As we celebrate our 65th anniversary, we pulled this clip from our vaults... during the 40th year celebration, our main anchors and former general manager revealed their predictions for the future of WMC-T. More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:28 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:28:06 GMT
(WMC) - All but two of the more than 30 teen who escaped a juvenile detention center in early September have been captured. A Mid-South woman, who asked us not to use her name, says her 17-year-old sonMore >>
All but two of the more than 30 teen who escaped a juvenile detention center in early September have been captured.More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:10 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:10:32 GMT
(WMC) - A man rescued from his sinking car in DeSoto County flood waters thanked the Horn Lake firefighter who saved his life. Only on WMC Action News 5, hear his terrifying story and find out why he couldMore >>
A man rescued from his sinking car in DeSoto County flood waters thanked the Horn Lake firefighter who saved his life.More >>
MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC-TV) - The WMC-TV5 journey began 65 years ago at the site where you can now find First Tennessee Bank on Madison Avenue and Third Street. It is the former site of an elegant building called the Goodwyn Institute, which is also the first home of WMC-TV.
In the 1960s, when just about everybody had a TV, a snappy station identification with a boat whistle aired, kicking off each newscast. But the call letters WMCT began to glow from screens when the entire Mid-South only had an estimated 1,400 TV sets.
It was 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, 1948, when WMC-TV5's first general manager, Henry Slavick, welcomed our audience.
"I had to make a speech and introduce these people. I was shaking like a leaf of course," he said.
For the next 4.5 hours, Tennessee's first TV station presented Jack Pennington and his Juniper Junction Varieties Gang, a game of charades between coeds from Rhodes College and Memphis State, Slim Rhodes and his Mountaineers, a cooking demonstration, and a full length movie, "The Black Doll".
The old Memphis-Arkansas Bridge, which now carries I-55 across the Mississippi, had not been completed yet when WMCT made its debut.
It would be a full five years before another Memphis TV station would hit the air.
The TV pioneers at WMC had to create all their own local programs live on the air.
A piano player named Berl Olswanger hosted a show each afternoon with his friends. They called it "The Olswingers".
More cooking demonstrations were aired on "The Homemakers" program and studio audiences cheered "The Channel Five Club" with Bob Smith. Handy Theatre was said to be the first all black TV show in America.
And even 65 years ago, live wrestling from Ellis Auditorium was one of the station's most popular programs. Channel 5 could do that from the start because the station had the only remote TV truck in the south.
Each evening at dinnertime, "Evening Serenade" would air as the station's own six piece string ensemble played live.
"Each evening, five times a week, 6 p.m. to 6:30, unsponsored, a string music "Evening Serenade" by which people could eat their dinner peacefully," said Slavick. "I was very proud of that show. It was very costly."
WMCT became an affiliate with NBC, but in the early years, being the only station in the Mid-South, we aired programs from all of the networks: NBC, ABC, CBS and the now defunct DuMont Television Network.
WMCT presented news, anchored for years by Dick Hawley, who also presented weather reports and commercials.
"We did live commercials, weather shows, I even did some wrestling shows way back in the old days," said Hawley.
Standard Oil selected Hawley to be "Your Esso Reporter" and the news was gathered by our forerunners who shot, developed, spliced and presented film reports on train derailments, city commission meetings, and even perhaps the only surviving sound pictures with E-H "Boss" Crump interviewed by a young Trent Wood.
WMCT moved to 1960 Union in 1958 and became the first Memphis station to broadcast in color. It was home to a memorable Children's Show called "Looney Zoo" with Trent Wood and "Tiny the Clown", played by Rhodes College Professor Ray Hill.
"I did the puppets, too," said Ray Hill. "There was Ima Emu, Puppy Dog, Poindexter, and Rasputin, and Ex-Murgatroid Mouse."
In the 1960s, WMCT was first to welcome African-Americans to share views on a regular public affairs program called "The 40 Percent Speak".
"We are 12 percent of America, 40 percent of Memphis, and we have something to say," said Ben Hooks.
Airing that program prompted opponents of the Civil Rights Movement to call in bomb threats to WMCT on a regular basis.
Yet, our station persevered broadcasting the program and covering the Civil Rights Movement.
Our camera recorded the speech now enshrined in American history: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the eve of his assassination.
Many adults now in their 50s and 60s recall visiting WMC to be in the audience for "Magicland".
Host Dick Williams holds the Guinness Book of World Records mark for longest running magic show in American television history.
August 16, 1977, Action News 5 broke the story that stunned the world: Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, was found dead at Graceland mansion.
"Elvis was pronounced dead at Baptist Memorial Hospital this afternoon," reported Mason Granger.
WMC covered Elvis' funeral live, even as journalists the world over beat a path to our door. But WMC did not even have a door. Crews were relocated to a trailer in the parking lot after the station caught fire in June 1977. The fire was sparked by newspapers left on top of radio scanners.
Rebuilt, WMC was the first local station to present a broadcast live via satellite.
Action News 5 was also the first to give you an eye in the sky, presenting news live from our own news chopper. An investment was also made in a satellite truck that can go live on location anywhere news breaks in the Mid-South or beyond.
WMC-TV5 embraced the digital era as first local TV station with a website, WMCTV.COM, as well as its cousins, the news and weather apps you can access from your smartphone or tablet.
Action News 5 was even the first local station to have its own Facebook page, and the first to zoom to 100,000 "likes" from viewers we have grown to love for 6.5 decades now.
The television pioneers who founded WMC-TV5 would be stunned by the advance of technology.
Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:41 PM EDT2014-09-16 21:41:22 GMT
MPD: Woman wearing bra and panties, carrying bat caught trespassing at elementary school A woman wearing her bra and panties is accused of running into the cafeteria at Westside elementary school andMore >>
A woman wearing her bra and panties is accused of running into the cafeteria at Westside elementary school and causing a bizarre disturbance just before more than a hundred children were due to come in for lunch. More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:21:47 GMT
(WMC) - Police were called to an early morning accident where a car crashed through two yards along Rhodes Avenue and Wedgewood Street in Memphis. Witnesses say at least three passengers were in the car. TheMore >>
Police were called to an early morning fatal accident where a car crashed through two yards along Rhodes Avenue and Wedgewood Street in Memphis.More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:28 PM EDT2014-09-17 02:28:26 GMT
(WMC) - Memphis dispatchers tell WMC Action News 5 Corky's Ribs & BBQ on Poplar Avenue is being evacuated.There is smoke coming out of the restaurant. Investigators are still trying to figure out if somethingMore >>
Corky's Ribs & BBQ on Poplar Avenue was evacuated early Tuesday afternoon.More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:21 AM EDT2014-09-16 10:21:00 GMT
(WMC) - The Shelby County Sheriff's Office has reports of two school bus crashes on Austin Peay Highway. One is at the corner of Austin Peay and Pleasant Ridge involves a bus and a car. The other is atMore >>
A bus leaving Bolton High School with 32 children on board crossed the center line and hit a truck towing a Bobcat utility work vehicle.More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-09-16 21:54:29 GMT
(WMC) - A former high school teacher and Memphis firefighter have been indicted for aggravated statutory rape. Investigators say Michael Lewis, 32, and his roommate Bryan Wilson, 32, raped the young girlsMore >>
A former high school teacher and Memphis firefighter have been indicted for aggravated statutory rape by the Shelby County District Attorney's office.More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:31 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:31:15 GMT
(WMC) - "It's sad. It's sad. I can't begin to tell you," said 92-year-old Billie Williams. Williams is talking about her great-great-granddaughter, Chasity Forte, who she raised from the age of 13 monthsMore >>
"It's sad. It's sad. I can't begin to tell you," said 92-year-old Billie Williams. Williams is talking about her great-great-granddaughter, Chasity Forte, who she raised from the age of 13 months old. More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:16 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:16:14 GMT
(WMC) - For over a century, Memphians graced the Tri-State Fair — later called the Mid-South Fair — typically held from mid-September to early October. The first "Shelby County Fair" ran for two days inMore >>
For over a century, Memphians dared rides, spectated various entertainment acts, and devoured food at the Tri-State Fair — later called the Mid-South Fair — once held from mid-September to early October in the Bluff City.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 10:55 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:55:55 GMT
Boone Police Officers received a call about the discovery of a dead body around 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The body was found in a wooded area adjacent to Poplar Grove Road near Appalachian State University. PoliceMore >>
The body was found in a wooded area adjacent to Poplar Grove Road near Appalachian State University.More >>