We Interrupt This Program (MPI Home Video, 1990). [Category: News]

This tape presents ABC news footage from three major stories: the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the 1984 highjacking of an American airliner in Beirut by Lebonese terrorists, and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. No explanation is given as to why these three stories in particular were chosen––perhaps they're the ones that have the most footage saved from them, or maybe it was a rights issue. Unfortunately, despite the title of the tape, we don't actually get to see "we-interrupt-this-program" footage, but we do get to see unedited news broadcasts from when the stories were breaking, including occasional slips of the tongue by newscasters and clumsy shifts from one news feed to another. Some of the footage is quite emotional, such as King's musical director being interviewed minutes after the shooting and obviously still in shock from it; a very frightened pilot of the highjacked plane shouting over the radio "We must have that fuel right now! Immediately!" after the highjackers threatened to start killing the passengers; the flight engineer of the highjacked plane sending a message to his family, including his father, followed by Peter Jennings telling us that the man's father had just died from a heart attack after hearing about the highjacking; a flight attendant from the highjacked plane describing the brutal murder of a Navy diver by the highjackers; a reporter standing on the very edge of a collapsed section of the Bay Bridge after the earthquake; and confused, panicking people running through the streets of the harder-hit San Francisco neighborhoods. I'd like to see more collections of such footage––it really defines the concept of historical interest.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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