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KPIX puts historic local clips online

Dave McElhatton and Hank Plante

KPIX CBS 5 has uploaded some of its historic news clips to its website (where it says “top stories” toggle down to “Classic KPIX), including a riveting 39-minute tape of its coverage immediately after the 1989 earthquake, anchored by an unflappable Dave McElhatton who rolls through aftershocks at the news desk. McElhatton is pictured here getting a first-hand report from Hank Plante, who tells him that he saw “people shouting ‘This is the big one.'”

Wayne Walker, Barbara Rodgers and Wendy Tokuda

During this 39-minute span, viewers see the first grainy pictures of the damaged Bay Bridge and the collapsed Nimitz Freeway. They also see in a live shot from Candlestick Park with Wayne Walker, Barbara Rodgers and Wendy Tokuda. Also seen on the tape are Kate Kelly and Dave Ryan.

At one point McElhatton reads a bulletin that the third-floor of Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo had collapsed. What he didn’t say is that his daughter worked at that shopping center. She wasn’t injured, but he didn’t know that at the time. A few minutes later, however, he says, “People are going to be trying to call to find out if the people they love are OK, if they survived this. And I’ve got a couple calls I can’t wait to make.”

OTHER CLIPS: The “Classic KPIX” site also has a 1964 report by Rod Sherry on the crowd awaiting the arrival of the Beatles; Scott Miller’s 1978 report on a car that was driving around in circles without a driver; a 1978 clip of then-sports anchor Wayne Walker trying to do the weather, and several other historic or hysterical reports. The KPIX site also has a profile of Wanda Ramey, the Bay Area’s first woman anchor and only the second female news anchor in the country.

A cursory check of the other stations’ web sites shows that KPIX is the first to offer video clips of historic footage. The only other station with detailed information about its past is KTVU Channel 2, which in 2004 posted photos and stories about favorite shows like “Creature Features,” “The Jack Carney Show” and “The Moose Club.”

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