Is there anyone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s that doesn’t remember The 4:30 Movie? This showcase anchored the weekday afternoon line-up for WABC-TV Channel 7 from 1968 to 1981. Started as competition against WCBS-TV’s “The Early Show” and WNBC-TV’s “Movie 4”, this powerhouse movie showcase blew all challengers away and stands near or at the top of the list of most successful movie showcase programs of all time. I’ll be dishing out some information about the program but I’d like to point out that there is an interesting article about The 4:30 Movie by Joe Cascio over at DVD Drive-In. Check it out:

I should note that Cascio’s terrific article mostly deals with the horror/sci-fi element of the showcase.

The 4:30 Movie made it’s debut in 1968 under a different title. At first it was called “The Big Show”. Also, in it’s original form, the showcase had a 2 hour running time. But in 1969 when Eyewitness News was expanded to an hour, the showcase not only took on it’s famous name but reverted to it’s well known 90 minute time format. The two most famous announcers for the show were Scott Vincent and Gilbert Hodges and the legendary opening theme was composed by Joe Raposo and was called “Moving Pictures”. The showcase was also known for it’s then revolutionary opening credits sequence. Though The 4:30 Movie did indeed feature many horror and science fiction movies, it pretty much showed just about everything under the sun including recently produced made-for-tv movies which had already had their network debuts. Though we didn’t know it back then, many movies had to be edited to fit the 90 minute time slot but if the movie was long enough or “epic” enough, it would be shown in multiple parts. Who can forget the three part airing of “Bridge On The River Kwai”? The showcase was also well known for it’s “theme” weeks. A week of Beatles movies or Elvis movies or Frank Sinatra movies, not too mention it’s horror or monster theme weeks which were very popular with the younger crowd. Earlier in this blog I posted a full page ad for The 4:30 Movie with a Vincent Price week! Check it out. Come Easter or Christmas you could count on a theme week of religious films. It was on The 4:30 Movie that I first watched 1961’s “King Of Kings”, in two parts of course.

The 4:30 Movie was so popular at times that families, including my own, would sit down and eat dinner in the living room while watching a movie on this epic showcase. Time, however, eventually caught up with the program and in 1981 it was cancelled. It’s demise can most likely be attributed to the rise in popularity of cable movie stations like HBO as well as the explosion of the VHS market at the time. You probably can throw in the changing of the times as far as television is concerned as another factor. In the end, and simply put, The 4:30 Movie was not only one of the most popular and successful movie franchises in New York television history but probably in the entire country as well. I’ll be posting some TV Guide ads for The 4:30 Movie so keep your eyes peeled. There are many memories associated with this movie showcase I’m sure so please feel free to share your own.