Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year: 1984 - 1985!

I love this clip of CBS' 1984-1985 coverage of New Year's Eve in Times Square--hosted by Andy Williams (who just passed away in September) and Lily Tomlin as Ernestine the telephone operator. It's so unproduced, so unslick. They actually flub the countdown.

The masses in the streets are a ragtag bunch, none of them in today's uniform of corporate-sponsored hats and inflatable bats, all in their own hats (including one in a knitted beer-can hat, remember those?), with lots of noisemakers. And it looks dark down there on Broadway, not klieg-lit, more like some grim, brown, coffee-stained light.

The crowd's roar is loud in the broadcast booth, their noisemakers sending up an ear-splitting din that will eventually, in New Year's Eve broadcasts of the future, be blocked out by soundproofing.

2011's branded crowd on youtube

Tomlin calls the crowd a group of risk takers for being in Times Square on this night, and she laments the fact that so many people are not at home, using the telephone. (No cell phones.) "If somebody in this crowd is reaching out, it's probably for somebody's wallet."

As for the ball itself, it's not today's showpiece of 504 Waterford crystals. It's a wobbly red apple with a green stem, made of simple light bulbs.

See more years of New Year's Eve in Times Square here


chummy's mum said...

I loved that Apple! That video put such a smile on my face... the pre-slick and glossy Noo Yawk, Love it.

Hope you a very happy and safe New Year! Keep writing!

Amy Nicholson said...

I went in 1983 before it was so awful and everyone was penned in and branded. So sad! The comparison to now is amazing.

Marty Wombacher said...

Great video! Happy New Year!

mch said...

For all its sweetness, you can see the seeds of today's thoroughly consumerist version, though, can't you? Which I tuned into at about 11:45, then waked up my husband, who was snoozing in his chair. We agreed we didn't feel like opening the champagne in the fridge. (But we did kiss at midnight!)

And, I noticed, NBC was featuring a recently married gay couple kissing, and gave them a nano-second interview in the midst of casual merriment. Who would have thunk that possible, on national television, just a few years ago?

My father went to Times Square for New Years the first year he'd come to NY to study at NYU in the very late 1930's. Lonely, he said, nothing else to do.... I always think of his youthful loneliness in those first few months for him in NYC when I watch Times Square at New Years.

Bloomberg interviewed (this just before 11:45): what are your wishes for NYC in 2013? He ticks off: lower crime; improvements in education; visitors to NYC!; building projects. And I thought immediately of you, Jeremiah! This creep, soon covered in carefully planted kiss-marks on his cheek, providing his list of destruction.

But maybe he will be thwarted. My father, that gay couple -- they did/are doing things with Bloomberg's schemes that are beyond his imaginings. B will be hoisted on his own petard, by the magic of the city. Of that I am sure.

Happy New Year!

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks mch. what makes me hopeful for Times Square are all those perverted and wacked-out people in the cartoon character costumes. that's where all the seediness has gone--inside Elmo.

and how Bloomberg could wish for MORE TOURISTS when 2012 was a record year, more tourists than ever before, it just boggles the mind.

happy new year!

James C. Taylor said...

Another time, another city.

Happy New Year!

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

My mom crocheted me one of those hats, but with 7-Up cans!

Ms. said...

This year in cages and policed to the max is as it should be I suppose considering the world today...Talk about risk takers! Thank you once again for all you do and all you post. You are a comfort to many despite that you follow the trail of disappearance. For, aren't we all disappearing in our way. Let us continue in friendship none the less. We prove that friendship exists.