Friday, November 28, 2014

How We Celebrated Thanksgiving in New York!

Forget turkeys!  We had GIANT APES and REPTILES to deal with!  

Courtesy of Keith Crocker, please take THIS LINK to learn (or, if you're one of the fortunate ones, recall) just how great it was!  

"King Kong", on the above-pictured Blu-ray, has a running time of 01:44:25 including an opening  overture that lasted four minutes and fifteen seconds!  If Channel 9 showed it in TWO HOURS with commercials (CRAZY EDDIE RULED!), they sure cut out a lot!  I did notice more graphic violence and set up bits than I recall from those days.  But it's funny, how our recollections tend to vary!

WOR TV Channel 9 was unique among New York TV stations because it seemed to have only two staples - old movies and the New York Mets!  It didn't run a lot of off-network shows, like Ch 5 (WNEW) and 11 (WPIX).  Though, it did run two of my favorites; THE WILD WILD WEST (briefly about 1971) and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1976 to about 1982, when they were finally running it at 5:30 AM!)

Starting in 1979, and into the mid-eighties, Channel 9 was also the home of THE BENNY HILL SHOW!  Unlike its competitors, it also almost never ran cartoons!  

The films "Ginga Din" and John Wayne's "The War Wagon", in particular, seemed to turn up almost once a month!  That was okay, though, because they're both enjoyable films!   

You could say Channel 9 had a unique "personality" all its own, among New York television stations!

Finally, I not only agree with that final paragraph on the more recent state of TV.  I've probably said or written pretty much those very same words!  

Now, of course, we can spend the holidays with King Kong and Godzilla via our many home video options.  The prints are better, uncut and have no commercial interruptions.  But, it's sure nice to look back on those glory days of Kong, 'Zilla, and WOR TV Channel 9! 


joecab said...

I remember watching Mighty Joe Young on WOR on Thanksgiving more than any of the other movie monsters.

That station was great: they had Gigantor! And the Avengers! And of course our local flavor of Romper Room with Miss Louise. Later on they had local kids' show Steampipe Alley with Mario Cantone just starting out his career.

Joe Torcivia said...

Yes, indeed, JoeC… WOR Channel 9 was quite unique among local TV stations, even when they ALL had their own distinctive “personalities”.

That was a type of individuality that simply does not exist in television anymore. Alas. It certainly was fun while it lasted.

And, whenever I see Mario Cantone on SEX AND THE CITY (…er, that is to say when ESTHER watches it, and I er… just kinda walk through the room… on the way to watch FOOTBALL… Yeah! That’s it!), I do recall he was on good old Channel 9.

Mark Lungo said...

I first saw The Outer Limits on WOR while it was a cable "superstation" in the 80s.

Joe Torcivia said...


I tend to forget that WOR was a superstation, like WGN, since it was always a “local” to me! But, yes, its influence spread far and wide!

TC said...

I first saw Doctor Who on WOR when it was a cable station ca. 1980.

Joe Torcivia said...

Yes, there’s another thing I tend to forget, TC!

My greater memories of Doctor Who were from PBS stations like WLIW (Long Island) and NJN (New Jersey)… but YEAH!

It’s great when stuff like this comes back at me! Thank you!

scarecrow33 said...

Best movie memory of Thanksgiving for me:

Thanksgiving 1984--my first year in California, my first year of having cable TV. Station WTBS from Atlanta (Turner-owned) at 10:00 AM broadcast the movie "The Man Called Flintstone" and I was at the ready with a fresh VHS tape. You see, I had NEVER seen that movie since its 1966 release, despite years of trying to locate it.

It did not disappoint! I was delighted from the get-go with the Columbia logo featuring Wilma, and the catchy theme song that played over the opening credits. Then the opening shot of the semi-realistic dinosaurs and the elaborate backgrounds, and I was hooked. I did think it was Fred at the beginning, which is of course what the audience is expected to think. From that point, I was hooked. I kept thinking "This should play on a double bill with a James Bond movie!" I still think that would be a good idea.

I taped the movie so that I could watch it over and over, which of course I did.

Glad you enjoyed the original "King Kong" which is definitely better than any of the attempts which have followed. I have fond memories of my first time watching that one, also. (It was right around the same period in my life as the above experience.) Awesome to have special movies that we can associate with Thanksgiving!

Joe Torcivia said...

Great memories, Scarecrow!

"The Man Called Flintstone" may have never played on a double bill with a James Bond movie, but I’ll tell you what it DID play with – a Three Stooges short (the one where they go to a mountain cabin to calm Moe’s jangled nerves, and encounter a bear). At least, when I saw it in first release. I guess Hanna-Barbera was still somehow affiliated with Columbia Pictures at that time.

Also, unlike with you, there were no surprises because the "Man Called Flintstone" comic book adaption appeared in August, 1966, and the film came after that. So, I actually knew it as a COMIC first. The comic was THE FLINTSTONES # 36 (Cover Date: October, 1966), and I got that in the same purchase as PHANTOM BLOT # 7 , the final issue of that series! THAT was twenty-four cents WELL SPENT! Amazing the stuff that never leaves your memory banks!

As for "King Kong", it was definitely TV that formed the bond between Giant Ape and Turkey Day! And, to bring it full circle, it was Keith Crocker (who provided the link that I built this post around) in his Horror and Sci-Fi Film Appreciation Society who will be presenting "King Kong" THIS VERY NIGHT, as part of his series on films we associate with the holidays! When he announced this series, the very first film I thought of was "King Kong".

…So, I’ll be getting another serving of "Kong" along with my turkey leftovers!