Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bob Crane and the WICC-TV Family - See Us on Channel 43 (Bridgeport, CT)

Although we have already posted about WICC-TV (Channel 43) in the past, when new, remarkable pieces of WICC history are discovered, we naturally love to talk about it. And so is the case with the The Sunday Herald, a weekly newspaper that featured local stories about Connecticut, including Bridgeport, Stamford, and the surrounding towns.

The WICC-TV Family. Bob Crane is in the center back row, standing.
Morgan Kaolian is standing, third from left. Wallie Dunlap is
seated, third from left. Next to him, seated in the center, is
WICC General Manager Philip Merryman.

In the March 1, 1953, edition (beginning on page 90), the new UHF station WICC-TV Channel 43 was featured in a lengthy, sixteen-page supplement. It is packed to the brim with WICC history - from the birth of the radio station on August 2, 1926; to its on-air personalities and behind-the-scenes staff; to its takeover in January 1952 by WLIZ (the dominant WICC call letters remained, but WLIZ staff took control); to March 15, 1953, when WICC launched Channel 43 as Connecticut's third television station and the first in Fairfield County.

Page 1 of the supplement to the March 1, 1953,
edition of The Sunday Herald.
Design by Morgan Kaolian.
WICC was way ahead of its time. In fact, ti was so far ahead of its time that it left John Q. Public in the dust. Despite its noble efforts of trying to get the fledging station off the ground, it failed miserably - not for lack of talent, but rather, because the average person in 1953 just did not have the means or the desire to purchase the extra equipment necessary to receive the UHF programming. As the story goes, Bob Crane once told viewers he would give away $100 to the first person who called - and because nobody was watching, nobody did. 

Yet, the radio-turned-television entertainers that included Bob Crane, Morgan Kaolian, and many others reveled in the new medium, enjoying the novelty of it as well as the ability to utilize it as a learning platform for grander venues down the road. 

Whether your interest is in Bob Crane, WICC, radio, or Connecticut - or all of the above! - we think you'll enjoy perusing the pages of this historic document, rich with information and overflowing with photographs from the Golden Age of Radio and Television. It is a treasure not to be missed.

(Connecticut residents - Do you have a copy of this supplement? Let us know! We'd love to add it to our WICC/Bob Crane archives!)