Video Vault: Cleveland TV 'Right Before Your Eyes' in 1953; WEWS celebrates 65th anniversary

1953 film showcased NE Ohio TV

CLEVELAND - Editor's note: This story is coming to you on the 65th anniversary of WEWS' sign-on date -- Dec. 17, 1947.

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“Right Before Your Eyes” was a 20-minute documentary WEWS aired in October 1953.

It was a chronicle of television in northeast Ohio during the new medium’s infancy.

The man who was once general manager of WEWS and later headed our parent company -- then known as Scripps-Howard Broadcasting -- Don Perris wrote and directed it.

"Right Before Your Eyes" offers a rare glimpse of northeast Ohio from the 1940s and 1950s and I’ve divided it into two parts in our video player.

Early film of WKBN and WFMJ in Youngstown programs and WAKR in Akron is included.

Much has changed since 1953. WFMJ moved down the dial from channel 73 and WAKR moved from channel 49 to 23.

WICA TV in Ashtabula is shown. I have to admit, I don’t remember this station. The fine folks at Cleveland Classic Media wrote a story on Ashtabula’s channel 15, which you can read by clicking here: http://on.wews.com/U3odTw . According to their story, the station had an on ‘again off, off again’ history eventually going "dark" in 1967.

Channel 23 is now WAKC in Akron but in 1953, WMAC channel 23 was licensed to Massillon-Canton. Shots of downtown Massillon and the what-was-hoped-to-be future home of channel 23 is shown.

Part two of the documentary begins in Cleveland’s Public Square. Footage begins with the information that in 1953, 9 out of 10 Cleveland homes have TV receivers.

With WEWS having been Cleveland’s first TV station, new stations were being planned. WHK-TV was to be on channel 19 to go along with their WHK-AM station. It would take 30 more years for that station to go on the air as WOIO.

Another Cleveland radio station, WERE, planned to open WERE-TV on channel 65, that never materialized.

WKYC, then known as WNBK, is shown with news anchor Tom Field giving Clevelanders information. Field would later host WEWS newscasts.

With the FCC granting Cleveland’s three TV station’s to broadcast with more power, WNBK was building a new transmitting facility, they were to move from channel 4 to channel 3 shortly.

WJW channel 8 began as WXEL channel 9 and what a hoot to see their marquee in front of their Playhouse Square facility.

According to the documentary, they WXEL produced programs not only from their Playhouse square studios but from their Parma transmitter site as well.

We here at WEWS were still broadcasting from our studios shown in the film on East 13th. The move to our current East 30th studios was three years away.

Paiger Palmer’s exercise show, a WEWS college credit TV course and a Dorothy Fuldheim segment, are shown.

Our East 13th studios were home to many entertainment and variety shows.

Enjoy this rare look inside northeast Ohio’s TV stations current, moved, changed and extinct.

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