to give you a sample of what people were watching during prime time on network TV and over a good part of the Midwest on radio.

Car 54 Where Are You? (1961) NBC Pilot

"Car 54 Where Are You?" aired on NBC from September 17, 1961, through September 8, 1963. There were several interesting things about this two-season sitcom that stood out. First, it was created and produced by Nat Hiken, who brought us "The Phil Silvers Show" in the 1950s. Secondly, it was filmed in New York, while most other shows were produced in Hollywood. Thirdly, it was the first teaming of Fred Gwynne and, occasionally, with Al Lewis. You might remember them as Herman and Grandpa on "The Munsters" about five years later. 

The stars were Joe E. Ross as Officer Gunther Toody and Fred Gwynne as Officer Francis Muldoon. Bea Pons played Lucille Toody, Gunther's wife. Others in the cast all playing police officers included Nipsey Russell, Albert Henderson, Jerome Guardino, Shelley Burton, Joe Warren, Bruce Kirby, Hank Garrett, Jim Gormley, Frederick O'Neal, and Frederick O'Neal. Al Lewis played Officer Leo Schnauser, with Charlotte Rae as his wife, Sylvia. The Captain, Martin Block, was played by Paul Reed.

Another aspect of the series was the patrol car. It looked identical to the cars used by the New York Police Department. Since the show was shot in black and white, the car was actually painted in red and white, so when it was being shot on the streets of the Bronx, it wouldn't be confused with a real police car. 

"Car 54" aired on Sundays from 7:30 - 8 pm (CT) on WICS, WCHU, WICD, WEEK-TV, and KSD-TV.

The Lucy Show (1962) CBS Season 1 Episode 1

The video above is the pilot episode of "The Lucy Show," the follow-up to "I Love Lucy." It aired from October 1, 1962, through the 1965-66 season, when the format was changed. In this series format, Lucy was named Lucy Carmichael.

You might notice that it was produced by Elliott Lewis (a classic radio writer, director, producer, star, and supporting actor on "The Phil Harris/Alice Fay Show"). Lucy's then-former husband, Desi Arnaz, was the executive producer. The show was co-written by long-time "I Love Lucy" writers Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Pugh Martin, Bob Weiskopf, and Bob Schiller.

The format of this series also teamed up with Vivian Vance as her divorced best friend, Vivian Bagley. Lucy's children were played by Candy Moore and Jimmy Garrett. Vivian's son was played by Ralph Hart. Her first-season boss was Mr. Barnsdahl, played by Charles Lane. Gale Gordon would add the second season to play Lucy's boss, Theodore J. Mooney. 

The First Lady of television would continue with similar formats, with her real-life son and daughter playing her children in a later version. It didn't matter what the format was; the show would continue as an audience favorite for years into the early 1970s as "Here's Lucy." It would also air in reruns on the CBS daytime schedule. 

"The Lucy Show" was seen on CBS affiliates WCIA, WMBD-TV, KHQA, WTHI-TV, and KMOX-TV.
   

Route 66 (1962) CBS Martin Milner, George Maharis

A few years before he was a star on "Adam-12," Martin Milner was in another car, a Chevrolet Corvette, from the late 1950s through the early 1960s as Tod Stiles on "Route 66."

 

Todd Stiles was born of wealth, but he found out his dad was broke after he died. He gathered enough money to purchase a Corvette and planned to see the country. He teamed up with a man, Buz Murdock, played by George Maharis. Buz was born into different circumstances in a rough neighborhood, Hell's Kitchen, in New York City. He connected to Tod, as he was a former employee of Tod's father. 

"Route 66" was produced on location, at many locations around the country, with very few episodes taking place along the "Main Street of America, Route 66." The duo would get involved in the personal lives of the guest characters who would star in each episode. The most exciting thing I have found about watching this series is that since it was shot at various locations, it's fascinating to see the exact locations on Google Earth and check out the street views with how these locations look now. 

Stirling Sillphant and Herbert B. Leonard created and produced the series, which aired on CBS from October 7, 1960, through September 18, 1964. It was also shown on WCIA, WMBD-TV, KHQA, WTHI-TV, and KMOX-TV. 
"Route 66" was a Friday night staple, airing each episode from 7:30-8:30 pm (CT).

It was also one of the original TVLand series shown in the 1980s when the cable network included classic TV shows. It also aired on MeTV during that network's early days.

Bus Stop (1961) ABC Rhodes Reason, Marilyn Maxwell

This relatively brief series aired on ABC from October 1, 1961, through March 25, 1962. It aired on Sundays, 8-9 pm (CT) on WTVP, WTVH, and KTVI over Mid-Illinois. 

This series was based on the play by playwright William Inge and maintained him as a script consultant. It takes place at a diner in fictitious Sunrise, Colorado. Grace Sherwood played by Marilyn Maxwell (you might remember as co-starring with Bob Hope in the film "Lemon Drop Kid" where they sang "Silver Bells" for the first time). It also starred Rhodes Reason as Will Mayberry. John Freeman starred as the diner's only server. The town's sheriff and district attorney (I said it was a small town) was Glenn Wagner, played by Richard Anderson.

This series was targeted as one episode called "A Lion Walks Among Us," based on a novel by Tom Wicker. That episode had pop singer Fabian as a psychopath who committed murder and violent acts, including sadism. That episode brought Congressional hearings on violence on television. That most likely got an early cancellation for the series. This episode, "I Kiss Your Shadow," was also mentioned in Steven King's "Danse Macabre." 

 

Comments on this YouTube video are most favorable and include descriptions like "It gave me nightmares for years" and "...it damned near traumatized me...for the next decade."  Enjoy the show.

What's My Line (1962) CBS Guest: Buddy Hackett

This "What's My Line" installment aired on CBS on May 13, 1962. This Goodson-Todman production was one of the television's longest-airing prime-time game/quiz shows, beginning to air long before mid-Illinois could ever watch any local television. It was broadcast on February 16, 1950, through September 3, 1967. I hadn't determined when it began to air on the local stations, but it was sometime in the mid-1950s. 

The show included a panel of semi-regulars or regulars who would question a guest about their exciting or unusual occupation. The guest would earn $5 every time they were asked a question that they would answer with a "no."  After ten "no's," the game would end if no one guessed the guest's occupation.

This installment was broadcast on May 13, 1962, and aired on WCIA, WMBD-TV, KHQA, WTHI-TV, and KMOX-TV.

Dr. Kildare (1961) NBC Richard Chamberlain

"Dr. Kildare" originated, as far as I can determine, and began as an MGM movie series during the 1940s starring Lew Ayres as Dr. Kildare. Lionel Barrymore played Dr. Gillispie. There was also a matching radio series with the same actors as the movies. 

The TV version of "Dr. Kildare" starred Richard Chamberlain as the good doctor. Raymond Massey played Dr. Leonard Gillespie. In the early episodes, Dr. Kildare was an intern but was a resident by the end of the series. Norman Felton produced the series.

This NBC medical series premiered September 28, 1961, and aired through August 30, 1966. It spent the first four years on Thursdays from 7:30 to 8:30 pm (CT). In the final year from 1965 to 66, Dr. Kildare was changed to 30 minutes, airing twice a week on Monday and Tuesday from 7:30 to 8 pm (CT).

Medical set TV series were introduced for the 1961-62 series as NBC premiered "Dr. Kildare" and ABC also premiered "Ben Casey" the same season. By this time, the networks were beginning to sweep the schedules of the western dust from the prime time schedules.

"Dr. Kildare" was shown on WICS, WCHU, WICD, WEEK-TV, WGEM-TV, and KSD-TV in mid-Illinois.
 

The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor (1961) ABC Robert Taylor

"The Detectives Starring Rober Taylor" aired on ABC during the first year of its run, which began October 16, 1959, but by September 1961, it would shift to NBC to air the same evening on Friday.

One thing that makes this series stand out is that the title also includes the word "starring" and then the star's name. Johnny Carson later did not lose sight of the fact that a star could do that. In 1962, after Mr. Carson took over the hosting duties of "Tonight" and as part of his contract, the nighttime variety show was renamed  "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." 

This series featured a rotating cast of leads who fought crime in New York as detectives and long-time film actor Robert Taylor as Captain Matt Holbrook. Other stars included Tige Andrews (later the Captain of "The Mod Squad" in the late 1960s), Lee Farr, Russell Thorson, Mark Goddard, and Adam West (later Batman").

Unfortunately, the video I feature above is a shortened version of the 25-minute episode "Terror on Ice" (not including commercials) down to eight and a half minutes. 

"The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor" aired on ABC stations WTVP, WTVH, and KTVI. The final season was renamed "Robert Taylor's Detectives" when it appeared on NBC and was seen on WICS, WCHU, WICD, WEEK-TV, WGEM-TV, and KSD-TV. 

Classic Radio

WLS (1962) Chicago Dick Biondi

The early 1960s and the era of "Telstar" already influenced radio, as The Tornadoes had the hit "Telstar," which went to number one in November 1962. The video featuring the group and the song appears on TV History and Historical Television Highlights.

 

Looking back as far as the early 1960s, airchecks are challenging to find as the station professionally recorded most for reviewing purposes or for a particular disc jockey on reel-to-reel tape. Reel-to-reel tape was the usual method for recording at the time, far before audio cassettes were available for the average listener to record airchecks. 

The closest I can find from a station heard in central Illinois is here, originally recorded on March 9, 1962. This aircheck features long-time popular Chicago DJ Dick Biondi. It was broadcast before the Telstar launch, which took place on July 10, 1962.  

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"Pictures on the Prairie: The First Ten Years of Central Illinois Television" by Doug Quick

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The Saint (1968) NBC The Fellow Traveler

The Prisoner (1967) CBS Ep 1

The Avengers (1967) ABC The Winged Avenger

The Avengers (1968) ABC The Forget Me Knot

Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-74)

BBC 1/PBS The Ministry of Silly Walks Sketch

Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-74) BBC 1/PBS The Olympic Hide and Seek Finals

Classic Radio

Lite Rock 97.5, WHMS (2001) Lee Marcus

Twilight Zone (1963) CBS There's a Man Out There

SNL (2010) NBC Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Sketch

For the People (1965) CBS Episode 1

The Defenders (1965) CBS Guests: Wm Shatner, Madlyn Rue

Barbary Coast (1975) ABC Ep 1 Funny Money

Columbo (1976/1993) NBC/ABC Wm Shatner

The Practice (2004) ABC Wm Shatner

Classic Radio

WWTO, 105.7, Peoria (1973) Drake-Chenault Solid Gold

The America We Knew: March 1976

The Love Boat (1982) ABC Clip with Markie Post, Lyle Waggoner

Today (1952) NBC First Broadcast with Dave Garoway

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In (1968) NBC Outtakes with Don Rickles, Ruth Buzzi and Arte Johnson

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In (1971) NBC Outtakes with Adam-12 Stars

Unsold Pilot-Dream Wife (1965) Shirley Jones

Classic Radio

WJBC-AM (1974) Ken Behrens

The Tonight Show (1965) NBC New Year's Eve Show

22 New Shows of Winter-Spring 1985

Vintage Celebrity Commercials (60s-80s)

Laverne and Shirley (1976) ABC

Second City Televsion (1978) Syn.

Sara (1985) NBC Geena Davis

Jack Benny Program (1961) CBS Raymond Burr

Classic Radio

WGER-FM, 102.5FM (early 70s) Bay City Michigan, Beautiful Music

Flintstones/Bugs Bunny Promo (1960) ABC Affiliates Preview

Bugs Bunny Show (1964) ABC Prime Time Promo

The Flintstones Promo (1964) ABC "What's New at the Flintstones

The Flintstones (1965) ABC At the 1964 New York Worlds Fair

Fractured Flickers (1963) Syndicated Guest: Barbara Eden

101 Iconic TV shows of the 1960s

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1967) ABC

Lost in Space (1966) CBS

Time Tunnel (1966) ABC

Land of the Giants (1968) ABC Pilot

Swiss Family Robinson (1975) ABC Pilot

Classic Radio

CBS Radio Mystery Theater (1974)

Car 54 Where Are You? (1961) NBC

The Lucy Show (1962) CBS Season 1 Episode 1

Route 66 (1962) CBS Martin Millner, George Maharis

Bus Stop (1961) ABC

What's My Line (1962) CBS

Dr. Kildare (1961) NBC Richard Chamberlain

The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor (1961) ABC

Classic Radio

WLS (1962) Chicago Dick Biondi

New Stuff on this Site

June 15, 2024-TV Today, the Chicago market station lineup was updated with minor changes.

June 22, 2024- I reposted AJ Gersh's interview with me recorded at WICS in September 2023.

June 29, 2024- I updated all of the pages within TV Now to reflect many changes, including adding more digital networks and changing affiliates. I also adjusted the "mobile version" of each page, although it's still better to view on a full-size screen.

July 6, 2024-I updated the MId-Illinois list of TV Today to include ION-Plus to at least 6 different signals across central Illinois!  ION-Plus seems to be purchasing broadcast rights on multiple station signals across the Midwest in a number of markets.

July 8, 2024-I updated the Mid-Illinois list of TV Today once again to add yet another signal to the listings. I also updated the Next Gen 3.0 information. Then, I updated the Quincy market page with more info on the KHQA relocation of signal from channel 7 to UHF channel 22. The virtual signal will remain as Channel 7.

Next Week on 
Videos of the Week

 

Next week, it's part one of a journey into the 1970s with a collection of some of the most popular shows of the mid-1970s. It was the era of "jiggle TV," and I'll show some highly-rated examples. It was also the time of relevant TV and the end of the rural purge taken by CBS to bring the network into the 70s. Our classic radio selection goes back to 1976 and a short air check from WDBR. Make a weekly visit back to the Museum part of your week, every week!

St. Louis Media Foundation

Central Illinois On-Line Broadcast Museum and dougquick.com supports the work of the St. Louis Media History Foundation. 

Visit their website at:

stlmediahistory.org

 

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Illinois Broadcasters Association, Broadcast Pioneer Winner, 2022
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IBA Silver Dome Winner, 2017
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