Classic TV Sign-Offs

The best part of watching TV late at night, back before infomercials, was the little segment a channel would play to let us know it was signing off the air. Soothing, civically proud, patriotic, and frequently years out of date, these sign-offs briefly tricked sleepy kids into thinking this was the introduction to a new show. Or the “sermonettes” would make you wonder if it was Sunday and you just didn’t realize it.

This blog has assembled a collection of some classic conclusions of the broadcast day, mostly from the ’70s and ’80s.

The sign-off I’m most familiar with is the segment that starts around 2:32 in this clip, a bunch of stock film footage accompanied by the most uplifting orchestral arrangement of “O Canada” I’ve ever heard. (It’s also featured as the last clip in the post I linked to, but this version, from Global, has better sound. Besides, I saw this film more often on Global than I did on the CBC.) I still remember the little girl hugging her confused-looking baby brother at the end. Watching it again, I realize that these old films didn’t show Canada as a particularly diverse place — if a comparable collection of clips were made today, it would unquestionably put more emphasis on that aspect of the country. But, of course, there wouldn’t be a comparable collection of clips today, because there are infomercials out there to fill the late-night time.

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