Video Vault: Lighting Cleveland's Care Bear Square

The Care Bears were an 80s phenomenon

CLEVELAND - In the mid 1980s, Public Square became Care Bears Square for the holidays.

The Care Bears have a Cleveland connection as they were created by our own American Greetings in 1981. The Care Bears would go on to TV specials, TV series and their own movies by the time the decade was over.

The video in our player is from the lighting of Public Square from 1985.

WEWS anchor Ted Henry tosses to reporter Lou Maglio. Lou's live report in the 6 p.m. newscast occurs after the lights have been turned on, not an uncommon occurrence for those of us here at WEWS.

For years, through a series of odd circumstances, we missed televising the actually lighting. Most often we missed it because the folks turning on the lights did it while we were in a commercial break.

But one year, news management went to extraordinary measures to make sure we showed the lighting live - only to have it backfire yet again.

We arranged it with the organizers to wait until after a commercial break and we would cue the emcee to begin the countdown.

All was going as planned, the commercial break ended, we cued the emcee, the live camera was showing the soon-to-be-lit- display, the countdown 10, 9, 8, 7 and then screams of "Noooo!" from the WEWS control room.

The cameraman shooting the live shot zoomed in to the switched being thrown to light the Square instead of staying with the lights.

3,2,1 and on live TV we were showing a switch instead of the lights. To make matters worse, the switch was a dummy, a phony to make it look like the mayor was lighting the lights, but in reality, a worker from Muni Light was throwing a breaker elsewhere on the Square.

In years to come, we would get it right but the story of the switch lives on.

I've also added a second clip of some silent footage of Care Bears Square after Lou's live shot. One display not here is the Care Bears carousel on the Square's northeast quadrant.

The dancing Care Bear laser show was so hi-tech for its day.


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