70th Anniversary

WTNH celebrates 70 years: A look at the 1960s

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - - In Connecticut, the 1960s began with the final chapter to one of the biggest stories of the '50s. Joseph "Mad Dog" Taborsky killed 7 people in a string of armed robberies. He became the last person put to death in "old sparky", the state's electric chair, May 17, 1960. It would be another 45 years before Connecticut would execute another prisoner.

In 1961, Governor Abe Ribicoff resigned to join John F. Kennedy's cabinet as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. A year and a half later, he left the cabinet and got elected to the first of 3 terms in the US Senate.

As the U.S got more and more involved in Vietnam, Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin led anti-war demonstrations. Some young men enlisted, while protests against recruiters at Storrs turned violent.
Covering all these stories was not easy when everything was shot on film.

"This was one of the cameras the news photographers used to use," explained former engineer Frank Glowski, holding up an old Bell & Howell while sitting at a table in The Greek Olive restaurant.  He turned the hand crank on it. "I don't know if we can pick up the sound on it, but this was the battery, it turned crank."

Some former Channel 8 employees still get together for breakfast once a month. They remember the perils of putting together stories on film.

"Because many times the glue that held the film together would break and boom, all of a sudden you'd have no story anymore," recalled former engineer Angelo Macci.

Related Content: News 8 celebrates 70 years: A look at the first decade

On the air in the 1960s were longtime anchor and News Director Bob Norman, longtime sports director Dick Galliette, and Gale Carroll. She was one of the first women in the nation to forecast the weather on TV.

"We used to do a lot of live programming, obviously because there was no videotape or computers," Glowski said.

The best known was "Friends of Mr. Goober." 

"Everybody watched Mr. Goober," remembered current News8 floor director Tom Sgro, who grew up in the area. "To be on Mr. Goober was a huge privilege. Not many kids got to do it."

The character of Mr. Goober was the kindly owner of a general store. He told some jokes, and played some cartoons. That's where Engineer Frank Glowski would step in.

"And that's where I got my nickname, 'Turn the Crank Frank,' because when he wanted a cartoon to run he would say, 'Turn the crank, Frank' and I would hit the projector button and a cartoon would roll and we'd put it on the air," said Glowski.

Mr. Goober was played by Mike Warren, who also hosted Connecticut Bandstand, and Dialing for Dollars.

It was a different kind of entertainer who made headlines in New Haven in 1967. Another band found Jim Morrison of the Doors in their bathroom with a groupie at the old New Haven Arena. Singer Tommy Janette called in a police officer.

"As he's shaking the mace, he says, 'This is your last chance to evacuate the property and leave.' And Morrison turned around and said, 'This is your last chance to eat me' and pushed the cop," said Janette.

Morrison got maced, later swore on stage, and became the first rock star arrested while performing.

The 1960s ended with a suspected police informant being tortured in a New Haven home, then murdered by members of the Black Panthers in May of '69. The trial would cause chaos the next year. A fitting end to the turbulent decade of the 1960s.

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