Join 3,374 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


T.V. Pirates! Arrrrr!
January 24, 2007 8:14 PM   Subscribe

On November 22nd 1987, sports anchor Dan Roan of Chicago's WGN-TV News Network was narrating the video of the day's football highlights when something highly unusual happened. The pictures on the station monitors in the studio suddenly began to jitter and twitch. And that was just the beginning. Two hour later, it happened a second time (View clip here) [via KUR]
posted by KevinSkomsvold (46 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Related
posted by tellurian at 8:21 PM on January 24, 2007


another hacker hijacks this another hacker hijacks that...
posted by foot at 8:24 PM on January 24, 2007


MY EYES THE GOOGLES DO NOTHING
posted by foot at 8:25 PM on January 24, 2007


very interesting.
posted by pruner at 8:25 PM on January 24, 2007


It's the best teevee I have ever seen.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:39 PM on January 24, 2007


And who can forget Captain Midnight?
posted by The Deej at 8:43 PM on January 24, 2007


Not just very interesting.

Damn interesting, I daresay.
posted by flarbuse at 8:44 PM on January 24, 2007


that was quite fucked up.
posted by strawberryviagra at 8:45 PM on January 24, 2007


Nahh, it's too soft. I want something... tough.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:48 PM on January 24, 2007


Since this happened in 1987, why is it posted in 2006?
posted by Goofyy at 8:54 PM on January 24, 2007


Fascinating. Thanks for the link.
posted by louie at 8:56 PM on January 24, 2007


"Since this happened in 1987, why is it posted in 2006?"

Metafilter wasn't around then, duh.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:02 PM on January 24, 2007


Since this happened in 1987, why is it posted in 2006?
posted by Goofyy at 8:54 PM PST


Yeah, and the post below this begins "..complete, searchable transcriptions of the 1563, 1570, 1576, and 1583 editions..."

1563? WTF?
posted by vacapinta at 9:06 PM on January 24, 2007


And who can forget Captain Midnight?

I remember I was watching "The Falcon and the Snowman" in a hotel room in Newton, MA when the Captain Midnight hack suddenly interrupted the movie. I just thought it was so cool that someone could actually do that. Then I got annoyed 'cause it was interrupting my movie.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:16 PM on January 24, 2007


Unless I've somehow stumbled across a time machine that involves an ibook and a fourty of bud, this ain't even 2006.


On topic:

I lament that the ubiquity of networked computers seems to have left other more effort intensive forms of hacking by the wayside. That shit is well fucking nutty and must have left the primitive minds of 1987 totally befuddled. Awesome.

I hope make magazine and the like are heralds of the perversion of other forms of media coming back into fashion.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:23 PM on January 24, 2007


I'd also like to say:

Viewers were dumped back into the pedestrian world of Doctor Who as though the bizarre buttocks-swatting incident had never happened.

God speed the day when Doctor Who is back, this bizarre buttocks-swatting has gone on for far too long for your humble correspondent.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:28 PM on January 24, 2007


Seriously, this hasn't made it to Metafilter already? It's definitely been on the net for at least 10 years.

This is pretty much legend in Chicago. I remember seeing this when it originally aired (for the second time). It was very surreal.

I kind of wish there was more deliberate purpose to it though.
posted by o0o0o at 9:33 PM on January 24, 2007



Great work. Wish it happened more often.
Reminds me of some of the Freak Juice clip on Radiohead's The Greatest Lying Mouth of All Time.
posted by bukharin at 9:44 PM on January 24, 2007


Is the first interruption posted aywhere, or did I just miss it?
posted by conch soup at 9:44 PM on January 24, 2007


Good Lord. I am a child of the eighties. I still think Max Headroom is cool and Tom Baker is my one and only Doctor.

...And a message for Hollywood...

Start making movies modeled on failed television shows from twenty years ago. The concepts are ripe. Pick them.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 10:11 PM on January 24, 2007


ZenMasterThis: The Falcon and the Snowman is a pretty shite movie all in all. I seem to recall it starring Sean Penn's distended stomach.

SinisterPurpose: Aside from the recent doctors being better than everyone since Tom Baker, I am still waiting for the goddamn Sapphire and Steel movie.
posted by Sparx at 10:42 PM on January 24, 2007


If someone would just do this with a certain 30 seconds of footage from The Ring, we'd have the best Superbowl EVER.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:49 PM on January 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is the first interruption posted aywhere, or did I just miss it?

This CBS News video has it.
posted by daninnj at 10:52 PM on January 24, 2007


I'm usually a law-and-order type guy, but I have to admit being secretly glad when pranksters get away with stuff like this. Small mysteries keep life amusing.

Start making movies modeled on failed television shows from twenty years ago.

"Linda Hamilton returns to the big screen in Beauty and the Beast."
posted by cribcage at 11:32 PM on January 24, 2007


"Linda Hamilton returns to the big screen in Beauty and the Beast."

Okay. Anything with more than 2 seasons is not failed. And if they did it, it'd be Heather Graham. Still Ron Perlman however.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 11:54 PM on January 24, 2007


Since this happened in 1987, why is it posted in 2006?

It was also posted when it happened, this post's a repeat. Here's the original.
posted by blm at 12:45 AM on January 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can just see some Bears fan back in '87 getting upset about his highlights being disrupted:
What da..? Aw jeez, dere's sumptin wrong wit da TV dere, guy. What da hell is dis crap? Aww Christ! Hey Hon, bring me anutter Old Style outta da fridge!
posted by chillmost at 1:30 AM on January 25, 2007


I am stunned to be the first to point out that it is actually 2007, which makes this the 20th anniversary of the incident.

Well, technically, it's not the anniversary until November, but it's still 2007. Not 2006.
posted by jeffmshaw at 2:07 AM on January 25, 2007


I'm sorry, but you have to preface everything referring to WGN with the phrase Chicago's very own. And whenever an old movie comes on, my brain inserts this commercial. It's a pavlovian response.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:33 AM on January 25, 2007


When did it become 2007? Did I sleep that long? Damn! You know, retirement is like that. You'll find out, if you're lucky.

And I wasn't dissing the post, rather, I was wondering if I msised some significance. It's cool and all, no doubt. Especially with Max Headroom, a show I liked (except for the assy over-use of under-lighting)
posted by Goofyy at 4:06 AM on January 25, 2007


Captain Midnight...

Oh, yeah. I was sicker'n hell that night, and I figured I was just hallucinating along with the fever and bronchitis.
posted by pax digita at 4:25 AM on January 25, 2007


"We've got over ten jillion cars down here - every one a best deal like that!"
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:52 AM on January 25, 2007


"I am stunned to be the first to point out that it is actually 2007"

Except you're not the first, so no cookie for you.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:44 AM on January 25, 2007


Ha the guy made fun of Chuck Swirsky. total cheesy-voice radio sportscaster I could not stand in the 1980s. His name is also the inspiration for the Superfans guy.

Oh and--GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Ironmouth at 7:22 AM on January 25, 2007


Start making movies modeled on failed television shows from twenty years ago.

Done. Turns out the movie was decent but not as good as the original show.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:17 AM on January 25, 2007


Am I weird if I wished someone would do this 5 years ago only with V from V for Vendetta? (I say 5 years ago because it wasn't a movie yet and so not everyone would've known what to think)
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 10:32 AM on January 25, 2007


Did the Max Headroom guy off himself? Or was that the guy from SNL...or are they the same guy? If they're not, they really shouldn't be in show business if they're going to look so similar.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:01 AM on January 25, 2007


Anybody notice that he says "Catch the wave" (which was the slogan for New Coke in 1987)? However, he holds up a Pepsi can while saying it. heh
posted by spock at 11:19 AM on January 25, 2007


Did the Max Headroom guy off himself?

No, Matt Frewer is alive and still acting.

Or was that the guy from SNL

I have no idea who you're talking about here. The only SNL cast member I can think of who might be confused with Matt Frewer is Chris Elliott, who is also alive and still acting.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:51 AM on January 25, 2007


*heh* If I were watching Doctor Who and the came on, I wouldn't be able to stop myself from grinning ear to ear. I too am generally your basic law and order kinda of guy, but stuff like this is great to me. Frankly, I'd rather see this than graffiti for example. Fleeting moments of random, harmless bizarre behavior? I somehow think the Doctor would approve. :)
posted by smallerdemon at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2007


I have no idea who you're talking about here.

Ah, a little looking, and it was Charles Rocket that makes me think of Max Headroom all the time.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:02 PM on January 25, 2007


That was Damn Interesting.
posted by vronsky at 1:14 PM on January 25, 2007


my brain inserts this commercial.

I thought it was going to be Victory Auto Wreckers that you'd linked to. I plundered many a part back in the day...

Also: WGN and WTTW studios are surprisingly close together; one is adjacent to Northeastern Illinois University, and one is a short hop from Lane Technical High School (I know this, because I attended both institutions. This hack was before my time at UNI, but there was a radio station there (still is, actually) called WZRD -- "The Wizard" -- specializing (at the time) in counterculture activities. It would not surprise me in the slightest if it turned out to be a small group of Wizards -- including whomever handled transmitter operations, 'natch -- were responsible for this.

More proud of my time as a Wizard than my time as a student of UNI
posted by davejay at 1:37 PM on January 25, 2007


I remember when this happened. I wasn't watching Dr. Who or the newscast at the time (I was only 10) but it was replayed repeatedly over the following weeks. There was much speculation about who was responsible and people are still trying to figure it out.

A few years ago, I worked with a guy who did interactive installations for Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications (I'll not link it as it's not all that great of a place to visit). Somehow, we got to talking about the Max Headroom incident. Given his technical acumen he knew all sorts of details about how it was done.

In fact, he seemed so knowledgeable, I asked him if he actually knew the people responsible - at which point he got all evasive. Perhaps he was just trying to be cool, but I got the impression that he knew far more than he was letting on.

In any event, it's amazing that the secret has held for 20 years. Hijacking a TV signal probably involves at least a handful of people working together - amazing that no one has spilled the beans as yet.
posted by aladfar at 1:38 PM on January 25, 2007


I thought it was going to be Victory Auto Wreckers that you'd linked to. I plundered many a part back in the day...

Gaaahhh! I grew up 11 blocks due west of Victory. Forgot all about that one.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:34 AM on January 26, 2007


Or was that the guy from SNL

I have no idea who you're talking about here. The only SNL cast member I can think of who might be confused with Matt Frewer is Chris Elliott, who is also alive and still acting.


Phil Hartman, maybe?
posted by tristeza at 12:02 PM on January 26, 2007


« Older John Foxe's Book of Martyrs...  |  2000 pigs sacrifice to the dei... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments