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Traumafessions :: Reader Senski on “It’s Ten O’Clock”

July 2nd, 2009 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

I don’t think that anyone has addressed this trauma yet, and I’ll wager that this is one that more than a few of us out there share…

“It’s ten o’clock…Parents, do you know where your children are?” Since the 1960s, that’s been a familiar late-night refrain from the bumper of many a local newscast. Its treatment varies with each station, some quite benign, but in Central Wisconsin in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the local CBS affiliate dealt with it in truly ominous fashion. They had the announcer who also did the severe weather bulletins handle the voice-over, a sepulchral “voice of doom” who stressed the “your” with dark portent. It was implied that if your kids were out there, they were up to something horrible…that is, if you heard it as a call against juvenile delinquency.

See, on my channel, it was also accompanied by a black and white title card of an over-sized clock face. Running along the bottom were ghostly silhouettes of children, no older than 10 or 12, even some toddlers among them. (I can still see the little girl in a skirt and pigtails.) This wasn’t THE WILD BUNCH we had to be on the lookout for – these were happy little children who could disappear at any time…and their mommies and daddies wouldn’t be able to find them! I knew of other kids in my school who refused to even step outside of the house after 10pm lest they be snatched away forever by whatever lurked outside. It was never that bad with me, but it sure made me pull the covers up a little tighter – especially on Wednesday nights, after I had just seen NIGHT GALLERY on NBC.

But that’s not all. This advisory was immediately followed by a commercial, frequently a spot for a movie that was being shown at one of our five area cinemas. Since horror films were usually platformed across the country and needed local media to be sold, this was when we got to see ads for films like LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, and for me the most memorable of the lot, 1973’s TORSO:

Nighty-night, kiddies, huh? I can still hear my mother saying “Jeez!” as she saw that! Ten o’clock was Terror Time, just another reason why the ’70s were magical for a young horror fan.

UNK SEZ: It’s 10 o’clock do you know where JOAN RIVERS is? Senski, it looks like the old ten o’clock parental heebie jeebie alert is still going on to this day. Watch this bizarre oddity I caught while fishing about the YouTubes (WARNING: This video may contain trace amounts of JOELY FISHER)…

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Tags: Traumafessions

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 fart_mikeNo Gravatar // Jul 2, 2009 at 10:46 am

    daryl strawberry and paul stanley telling me how to be a better parent. good times.

  • 2 BobbaNo Gravatar // Jul 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Do YOU know where you children are?
    In early 70’s upstate NY, this was invariable followed at some point by PSA for wanted criminals, complete with police sketches. Combine that with the Paramount logo tags
    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5fVJwc8hiE) or the like, and 1o PM was worse than the witching hour for me…

  • 3 JennyMNo Gravatar // Jul 3, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Bobba, I agree with you 100%. I thought I was the only one terrrified of the Paramount logo.

    After seeing any kind of news story about a criminal I would make sure my windows were locked and be terrified the entire night.

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