Back in the 50’s and 60’s, if you wanted your local newscast to be the ratings success that it probably was, you didn’t need a handsome anchorman to drive ratings, you needed a sponsor. Oil companies, food stores, banks, car dealers, adult movie theaters(OK, I’m kidding on the last one, would’ve made the news quite provocative) all lent their name to early and late-evening newscasts back in the 50’s and 60’s. Of course, the anchor’s name carried just as big a weight as a sponsor’s name, so he made the marquee, too. If you just wanted to be superlative, words such as “big,” “five-star,” or “tonight” were necessary at that late hour of the evening.
How do you know if your local newscast was “big,” sponsored by the “_____ National Bank,” or merely had “Action?” You can try Wikipedia, or better yet, try this resource: http://ekimmel2.tripod.com/old3.html/face It has the name of thousands of old local newscasts by state, so you can be certain of some “Eyewitness” accounts among the titles. If my memory serves, oil companies that sponsored local newscasts most frequently were Standard Oil, Esso(Reporter), Atlantic, Shell, just to name a few.
If your newscast was sponsored by oil, car or bank or was just merely “Big,” please leave a comment. If by any chance, it was sponsored by an adult movie theater, brother, you really have some explaining to do.