Aside from actual time capsules, there are no better time capsules than old local TV news clips. The anchors! The music! The fashion! The star wipe graphics! In Milwaukee, WISN’s ancient “Hello Milwaukee” news promo still reigns supreme in the nostalgia department. Still, there are plenty of contenders, especially from WITI—a.k.a. Channel 6, a.k.a. TV-6 before 1995, a.k.a. FOX6 after 1995. Let’s take a look!
Shot on film? Check. Unshakable Anchorman vibe? Check. Milwaukee broadcasting legends like Carl Zimmermann, Tom Hooper, Earl Gillespie, and ALBERT THE ALLEY CAT? You bet. Some weird scenes where Zimmerman gets hit on by a grocery store clerk half his age, and then gets out of a traffic ticket? Yep. Oh, and that song!
Ho. Lee. Shit. This spot from the ’80s gained internet notoriety when it was dug up by the Huffington Post back in 2013. That notoriety is well-deserved. With dramatic camerawork, pulse-pounding music, and FIRE, the ’80’s-era TV-6 crew seems more prepared to take down a despotic dictator in a daring midnight suicide mission than, say, cover a traffic backup on the Zoo Interchange.
By the time 1995 rolled around, TV-6 had ditched its A-Team vibe and was instead promoting itself as a “Friend You Can Count On.” Yawn. Still, this clip boasts an overly urgent voiceover (“More news! More often!”) and a nifty group shot that’s reminiscent of those full-class pictures of the seniors in the opening pages of the yearbook.
Is this autumn-themed spot impossibly cheesy? Cloying and maudlin? Peppered with obvious stock footage? Sure. But dammit, there’s something nice about seeing Milwaukee television personalities actually out and about in Milwaukee. Plus, Ted Perry is putting some serious zip on that ball. This is the place, indeed.