WTTW Chicago – Max Headroom Pirating Incident – 11-22-87

“At 11:15pm, viewers of the PBS affiliate WTTW were absorbing an episode of the British sci-fi series Doctor Who when their TV pictures danced sporadically for a moment. With a randomly gyrating panel of corrugated metal used as a backdrop, the unnerving Max Headroom doppelganger launched into an eccentric diatribe in a highly distorted voice. With no engineers on location at the transmission tower, WTTW employees looked on helplessly as the intruder seized control of their broadcast to say the following:

“He’s a freaky nerd!”

“This guy’s better than Chuck Swirsky.” (a WGN -TV sportscaster at the time)

“Oh Jesus!”

“Catch the wave.” (a reference to the New Coke marketing slogan)

“Your love is fading.”

(hums the theme song to the 1959 TV series “Clutch Cargo”)

“I stole CBS.”


“Oh, I just made a giant masterpiece printed all over the greatest world newspaper nerds.”

“My brother is wearing the other one.”

“It’s dirty.”

“They’re coming to get me!”

“This symphony of strangeness reached its crescendo when the rubber-masked imposter dropped his trousers, exposed his backside, and weathered a spirited flyswatter spanking from a female assistant. Moments later the picture went dark, and the surreal signal terminated in a flash of static.

“The exhaustive investigations by the three-letter agencies turned up nothing substantial, and over time the FCC and FBI resigned their manhunts without any significant insight into who he was, how he did it, or why. To this day the unexplained transmission of 22 November 1987 remains an historic curiosity, since it represents the last such signal of its kind… no other instance of a complete hijacking of a commercial broadcast has occurred in the US in the twenty years since.”

Full article here at DamnInteresting.com

PS: “FANG ROCK” is one of my favorite Doctor Who story lines!

(Thanks, Jack!)

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Cool Stuff!, Journal, Science & Tech

Add a Comment