Why did television stations used to sign off in the wee morning hours? Couldn’t they get anyone to work the overnight shift? Aren’t TV stations supposed to be like hotels–they never close? At least the sign offs were dramatic and interesting. Dig the above 1970 sign-off from KHJ-TV, Channel 9, in Los Angeles. We get a slew of commercials for crap food and Alfred Hitchcock shilling for the Universal Studios Tour before being treated to a truly lovely segment in which a Native American recites the Lord’s Prayer in sign language. Things get awfully patriotic after that, with the flag superimposed over crashing waves and the like. After that I imagine things finally went truly dark. The energy and inventiveness that went into this sign-off could certainly have been re-directed into keeping the station on the air. And was the morning ‘sign-on’ equally as dramatic? That’s something we’ll have to address tomorrow…


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