To help hurry along the fortnight until polling day in the United States, here’s the first in a thankfully short series of clips from ancient American election programmes.
First up, an extract from CBS’s results night coverage of 1972. And what a ragged, amateurish affair it all is. The theme tune is frankly bizarre, resembling some atonal noodlings, possibly composed by Stockhausen or John Cage. Then, before we get to anything by way of news, comes the information that “this broadcast is sponsored by the Ford Motor company, and 6,283 Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers – the goal, no unhappy owners.”
Cut to Walter Kronkite, who looks shifty and ill-informed. “Some or all of the polls have closed.” Make your mind up, Walt!
Then there’s an opt-out to a Virginia local network. The studio’s props and graphics are of an appalling low-fi quality. In the conversational area, two people sit on chairs underneath a giant eagle. “We’re going to have very mixed coat-tails tonight,” one mutters.
Compare this to the giant, multi-coloured, multi-gadgeted affair we had over here for the general election of 1970. Sure, Bob McKenzie had to get a workman to paint extra numbers on his swingometer, but at least he had a wall big enough to paint on in the first place.