WGN's opening night: McCormick, a mayor and marionettes

As the future of Tribune Co. and its broadcast flagship moves closer to resolution, here’s a flashback of the opening night crowd arriving for the gala premiere of Chicago’s Very Own.

On April 5, 1948, WGN-TV Salute to Chicago, a live two-hour entertainment special, kicked off regular daily programming from studios in Tribune Tower.

“The broadcast opened at 7:45pm, with Jack Brickhouse welcoming notable guests as they arrived along Michigan Avenue,” according to Daniel Berger and Steve Jajkowski’s Chicago Television. “At 8pm, the cameras moved to the action inside, with speeches by Chicago Tribune publisher Col. Robert R. McCormick, Illinois Governor Dwight Green, and Chicago Mayor Martin Kennelly.

“The show also featured performances by Dick ‘Two Ton’ Baker, comedian George Gobel, Art Nelson and his Marionettes, and the WGN Orchestra conducted by Robert Trendler, who later led the Big Top Band on Bozo’s Circus.”


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)