Thursday, August 20, 2009

KCOP Channel 13 - - Very Independent - - Chris Craft Station

It went on the air in 1948 as KMTR-TV. When radio station KMTR became KLAC shortly thereafter, so the TV station became "KLAC-TV, Where everything is active." When the Copley Press, publisher of the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune bought the station, it became KCOP. The Chris Craft motor boat company bought it in 1960.

All of the pioneer TV stations of Los Angeles were unique. KCOP was no exception. They made most of their own commercials in the 1950s. This was the original station that had commercials for Worthington Dodge, somewhere on Slauson Avenue in Huntington Park... I remember everything except the house number. Did you know Cal Worthington (b. 1920) was a Hudson dealer? This began when Mad Man Muntz (1914-87) was still selling Kaiser-Frazers and used cars at his lot downtown.

Anyway, KCOP had the best Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Lloyd Thaxton (1927-2008) had a musical show every day. Around the time in my life I started school, channel 13 had travel programs almost every night of the week. Bill Burrud (1925-90) had several shows. The one I remember most was the one with Hal Linker, his wife Hadla, and their son, Harold. Always wearing their Sunday best for their program, I always had a fear that if I ever flew on a commercial airliner, I'd never look good enough. By the time I made my first flight at age 15, no one cared.

Despite having studios in the middle of Hollywood (located at 915 North La Brea Avenue, two blocks north of Pink's Hot Dog Stand at 709 North La Brea Avenue), channel 13 always had a folksy, non Hollywood air about it. They had a contest which always had such prizes as a car, a trip to somewhere exciting, and a Packard Bell console color television/stereo system. They never told about the contest much on TV but there was always a poster about it at the local laundromat.

KCOP was always very different. We could always count on the station to bring cartoons, until all the stations quit showing cartoons in the late 1980s. And also the best of the worst in low budget movie classics. However, in 1995, it became the Los Angeles outlet of the United Paramount Network. Ah, but that was only two hours a night. Well, a few years later, the boat company merged with News Corporation, the owners of the Fox network.

In 2003, the station moved in with KTTV, the Fox station, at 1999 South Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles. Today, channel 13 doesn't even have its own website. Everything seems to be a KTTV hand-me-down.

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