Wandering Randomly After Channel Ends Broadcasting Day

Before the popularity of infomercials, a lot of TV channels used to end their broadcasting day between midnight and 2am. They played a recorded message, and often showed the flag and played the national anthem. I don’t think it had yet occurred to them to run back-to-back episodes of Gunsmoke.

But one Canadian channel did something different. They would put a cameraman in the front seat of a car and just drive around the city at random, filming what they saw. It was boring, artistic, occasionally surprising, surprisingly relaxing. It went on for 2 or 3 hours IIRC. I don’t know who had the idea or if it occurred anywhere else outside Toronto’s iconoclastic CITY-TV.

Anyone remember this? Or anything similar? Anyone else do something creative instead of the usual “This ends our broadcasting day.”?

The problem at that time of the night is that for most smaller channels the ratings are so tiny that they are measured at zero, so you cannot charge advertisers for them. Putting even repeats on air costs money so infomercials are a way of squeezing money out of the channel. What you’re describing sounds a bit like slow TV: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_television

That time of night is a good place to test new tech or processes; or to put something out you want to enter for some sort of industry award.

EDIT: in fact that wiki entry links to the very thing you appear to have referenced!: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Walk_(TV_series)

From that Wiki:
" Despite having a seven-year run on Global, only two episodes of Night Walk and one episode each of Night Ride and Night Moves were originally produced, and were repeated nightly during late-night hours."
Is there a record for number of times a show has been rerunned by a single station?

I don’t remember that, but I do remember this. (High Flight)

When I was a teenager in Green Bay in the late 1970s, one of the local stations, which would normally sign off just midnight, started running a late-night, all-night show on Fridays, called “TJ and the ANT” – “TJ” was the nickname (“Television Jockey”) for one of the station’s engineers, and “ANT” was “All-Night Theater.” The show consisted of TJ, sitting in the station’s control room, with a single, stationary camera on him, doing some patter after each commerical break, and sometimes having viewers call in, before getting back to the movie.

I’ve heard that in the time just before the Sci-Fi Network launched, there was a cable company that had an unused channel in their lineup that was set aside for it, and rather than having just dead air for a couple of months, they aimed a TV camera at a fishtank. But the Fish Channel proved to be so popular that, when Sci-Fi came on, they had to bump another channel from their offerings to make room for it.

Included in that problem was, back in the day, you needed someone to manually set the tapes and hit the buttons to switch programming (and commercial breaks, station IDs, etc). Which meant you had to hire and pay a licensed Master Control operator to hang around at 2:30am for no good reason. So running old episodes of Gunsmoke was a bigger pain in the ass that it might appear. As switching systems (and programs) went digital, this became less of an issue.

And also most programmes are licensed for a particular number of repeats. So why waste them in late night? Unless you bring a camera into your car and film the road I suppose.

I grew up in northern Virginia. I remember at least one station played high flight before signing off.

I grew up in Michigan, and remember this tripe quite clearly, “…an touched the face of God!” I have been binging Mad Men lately, and they had this playing on a TV in the background in a recent scene - gave me a chuckle.

When I was old enough to stay up that late, they ran the color version of High Flight. On at least one Portland station, though I could not tell you which one.

(I should note that we had a 19" B/W, so I never actually saw it in color, but it was sharper than the old version. Also, the first time I saw Star Trek in color, I felt like my eyes were bleeding.)

I remember TJ and the ANT! I grew up in the Fox Valley, in the GB market.


I remember Night Walk, Night Ride, and Night Moves. I was working a wonky shift, and there was little on when I got home from work. They were strangely fascinating, and the music was good.

It sounds like the OP is from Toronto. If so, then he or she might remember The All-Night Show, which preceded the Night ___ series by a few years. It was, as the name implied, broadcast all night, from the normal signoff time at about 2:00 AM to 6:00AM or so, and was on the independent channel 47.

The premise was interesting. Apparently, the station’s night security guards, Chuck and Rochester, got so bored one night that they went into a studio, and played at broadcasting a show. Only they hit a switch accidentally, and really did broadcast out over the air. Oops! But they went with it anyway, and the show became as much of a hit as any show can be in that time slot.

The format was that of an after-school kiddie show, the kind that would be hosted by a cowboy, or a clown, or an astronaut, who showed cartoons. In this case, however, Chuck the security guard hosted, and he’d go into the station library and show old, almost-forgotten TV shows like Mr. Lucky and Peter Gunn. The Twilight Zone was often shown, also. As the cameraman, Rochester was never seen, but he was often heard, since he and Chuck would talk about the old shows, and what might be up next.

The show was undoubtedly popular with insomniacs, but it also built up a cult following among college students (I was one such), who would tune in during a break from an all-nighter, or who were looking for something to watch after an evening of partying. OP, do you remember The All-Night Show with Chuck the Security Guard?

Unfortunately, I don’t. I was pretty young when I saw the other shows. The oldest TV show I personally remember was F-Troop, which my brother used to watch in reruns. Literally no one my age seems to have seen that show. I can still remember the theme song, a soupçon of trivia that I have never used.

Yeah, well, I remember My World and Welcome to It, which had a lot of potential but not enough mass appeal.