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17 Anniversary
2003
17
2020

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Action News

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2020

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Overview

On April 6, 2020, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Action News, with most of those decades as Philadelphia’s number one rated television news station.

There Goes That News Van Again - Our Trip to Philadelphia

As we look back on this amazing milestone, we reflect on the legendary Action News commercial, "There goes that news van again!" from the 1980s. The premise behind the marketing campaign was a family vacation in Philadelphia - "Our Trip to Philadelphia", in which the featured family visited some of The Constitutional's favorite tourist sites and attractions in and around Philadelphia including Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rocky Steps, the Ben Franklin Bridge, and the State Capital in Harrisburg, in addition to snacking on Philadelphia soft pretzels.

At each site, the father introduced his wife and kids with something along the lines of "there's Ethel and the kids at Independence Hall," for example. As the narrator was filming his family at each site, the Action News van drove by and "photobombed" the family vacation video. That marketing campaign became iconic and was reimagined over the years in Philadelphia and copied by other news stations in their respective markets around the country.

 

Action News Theme Song

Although the Rocky theme song has become the unofficial anthem of Philly, the Action News theme song, “Move Closer to Your World”, composed by Al Ham, has been an integral part of every Action News' newscast since 1972 and it is also synonymous with Philadelphia. Move Closer to Your World has been sampled by the Roots, used during warmups for the Philadelphia Flyers, and more. Here is how the timeless theme has welcomed Action News viewers from the inaugural launch to today’s newscasts to 50 years later.

 

The Constitutional Walking Tour on Action News

In the spirit of Move Closer to Your World, Action News has chronicled so much of Philadelphia's contemporaneous history as it happened over the past 50 years including news, sports, weather, community, etc. For example, when The Constitutional Walking Tour launched in 2005, Don Polec from Action News took The Constitutional, and we think he said it best on July 15, 2005 about our guided tours of Independence National Historical Park: 

"Visitors to our city are offered many means for seeing the sights, but when it comes to the historic district, the two more effective modes of transportation are you left foot and your right which makes sense since the area contains the densest concentration of historic sites in the country -- more than a dozen of them packed into a 3 block radius and the focus of the new Constitutional Walking Tour."

Don Polec
Action News, WPVI-TV
July 15, 2005

Action News - Brief Timeline

April 6,1970 - Action News debuts at 6:00 p.m. on WFIL-TV

April 30, 1971 - March/April Nielsen ratings show Action News is number one for the first time.

1975 - Action News changes Philadelphia TV news when it introduces electronic news gathering (ENG); names their live news vans “Action Cams”

February 1980 - Chopper 6 becomes Philadelphia’s first TV news helicopter

April 6, 2020 - Action News celebrates it’s fiftieth anniversary, with most of those decades as Philadelphia’s number one news station, both on TV and on social media

For a more detailed timeline on the history of Action News, click here.

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