KTLA Channel 5, Los Angeles CA
Sign-Off recorded sometime in 1972

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Graphics, design and description copyright 2018 by J. Alan Wall. All rights reserved.

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Featured here is among the oldest video recordings of a U.S. television station sign-off currently available online. It's one from KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles, the first commercially-licensed TV station west of the Mississippi River. This beautifully-made piece features views of KTLA's transmitter tower, a lone camerasitting in the studio, and KTLA's helicopter flying over the city. Also featured is a display of a gold medallion in commemoration of KTLA's twenty-fifth anniversary. The patriotic film that follows is a KTLA production featuring helicopter views of Greater Los Angeles and the surrounding region, set to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's rendition of "This Is My Country". Unfortunately, the first ten seconds or so of the sign-off is missing.

KTLA's roots goes back to 1942 when Paramount Pictures launched experimental TV station W6XYZ Channel 4. On 22 January 1947 W6XYZ commenced commercial operations as KTLA Channel 5 with a star-studded inaugural telecast hosted by Bob Hope. KTLA was the West Coast flagship station of Paramount's film-based TV network (1948-1955). In the mid-1950s, Paramount acquired the historic Warner Brothers studio at 5800 Sunset Boulevard as a new home for KTLA (Channel 5 still resides in this national landmark today). Singer/actor Gene Autry bought Channel 5 from Paramount in 1964 and merged it with his other broadcast outlets under the name Golden West Broadcasters (this sign-off clip is from the GWB period). In the 1970s KTLA became one of America's first cable superstations, though seen mostly in the wester U.S.. KTLA was purchased by Chicago-based Tribune Broadcasting in 1985 for $510 million, a record amount paid for a TV station at the time. As of this writing (January 2018), Tribune Media is to be acquired by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, pending final approval by the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Anti-trust Division.

The video comes from the YouTube channel of Rick Thomas, which features vintage videotape recordings of 1970s-era programming taken from Los Angeles TV stations.

RELATED VIDEO: KTLA Channel 5 "Sign-on" from 2 April 2006

Page edited Saturday, 7 April 2018

NOTE: The video files featured on this website are taken from my VHS home recordings of over-the-air and cable video captures, clips contributed by others and clips downloaded from YouTube and similar sites. The quality varies from clip to clip, due to TV reception and recording issues. None of the clips that are featured here have been authorized by the various television stations, networks or any other entity.