Funews was one of Detroitís most bizarre early
morning kidís programs. The brainchild of WXYZ-TVís vice president John
Pival, Funews provided cartoons for the children while simultaneously
giving parents the daily news and weather report.
his new innovation Dual-TV. The process involved splitting the TV picture into
three separate screens. The bottom right quarter of the screen featured ancient
cartoons and Little Rascals shorts. The bottom left quarter held the current
time, temperature and the weather outlook for the day. The latest news appeared
across the top section of the screen. The
news stories were ripped straight from the stationís Teletype machine and
posted on a small board in front of a telecine, a camera used in conjunction
with a 16mm film projector. The
cartoons were projected onto the same board and reflected into the lens of the
telecine camera. It was a pretty low-tech system, but it worked.
Funews first hit Detroitís airwaves in January of
1960 with Awrey Bakeries as the showís first sponsor. It aired at 7:30 AM,
right before Breakfast with Soupy. Pival originally had planned to extend
the process to other time periods during the day, but those plans never
materialized. Funews lasted until the fall of 1966, replaced by a morning
talk show hosted by Bob Hynes.
Today, every cable news channel now uses a high-tech electronic version of John Pivalís multi screen process, but Detroit did it first, nearly fifty years earlier.