HFR till end of the world confirmed
January 5, 2015 10:51 AM   Subscribe

When CNN launched in 1980, then-owner Ted Turner bragged that the 24-hour cable channel wouldn't sign off until the world ended--and would play "Nearer My God to Thee" when it did. It turns out he wasn't kidding: This Is The Video CNN Will Play When The World Ends
posted by Cash4Lead (83 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
This may just be the last thing that whoever is left sees, watching on whatever device remains, when humanity's last remnant winks out of existence.

Because when the sky is raining comets and the streets are flooding with blood I'll be picking up my iPad 25 and settling down to watch CNN.
posted by billiebee at 10:58 AM on January 5, 2015 [18 favorites]


Unless I'm very much mistaken, that's not just a random clip of a band playing NMGtT, that's a band standing outside the Turner Mansion. Did Ted commission this clip specifically?
posted by deludingmyself at 10:59 AM on January 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


When cable dies, who will sing for thee?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:02 AM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


"World's gonna end, e'erbody. Check out my sweet house. K, later."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:02 AM on January 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Can you imagine watching the end of the world on your beautiful, 4K TV, and suddenly this comes one? You'd know you're well and truly fucked.
posted by Amplify at 11:04 AM on January 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


For some reason this is combining in my head with the couch gag that Don Hertzfeld did for THE SIMPSONS.

Mucinex is a hell of a drug.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:07 AM on January 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


Why the hell is this on Jalopnik?

I would've chosen "What A Wonderful World", personally.
posted by Small Dollar at 11:07 AM on January 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


They make a reference to this in Gremlins 2, with "Clamp" as the stand-in for Ted Turner (with perhaps a dash of Donald Trump)
posted by Greg Nog at 11:10 AM on January 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


This is how the world ends. This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a CNN signoff video.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:10 AM on January 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


My confidence that Ted Turner is behind the Georgia Guidestones just bumped up from Maybe all the way to Absolutely Yes.
posted by theodolite at 11:10 AM on January 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Eerily beautiful.
posted by naju at 11:10 AM on January 5, 2015


"World's gonna end, e'erbody. Check out my sweet house. K, later."

I'm actually not sure if he ever lived in it. It's seen a lot of changes. Tau_ceti used to work in there in the early 2000s, with a bunch of other people crammed into what was once, decades-prior, Ted's old office. At one point the big man himself was in the building for some reason, and popped his head in inquiringly. Everyone looked up, wondering what Mr. Turner wanted. "There still a can in here?" Ted asked.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:11 AM on January 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Because when the sky is raining comets and the streets are flooding with blood I'll be picking up my iPad 25 and settling down to watch CNN.

What else are you going to get up to, really, hunkered down in the rubble, miserably awaiting the inevitable, pitiless snuffing out of your singular yet ultimately meaningless life as the last human alive?

Flappy Bird XVII?
posted by Western Infidels at 11:14 AM on January 5, 2015


This may just be the last thing that whoever is left sees, watching on whatever device remains, when humanity's last remnant winks out of existence.

Oh, it's much more poetic than that. It will also radiate out into space in all directions at the speed of light, the innermost layer of a spherical shell constituting all televised broadcasts in human history. The outermost layer, and the first thing to arrive for analysis by any intelligent civilization that happens to be watching, will be some rinky-dink local news and then the Nazi broadcast of the 1936 Olympics, followed by the WWII dispatches, the atomic bombing of Japan, Cold War nuclear paranoia, and then our resolute refusal as a species to deal with our planet's climate change, capped off, after whatever final, human-stupidity-induced calamity puts an end to it all, by this image of a band playing in front of a rich white guy's house.

They will thank whatever gods they have that we never managed to physically get outside of our solar system. The Voyager probes will be hunted down and terminated with extreme prejudice, just to be safe.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:15 AM on January 5, 2015 [55 favorites]


Only lacking a final James Earl Jones id: "This was CNN."
posted by octobersurprise at 11:16 AM on January 5, 2015 [34 favorites]


Small Dollar: "I would've chosen "What A Wonderful World ,personally."

Me too. Mostly because of that PSA in the 80s or 90s with the crumpling earth poster. It's a shame that I can't find that one on the intertubes (at least easily)...
posted by symbioid at 11:17 AM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Flappy Bird XVII?

Nah, Desert Golfing hole #4,204,332.
posted by bonje at 11:18 AM on January 5, 2015


In other Turner Mansion fun facts, I have it on good authority from an early CNNer that there was a time in the late 80s or early 90s when CNN's editing room was on one floor of the building, and the guys doing World Championship Wrestling were holding bouts one floor up. So you'd be in there editing tape to the backdrop of bodies slamming to the floor overhead and making the whole room shake.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:18 AM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Still not online that I can find, but if this amuses you, you owe it to yourself to find:
The headliners: Are CNN's anchors real or just a fantasy?
Leyner, Mark. Esquire. New York: Aug 1996. Vol. 126, Iss. 2; pg. 76, 1 pgs

It ends: So what happens when the killer asteroid finally arrives and we're all glued to the tube, chomping Cheetos, watching the last seven days of the world as covered by CNN? And the astrophysicists are scribbling circles and arrows on electronic blackboards, confirming that basically--you know, like, as a species--we're outta here, we're history? And the network's graphic designers have garnished the simulcast live feeds with their animated catastrophe logos: the earth's digital clock ticking away in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, or, better yet, a global EEG that gets fatter and fatter as the week progresses?

How will our perky rhapsodists of the apocalypse comport themselves on the air as mankind's final week draws to a close--with professional sangfroid or with an anarchic jettisoning of inhibitions? CNN's day-by-day coverage of earth's final week will be like the cockpit voice recorder--the black box--of civilization. The unfiappable vex media soliloquizing in extremis, chattering away to the very End. God, I almost can't wait.

posted by crush-onastick at 11:20 AM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't Leonard Bernstein be conducting?
posted by davebush at 11:21 AM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I really like this idea. It seems to embody an understanding of the future that is totally gone - that the world will persist sort of as it is today until the very end; that there will be an "end" of the world that is immediate and comprehensible, fast enough to prevent mass rioting but slow enough to allow for news; sort of an elegiac feeling about the end of the world rather than a zombie/rage/chaos feeling; that, at the world's end, people will still look for some kind of authoritative yet evaluative voice. It reminds me of certain types of eighties science fiction.
posted by Frowner at 11:23 AM on January 5, 2015 [29 favorites]


Hmmm. This wasn't the one I was thinking of.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:25 AM on January 5, 2015


Please, it could be raining fire from the sky and CNN would still be interviewing some self-proclaimed expert about what *really* happened to the missing plane.
posted by The Whelk at 11:26 AM on January 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


The outermost layer, and the first thing to arrive for analysis by any intelligent civilization that happens to be watching, will be some rinky-dink local news and then the Nazi broadcast of the 1936 Olympics, followed by the WWII dispatches, the atomic bombing of Japan, Cold War nuclear paranoia, and then our resolute refusal as a species to deal with our planet's climate change, capped off, after whatever final, human-stupidity-induced calamity puts an end to it all, by this image of a band playing in front of a rich white guy's house.

Yeah, but somewhere in the middle of that will be the original Mister Rogers* broadcasts, which will be taken as a divine revelation from beyond the stars, thus creating a bold new blueprint for sentient civilization that will ring in an unending era of cooperation and contentment to all beings on all worlds for all time. Except for us, of course.

* or maybe Pee-Wee's Playhouse
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:28 AM on January 5, 2015 [20 favorites]


In other Turner Mansion fun facts, I have it on good authority from an early CNNer that there was a time in the late 80s or early 90s when CNN's editing room was on one floor of the building, and the guys doing World Championship Wrestling were holding bouts one floor up. So you'd be in there editing tape to the backdrop of bodies slamming to the floor overhead and making the whole room shake.

I work in a (non-CNN) major network news room regularly. My spot is right between two editing rooms and it's not unusual for that to go on. We'll actually be doing some celebrity pap on stage and bleeding thru the walls is like terrible screaming and explosions from Syria while people review raw footage. It gets crazy sometimes.

My other regular job is on a gleeful CNN-bashing show. The stuff that doesn't make the show some days is really, really brutal. But hilarious.
posted by nevercalm at 11:32 AM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


So when the evolutionary decedents of octopuses rise from the oceans, and take their place as the next sentient creatures atop the food chain, they will one day have archaeologists of their own, and at such time, a tentacled arm with wrap around a power lever that they've reconnected to a brine battery, and when they pull it, and this comes on, all the other octoreachers will gather around and stare at the cuttlefish skin screen and watch this with rapt fascination.

One will finally say "So the apes really couldn't get that zooming thing right, huh? I feel like I'm in a tide-pool here, back and forth, back and forth. No wonder they went extinct."

The other will nod their mantles in solemn agreement. Apes were indeed bad zoomers.
posted by quin at 11:33 AM on January 5, 2015 [29 favorites]


CNN may be the human centipede of journalism at this point, its bloated corpse stumbling through the supposed middle ground of the wasteland that is American cable news

A sublimely beautiful description.
posted by stbalbach at 11:35 AM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


A sublimely beautiful description.

Or at least a sublimely accurate description.

I wouldn't call the image it calls to mind "beautiful," exactly.
posted by tempestuoso at 11:41 AM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


So when the evolutionary decedents of octopuses rise from the oceans,

Best typo ever.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:43 AM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


My other regular job is on a gleeful CNN-bashing show.

So.... What's Jon Stewart really like?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:49 AM on January 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


"There still a can in here?" Ted asked.

I have a feeling that Ted Turner has asked some derivation of "Where's the can?" in like 90 percent of the rooms he's ever entered in his life. The man knows what's important.
posted by Etrigan at 11:51 AM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


the wasteland that is American cable news

Um, al-Jazeera America and BBC America and PBS kill it regularly.
posted by nevercalm at 11:52 AM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Small Dollar: "Why the hell is this on Jalopnik?

I would've chosen "What A Wonderful World ", personally.
"

Ahem. We'll Meet Again
posted by Splunge at 12:00 PM on January 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


~~~~~~Spoiler Alert~~~~~~
posted by Cheezitsofcool at 12:06 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


It seems to embody an understanding of the future that is totally gone - that the world will persist sort of as it is today until the very end; that there will be an "end" of the world that is immediate and comprehensible, fast enough to prevent mass rioting but slow enough to allow for news

Considering the time it was made, it would be this.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:07 PM on January 5, 2015


Or maybe "So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish"
posted by Small Dollar at 12:09 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is my skeptical face.
posted by duffell at 12:10 PM on January 5, 2015


I would've chosen "What A Wonderful World ", personally."

Ahem. We'll Meet Again


I think We'll Meet Again is a good choice. Ironic usage of "What a Wonderful World" is way too played out for me. It's a cliche at this point.
posted by zixyer at 12:10 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I work in a (non-CNN) major network news room regularly. My spot is right between two editing rooms and it's not unusual for that to go on. We'll actually be doing some celebrity pap on stage and bleeding thru the walls is like terrible screaming and explosions from Syria while people review raw footage. It gets crazy sometimes.

Ha, fair enough. But just to be clear: they weren't editing upstairs. There were wrestlers upstairs, wrestling.
posted by deludingmyself at 12:11 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The one thing that will make the end of the world slightly less terrifying - upon seeing this video broadcast while I'm slowly starving in my zombie-swarmed bunker - is the knowledge that at least CNN went before I did.
posted by darkstar at 12:11 PM on January 5, 2015


CNN has grown from a small cable upstart to a huge news and media behemoth.

I would choose something more internationally recognized, like "It's a Small World".
posted by FJT at 12:15 PM on January 5, 2015


I'd much rather my family spend their last moment watching CNN than FOX. At the end of time, just as the ash cloud rises and the world shudders out of its orbit, just as the blinding light rises and the wave of million-degree heat moves toward us, FOX will just show a placard that says THANKS, OBAMA.
posted by maxsparber at 12:17 PM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ha, fair enough. But just to be clear: they weren't editing upstairs. There were wrestlers upstairs, wrestling.

That's really not that unusual, actually. I mean the wrestler part is pretty great, but I worked on the soaps back in the day, and on the day we had to film an explosion and fire on a show, Joe Biden was in the studio next door. Or we'd be trying to do a quiet love scene and they'd be rehearsing Kiss across the hall. These buildings are basically warehouse-sized buildings sectioned off into studios, so that sort of incongruity actually isn't that rare.
posted by nevercalm at 12:18 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


IT'S RARE TO ME AND THAT MAKES THE WRESTLING STORY AWESOME TO ME.
posted by maxsparber at 12:20 PM on January 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


I would choose something less US-centric and more internationally recognized, like "It's a Small World".

Disney will continue to suborn Congress till the end of the world, and the intellectual property lawyers will be the last ones to go. "Nearer, My God, to Thee" is public domain.
posted by Shmuel510 at 12:20 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


At the end of the Small World ride, after the umprteenth time hearing that song, you're praying for the world to end.
posted by maxsparber at 12:21 PM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


To be followed by The Quiz Broadcast.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:24 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ahem. We'll Meet Again

"A Day in the Life." If the world must end, let it end in E major.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:25 PM on January 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


I don't have cable, but I'm sure somebody will come up with a hilarious cat gif to mark the occasion online.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:29 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]




Wasn't the last song played on the Titanic Autumn?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:40 PM on January 5, 2015


I seem to recall that the Civil Defense planners had a similar film with Arthur Godfrey conveying a message of hope and patriotism. That would play as the bombs fell.

Seems like the kind of thing that should be in a Fallout game, too.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:00 PM on January 5, 2015


We also know what AskMe will be up to.

I swear I remember someone did a well done parody of what Metafilter would be like during the apocalypse. Googling for it seems impossible. Am I just imagining things?
posted by zixyer at 1:05 PM on January 5, 2015


Posted too soon. Here it is.
posted by zixyer at 1:07 PM on January 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


we'd be trying to do a quiet love scene and they'd be rehearsing Kiss across the hall

This is a sitcom waiting to happen.
posted by SPrintF at 1:10 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Violin played on Titanic revealed for first time

"Within minutes of Titanic striking an iceberg on April 14, 1912, Hartley was instructed to assemble the band and play music in order to maintain calm.

"The eight musicians gallantly performed on the chilly boat deck of the Titanic while the passengers lined up for the lifeboats.

"The band carried on until the bitter end, famously playing a final hymm of 'Nearer, My God, To Thee.' "
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:13 PM on January 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


In the comments of the Telegraph article (I know, never read the comments, but still) a fellow makes a strong case that that is not THE violin.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:20 PM on January 5, 2015


Only the limits of our radio telescopes and other technology prevent us from hearing the final worlds of countless civilizations. Imagine as you stand in the starlight how imperceptible flickers of starlight are calling out we were here. Who will hear the last words of our world. If no one hears us, did we make a sound.
posted by humanfont at 1:23 PM on January 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I guess the question I have is that whenever the ultimate end of Earth and/or human civilization occurs, will CNN even be relevant? Ozymandias, meet your modern day equivalent.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:26 PM on January 5, 2015


This is a sitcom waiting to happen.

I think most people in the business think the most entertaining part of any show is what's not actually on set. I've said many times that we could never do it, but if we could find a way to simulcast the collected headset chatter it would be the biggest thing ever. The show's going on, and the entire crew is just lambasting it in most cases. The producers are isolated from the crew channel, so we're shredding it while they're usually congratulating each other on how amazing it is.
posted by nevercalm at 1:31 PM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I swear I remember someone did a well done parody of what Metafilter would be like during the apocalypse. Googling for it seems impossible. Am I just imagining things?

Posted too soon. Here it is.


That is worthwhile for the reference to White Hen alone. At the end of the world I sure hope I can find a White Hen.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:40 PM on January 5, 2015


This makes me want to start my own 24 hour cable news network so I can play, the instant "Nearer My God" finishes, Ronnie James Dio "Holy Diver."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:42 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


They make a reference to this in Gremlins 2 , with "Clamp" as the stand-in for Ted Turner (with perhaps a dash of Donald Trump)

The first thing I thought of. Goddamn, that's a brilliant movie.
posted by brundlefly at 1:58 PM on January 5, 2015


Soldier Boy

The End of the World

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

There's probably a reason they didn't put me in charge of this.



You know what? This time I'm 100% serious. Stand Tall. It's got the right message.

Stand Tall.
Don't you fall.
Don't you do something you might regret later.
You're feeling it like everyone, it's silly human pri-
posted by RobotHero at 1:59 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


"This is CNN. We are broadcasting from the year 1 ... 9 ... 9 ... 9 ..."
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:06 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]




In the event of the end of the world the BBC had a standing order to play The Sound of Music.

Immanentize the eschaton? Pity.
posted by maudlin at 2:35 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: “"World's gonna end, e'erbody. Check out my sweet house. K, later."”
Yeah, just to confirm, this was never Turner's house. It was kind of a thing for television stations in Atlanta to have a place like this as their headquarters. WSB had "White Columns", Turner wanted a similar place and it became the "Turner Mansion."
posted by ob1quixote at 2:47 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: stumbling through the supposed middle ground of the wasteland.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:28 PM on January 5, 2015


What, no golden retriever puppies frolicking?
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:17 PM on January 5, 2015


Funny stuff.

I was a radio announcer and TV technical director most of my career. We always had all kinds of procedures for disasters/nukes/tornadoes/tsunamis, etc. Whoever was signed on to the log was supposed to run that stuff, turn on the Emergency Broadcast System, various gear, etc.

However!

When a tornado was approaching Oklahoma City one evening--and the weather people I was talking to at the National Severe Storms lab said it was the biggest F5 tornado they'd ever seen and they were all heading to the basement...I was on the 5th floor of a rickety building. Did I stay there and run all the emergency stuff? Nope...I headed for the basement.

Florida Keys: gigantic hurricane approaching. The highest point on our island was 12 feet above mean tide line. The storm surge with an approaching hurricane was 18 feet. Did I stay there? Nope, headed up the Keys to the mainland (after turning on the EBS and leaving the transmitter on).

Funny how all these disaster plans assume some dispatcher/announcer/tech person somewhere is just going to stay around push buttons at the end of the world....
posted by CrowGoat at 4:21 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some of the comments on the Jalopnick article suggest that this video was made during the Cold War, where threat of nuclear annihilation was imminent.
posted by divabat at 4:25 PM on January 5, 2015


At the end of time, just as the ash cloud rises and the world shudders out of its orbit, just as the blinding light rises and the wave of million-degree heat moves toward us, FOX will just show a placard that says THANKS, OBAMA.

Obama will have been dead for 100 years by then but FOX will be blathering about how he's been cryogenically preserved and is periodically reanimated specifically to violate the Constitution and bring about the End Times.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:32 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


New doomsday procedure for the CNN control room: Cakefarts and 2 Girls 1 Cup followed by a Wesley Willis tune of the operators choosing.

I'll be damned if the last gasp of human broadcasting will be a video fished out of a public access dumpster.
posted by dr_dank at 4:38 PM on January 5, 2015


You could play Frankie Goes to Hollywood and get civil defense instructions in the voiceover sample for free.
posted by gimonca at 4:51 PM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Safety Dance by Men without Hats would get my vote.
posted by humanfont at 5:09 PM on January 5, 2015


Holy shit, Whelk, that wiki article is amazing.
posted by davidjmcgee at 5:21 PM on January 5, 2015


Goodbye Goodbye by Oingo Boingo.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:23 PM on January 5, 2015


"Never Gonna Give You Up."

Humanity should go out on a rickroll.
posted by davidjmcgee at 5:26 PM on January 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


a Wesley Willis tune of the operators choosing

OUTBURST
posted by poffin boffin at 6:06 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit: "I seem to recall that the Civil Defense planners had a similar film with Arthur Godfrey conveying a message of hope and patriotism. That would play as the bombs fell. "

Well, maybe.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:55 PM on January 5, 2015


a Wesley Willis tune of the operators choosing

Pray that I am that operator, for such a solemn occasion requires more than a cursory knowledge of Willis' work. Drink That Whiskey and Jesus Is the Answer are right out. They Threw Me Out of Church, I Whupped Batman's Ass, and The Chicken Cow would be irrelevant. I think The Vultures a better fit, as we all would, then, be the dead deer, lamenting -- or possibly just observing -- that "the vultures ate [our] dead ass up". Though, I suppose Blood, Guts, and Firetrucks could also complement the situation well.

Rock over London! Rock on, Chicago! Mitsubishi: the word is getting around!
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:06 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well great, NOW if I ever see this clip come on TV for any reason, I'm going to mess myself like the lady from 'Threads'.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:26 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


« Older The Dignity of Risk   |   60 Years of Urban Change Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments