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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Twist Of Fate In '88

(Note: All TV news blooper reels contain profanity, so you might want to wait until the kids and the boss are out of the room to click the arrow.)

This was the end of the innocence.

The 1988 news blooper reel (above) would be shown at the WCIX Christmas party, just three weeks shy of one of the biggest changes in Miami TV news history. CBS was about to take over, transforming our humble newsroom from an independent operation to a network-owned news machine. The bar was being raised like a drawbridge over the Miami River, meaning lots of new faces coming in… and lots of old friends saying Sayonara.

In some ways, this is a bittersweet 8 1/2 minutes of tape. I think it’s hilarious, but I also feel a little sadness for the Mike Bradleys and Jennifer Rehms that were soon forced to look for work elsewhere. THEE Ten O’Clock News was about to become just a memory, as new producers Brian Jones and Zahir Sachedina, and new reporters such as Al Sunshine, ushered in our brand new evening newscasts, with the prime time show (produced by Caryn Brooks) moving to 11PM. Soon Ten O’Clock would belong to WSVN, which was losing its NBC affiliation… and still developing its future flash and trash philosophy. Did I say things were changing? In the words of David Bowie, turn and face the strange!

Look for director Jim Lawrence, Bryan Glazer, Jim Dyer, Barbara Sloan, R.J. Heim, Dave Game, Jennifer Rehm, Beverly Counts Rodrigues, Solon Gray’s nose, John Turchin, Ed Berliner, Ken Ober (MTV), Mike “OK” Bradley, Ralph Murciano, and John Deutzman on here. You’ll also see memorable cameos from Dade County Commissioner Beverly Phillips and former Immigration & Nationalization Service honcho Perry Rivkind.

A few notes about this tape:

1) Jim Lawrence is goofing on the fact that we were being forced to call the show “THEEE” Ten O’Clock News, as though it was something biblical. All pray to the mighty teleprompter!

2) Reporter Bryan Glazer wasn’t just having a bad day. He tended to lose his cool quite often, though usually not to this extent.

3) There is a mix of live TV, and behind-the-scenes bloopers on here. Obviously, Jim Dyer’s “quack sweep” and Ed Berliner mooning John Turchin, never made it to air.

4) The idea to have our interns do the watusi came from a record I’d just purchased at a Goodwill store (for a dime). After looking at the label for New Interns Watusi, I thought it would be fun to have the NEWS interns watusi. I recognize Pam Suchman, but can’t recall any of the other names. These were some of the best interns we ever had – and good sports, too. (Some past Channel 6 interns included future success stories Steve Boyer, Jeffrey Liebman, and Shannon High-Bassalik.)

(Click image to view full size)

5) MTV’s Remote Control seemed just made for our blooper reel – especially considering all the Channel 6 references, and the fact that the host was named Ober!

6) Note to Jennifer Rehm: it’s not spelled Boyo!

7) Thanks for showing me your… umm… cat, Jennifer!

8) The tape of Beverly Phillips trying to walk a straight line became a newsroom classic that year. Phillips, a Metro-Dade Commissioner, had been stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence. Brian Wilson’s “Walking The Line” provided the perfect soundtrack.

9) Mike Bradley is not a bimbo, he’s a weatherman!

10) Dave Game combing his hair, live on the air, might have seemed funny on a blooper reel… but at the time it was a major deal for everyone involved with that newscast (myself included). News director Larry Wallenstein’s memo is a reminder that behind every blooper is a mistake that affected hours and hours of hard work by dozens of people. Hey, there are no do-overs in live TV. Might as well laugh at ourselves!

(Click image to view full size)

11) Perry Rivkind of the INS was the coolest bureaucrat in South Florida. Here he’s encouraging us to vote “yes” on bringing in a union to represent certain segments of the news and engineering departments. In the end, we said no to IBEW Local 349, but until that happened, management was really running scared.

12) Lyn-rid Skyn-rid? That dog won’t hunt. That bird ain’t free.

This would be the last news blooper reel that I would produce or co-produce. After moving to the special projects unit, I (temporarily) had less contact with the daily newscast grind, and handed the blooper mantle to others. But it was lots of fun to handle that portion of our skit reels for six years (with help from Mike Medrano, R.J. Heim, Bill Retherford, and many others). Still to come: the 1986 and 1987 news blooper reels. I don’t seem to have 1984, so if anyone can help with that one, I’d really appreciate it.

See you later on THEEE Say Six! blog.

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