WCAU-TV Election Coverage
WCAU-TV Newsman Alan Scott and Harold Stassen
Tuesday, November 2, 1948


Improvised Control Room at the Bulletin during Election Coverage
Tuesday, November 2, 1948

Tuesday, November 2, 1948 was Election Day. The voting was for all members of the House, a third of the Senate and the President and Vice-President of the United States. WCAU-TV which started broadcasting earlier that year carried election returns that evening. Since the broadcast station was owned by the Philadelphia newspaper, The Evening Bulletin, it made sense that the broadcast should originate direct from the newsroom of the paper.

Alan Scott (host for the evening) would later gain fame as the host of "Let Scott Do It" with Mr. Rivets (Joe Earley). On that evening, his guest was Harold Stassen. It was a major coup for Channel 10.

It was a time when many political experts thought Dewey win beat President Harry S Truman. In fact, the race was close enough on election evening that many of the large papers in the United States would run a headline stating that Dewey had won. Harold Stassen was Dewey's chief opponent for the Republican nomination for President that year. Stassen was the former Governor of Minnesota who was currently the President of the University of Pennsylvania.

In our city, the stronghold of the GOP was coming to an end. Republican Bernard Samuels was Mayor (he beat Richardson Dilworth in 1947) but Philadelphia would never have another GOP mayor. Ironic. Richard Dilworth would be elected mayor in 1955 and in his 1959 re-election, he would defeat Harold Stassen. The year before Stassen had failed in his bid to become Governor of Pennsylvania.

Broadcast Pioneers member Bill Bransome e-mails:

"One of my first duties at WCAU-AM in 1952 was to introduce the News with Alan Scott, Monday through Friday at 6PM, followed by Sports with Bill Campbell, THIS I BELIEVE with Ed Murrow, and CBS News with Lowell Thomas.

Ever heard of Bix Reichner (of Papa Loves Mambo fame)? He was a local songwriter. Among his songs (were)YOU BETTER GO NOW, which was first sung by Alan Scott before he went into the broadcasting business."

Broadcast Pioneers member Charlie Higgins e-mails:

I think the photo of the election night control room has Paul Ritts seated as the Director and Ed Harper as the Videoman.

Here's some additional information... This is what WCAU was saying just before Election Day...

WCAU-TV will start its election night coverage at 7:30 pm. The CBS Television Network (formed earlier that year) will feature interviews with candidates, political personalities at party headquarters and the gala mood on Broadway. WCAU-TV will originate a network program at 8:50 giving the nation's televiewers the picture in Philadelphia. Returns will be also televised on the front of the WCAU Building, 1622 Chestnut Street; on the new life-size television screen starting at 7:30 pm. WCAU-TV will present the local picture during the last six minutes of each half hour, with Alan Scott reporting from The Bulletin City Room. (Alan Scott was WCAU-TV's first newscaster. He anchored ten minutes of news each evening at 6:50 pm.)

WCAU (radio coverage) goes on the air at 7:30 pm. National coverage by the crack CBS reporters, Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas, Eric Sevareid, Don Hollenbeck, Ned Calmer, Joseph C. Harsch and John Daly. WCAU will give the local picture during the last six minutes of each half hour with reports from Trenton, Harrisburg, Philadelphia Democratic and Republican Headquarters, and the Bulletin City Room, where local ward-by-ward and district-by-district returns will be gathered by a staff of 40 men. Charles Shaw, Al Taylor, Fred Maness, George Thomas and Bill Hart will report direct from each point on a two-way communication line.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photos originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Allen Murphy
© 2009, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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