"Pictures on the Prairie"
Vermilion County Museum Book Signing event
Former WICD Anchor Art Barron
"Pictures on the Prairie"
If you have a copy of my book, send me a selfie of yourself with it and I'll add it to my collection. E-mail to dougquick at dougquick-dot-com. I'll also be taking pictures with those who purchase the book at the various book signings coming up! See you there!
FOX-Champaign story about "Pictures on the Prairie" broadcast on Thursday, March 22, 2018
Hold your cursor over each picture above for location and year. These pictures are just a sample of what you can see in my book "Pictures on the Prairie" and on the web pages here. Take the complete tour here at Central Illinois On-Line Broadcast Museum.
Would you like an autographed copy of "Pictures on the Prairie: The First Ten Years of Mid-Illinois Television?"
If you already have a book:
E-mail me (at dougquick @ dougquick.com) with the fact that you have a book and would like it signed. Include the exact name of the person(s) to be named with the signing. Make sure the name(s) is spelled correctly. Make sure you include your mailing address where your book is to be sent with your initial e-mail.
I’ll return an e-mail to you with the mailing address of where you should mail the book. When you mail it make sure you use a USPS envelope for priority mail. It will cost you around $8.50. When you send me your book include either cash of $8.50 or a personal check for $8.50 to cover the postage so I can get the book back to you.
If you would like to purchase a book and have it signed:
E-mail me (at dougquick @ dougquick.com) with your request for a book and to have it signed. Include the exact name of the person(s) to be named with the signing. Make sure the names(s) are spelled correctly. Make sure you include your mailing address where the book is be sent with your initial e-mail.
I’ll return an e-mail to you with the mailing address of where you should send either cash or a personal check of $28.50 to cover the cost of the book and postage back to you.
I have a limited number of books, and this offer will end when I run out, so don’t delay!
The History of WAND, Channel 17, Decatur, IL
WTVP Becomes WAND
On December 23, 1965, Frederick Gregg Jr., President of LIN Broadcasting, announced the future expansion of WTVP. The announcement also came with the announcement of the ownership change of WTVP to the Nashville, Tennessee-based company on December 15, 1965. The purchase price was listed as $2-million.
The $800,000 expansion plans would involve a power increase of almost “five-fold” and a doubling of the height of its tower. The plans also included the conversion to a color TV studio and color broadcasting which would begin during 1966. The W-70-AF translator wasn’t included in the briefing, but according to the Urbana Courier, “others familiar with the station’s capabilities feel it can be eliminated.”
In late 1965, WTVP was stated as having a Grade B signal over 45% of Champaign-Urbana. With the tower/antenna and transmitter upgrade, it was felt that WTVP would have a Grade A signal over the Twin Cities.
In February 1966 a press release read that all TV owners should be able to receive ABC programming from WTVP by May of that year. The final engineering plans were completed and submitted to the FCC for approval. WTVP Station Manager Len Carl stated that the station upgrade would include a new 1-million watt transmitter to be located near Argenta, Illinois. Some communities, which would now be included in the coverage area, were to be Melvin, Loda, and Rankin to the north, Ashland to the west, Danville to the east, and Mattoon to the south. It was also revealed on February 10th that WTVP would become WAND on the following Monday.
The plans began for the building of a tower and transmitter that would eventually be destroyed by an ice storm. That weather-related event would ultimately bring down the 1,135-foot structure during the late '70s...more on that later.
In the meantime, the Macon County Zoning Board approved the construction of the tower and transmitter building on a one-acre tract of land located 2 miles northeast of Oreana, Illinois before the final FCC approval was granted.
Before the new transmitter and tower were installed, WAND went online on July 1st, 1966 with a new film chain with color capabilities, and color VTR’s. It seems that WTVP had capabilities to broadcast the network in color as early as 1965. Live studio color broadcasting was still being planned for October of 1966, several months in the future.
In August of 1966 construction was begun on the new tower for WAND. Weather delays continued to plague the construction schedule for the new high-powered facility. By August 16th, the tower concrete forms began to be placed and readied for the foundation of the tower. The construction of the new concrete block-style transmitter building was underway as well. Stainless, Inc. was the manufacturer and assembly contractor for the tower (being the same company, which built the WILL-TV/FM tower just a few miles to the northeast of the WAND tower).
More on the WAND tower/transmitter below...
These full-page ads for ABC for the 1965-66 season were also sponsored by WIRL-TV Channel 19, Peoria. Evidently, WTVP was not inclined to share the cost with WIRL, so Channel 19 got the advantage of a full logo to be included in the ads.
(TV Guide from the Doug Quick Collection)
Recollections of "Davey's Locker" and "Captain Scotty"
After marrying he and his wife and family lived in Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Jon tells of attending six different grade schools. Jon described his father's voice as having a deep resonance similar to James Earl Jones with a “touch of (an) English accent and a great cutting vocabulary.” His son also tells of him going “back and forth between being a pastor and radio/TV/Newspapers.”
Also at WAND, he anchored the Noon newscast for a time but that was after he had already established himself as a kids show host and according to his son the move “didn't work." After his time at WAND, he ended up at WMIX radio in Mt. Vernon, Illinois where he was station manager. He later returned to preaching, which took him to Hot Springs, Arkansas where he, Dr. John Douglas Davey passed away in 2002.
So, the search continues to find any material, pictures, or any TV show artifacts and souvenirs from any of the WAND kids shows. If you have any memories, personal photos your parents might have taken at the WTVP/WAND studios, or any photos which would show the set, the host, and kids, they would be a terrific addition to this website. You'll notice right now, there are none.
Pictures can be scanned and sent via e-mail to me. Digital pictures of objects can be taken, scans of any printed material can also be sent via email. Please go through your collection! Don't let this exciting time of local television disappear! Of course, you would be given contributor status.
I would also like to hear the story of your experience as a child participant. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon!
During the 1950s and especially during the 1960s, local television included many local kids' shows which would feature a unique host, a panel of local kids, games that allow kids to win prizes, and a stable of four to five-minute cartoons. At WTVP/WAND during the '60s there was at least "Space Angel," " Dick Tracy's Crime Stoppers," along with "Davey's Locker" and "Captain Scotty."
Davey's Locker and Captain Scotty were created and hosted by Dr. John Douglas Davey. His son Jon Davey, who is now a professor at a Midwest university passed along some information about the life of Dr. Davey.
Dr. Davey was born in Northern Rhodesia where his parents were missionaries there. He later was educated in Wales and graduated from Swansea College before moving on to Canada. He served in the Canadian Air Force during World War II, then went to seminary school.
Other Children's Panel Shows of the 1960s on Channel 17
Children's participation show themes revolved around whatever syndicated cartoon series was picked up to model it after. There was a period of time that "Space Angel" was presented. The episodic cartoon series was produced by Cambria Productions from 1962-64 and used the "Synchro-Vox" lip animated technique where nothing moved except for the lips of the characters. Voices were provided by Ned Lefebvre(as Scott McCloud-"The Space Angel"), Margaret Kerry was Crystal Mace and Hal Smith was the voice of Scottish-born engineer Taurus. It's believed that "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry based the character of "Scotty" on "Taurus."
Dick Tracy's Crimestoppers
This Chester Gould-based cartoon featured the famous comic strip character of Dick Tracy. It was produced by UPA from 1961to 1962. This cartoon series would be considered culturally inappropriate today. For this one, the 5-minute cartoons would be interspersed with segments featuring local kids with activities that were based on the theme, "crime does not pay." It's unknown the exact dates this weekday installment ran on WTVP/WAND. If you were ever a participant in this series, I would like to include your story here on this site. Please contact me using the form on the Home Page!
ABC Network Shows from
WAND News Reporter/Anchor Jim Clayton, 1967, Courtesy Carol Barnes and WAND
WAND News Director/Anchor Bob Billman, 1965,Courtesy Carol Barnes and WAND
WAND News Director/Anchor Bob Billman, 1966,Courtesy Carol Barnes and WAND
WAND News Reporter/Anchor Jim Clayton, 1967, Courtesy Carol Barnes and WAND
Here is a selection of ABC promos from 1962-1964, all seen on WTVP. It includes "The Tycoon," "Stoney Burke," "The Sunday Night Movie," "The Price is Right" and "The Patty Duke Show."
WAND News Late 1960s
By mid-1966, local newscasts were being listed in time slots that previously were being filled with syndicated programming. The last year of Metromedia ownership eliminated all weekend newscasts and reduced the lengths of other weekday and weeknight newscasts. Now under LIN Broadcasting ownership, the trend was noticeably stopped. As was indicated by the number of ads promoting local news on WAND, a new emphasis on the local news was beginning to take shape. The black and white broadcasts of local news would join those other local stations already broadcasting in color. WICS, WICD, and WCIA had already begun broadcasting their local news in color.
WAND's New RCA Antenna is a Monster
Further information on the subject of the antenna comes from the WJJY-TV website. The WAND antenna along with the antenna of the ill-fated Jacksonville, Illinois station was manufactured by RCA. The WJJY-TV antenna was slightly larger because of a higher power level but wasn’t used until August of 1969. According to the site listed above “to gain such incredibly high power levels, WJJY-TV utilized an experimental antenna manufactured by RCA and only three were ever constructed. Because the station operated on channel 14, the lowest possible UHF frequency, the physical dimensions of the radiator elements were very large making the antenna the most massive ever constructed for the commercial UHF market.” “WAND-TV in Decatur, Illinois purchased the second smaller unit. The third antenna remained unsold and stayed on the ground at the RCA test facility in Camden, New Jersey. No one trusted such a large, heavy antenna. Those fears would later be realized.”
“The complete antenna (for WJJY-TV) was so massive that it had to be manufactured and shipped in three separate sections on three separate tracks. Each part was lifted to the top of the tower individually and stacked by the tower riggers. The average antenna weight for a UHF antenna at that time was between two and nine tons. The RCA “Vee-Zee” panel antenna weighed in at 26-tons, not counting the transmission line, radome covers, and mounting plates.” The story of the antenna for WJJY would come to an end the same weekend as the story of the new antenna for WAND. The story of the tower failure on the day before Easter 1978 is coming later on this site.
Pictured at left is a 1960s picture of the WTVP/WAND studios and broadcast tower. The tower described above would replace the broadcast function of the tower pictured here, Over 60 years later this broadcast tower still stands at the WAND studios, although its only use now is to support the studio-transmitter link microwave antenna.
(picture courtesy of Carol Barnes and WAND)