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Old 04-08-2007, 15:00
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I thought it would be interesting to start a thread devoted to television from Communist-era Eastern Europe (and other communist countries).

HERE are screenshots of logos and idents used by East German television; unfortunately, the accompanying text is in German only.

From the Soviet Union, here's the main evening newscast from 1977 in its entirety (via YouTube):

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 (sports and weather)

Again via YouTube, here's the beginning of a special report from East German TV on the 10th Party Congress, which took place in 1981.
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Old 04-08-2007, 17:03
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Have you ever seen the film Goodbye Lenin ? It's set at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Just before it happens a woman, who is a devoted communist, goes into a coma for a few months. When she wakes the doctors warn her family that if she found out that her beloved communist regime was no more it might bring on another heart attack.

While she is confined to bed in her flat her family rig up a special TV studio and relay "pretend" news broadcasts to her, mixed with videos of old East German programmes . This deception goes on for weeks. I won't tell you the ending in case you want to see the film.
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Old 04-08-2007, 17:22
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Have you ever seen the film Goodbye Lenin ? It's set at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Just before it happens a woman, who is a devoted communist, goes into a coma for a few months. When she wakes the doctors warn her family that if she found out that her beloved communist regime was no more it might bring on another heart attack.

While she is confined to bed in her flat her family rig up a special TV studio and relay "pretend" news broadcasts to her, mixed with videos of old East German programmes . This deception goes on for weeks. I won't tell you the ending in case you want to see the film.
I saw the movie. IIRC, those pretend newscasts were even titled Aktuelle Kamera ("Current Camera"), the actual name used on East German TV.

You can see the beginning of Aktuelle Kamera from October 1989, shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, HERE.

From less than a month later, HERE's the beginning of a special report on the fall of the Berlin Wall from West Germany's ZDF.
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Old 04-08-2007, 17:40
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Thanks for those clips, very interesting. On the subject of East Berlin I was there in 1994, and on a trip to Potsdam we saw one the last contingent of Russian troops loading up their trucks prior to pulling out of Germany. I also remember the massive TV tower which dominates the eastern part of the city.
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Old 04-08-2007, 18:00
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Thanks for those clips, very interesting. On the subject of East Berlin I was there in 1994, and on a trip to Potsdam we saw one the last contingent of Russian troops loading up their trucks prior to pulling out of Germany. I also remember the massive TV tower which dominates the eastern part of the city.
That'll be The Fernsehturm It's open to the public and you can travel up to the top where there's a revolving restaraunt.

The ball shape is nicknamed The Pope's Revenge because when the sun shines on it the reflection forms a cross
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Old 04-08-2007, 19:21
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Speaking of East Germany, one of its most famous TV productions was Der Schwarze Kanal ("The Black Channel"), a longtime propaganda program hosted by Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler. In each edition, Von Schnitzler would show news clips from ARD and ZDF, the West German public TV networks, and try to convince his viewers that Western television was full of lies and aggressive propaganda. HERE is the creepy 1980s opener of the program -- note the ominous music and the symbolism of the West German eagle representing ARD and ZDF (and looking pretty fascistic!) landing on an East German TV antenna.
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Old 04-08-2007, 19:25
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What a terrific thread, very interesting.

I went to Moscow in the 90s and the TV news was very staid. I also went to Poland back in the day. They were showing Baywatch which was obviously dubbed. However, it was just one guy doing the dubbing. So The Hoff and Pamela Anderson sounded exactly the same.

Have you seen any of the North Korean TV brodcasts on You Tube ? Bizarre, I just wish i knew what they were saying.
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Old 04-08-2007, 19:36
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Here is another very famous communist era clip. This is the last speech of Ceauşescu, just before he escaped to the roof and was whisked off by helicopter. I think in the original transmission the director cut away from the OB when he realised that things were going pear-shaped for the president.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEZHZHNByCs

You can see the puzzled look on Ceauşescu's face when he realizes they are not cheering him but jeering him.
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Old 04-08-2007, 19:40
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Their Election results night programmes were as bit dull I've heard.
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Old 04-08-2007, 21:13
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More video:

Here's Czechoslovak TV news from 1989, reporting on an anti-Communist demonstration in Prague that was broken up by police. The report claims that the demonstration was organized by Radio Free Europe and other anti-Socialist forces.

And here's the main evening news from 1988 with reports on a different anti-Communist demonstration.

For comparison, here's what Czech TV news looks like today.

BTW, that was truly history in the making in your clip, DBC!
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Old 04-08-2007, 21:55
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If you are ever in Prague the Museum of Communism is well worth a visit. They show that film of the 1989 demonstration. In one scene you see a reporter from West German Television confronting a plain-clothes policeman who had just beaten up a demonstrator, and making him feel very uncomfortable and shamefaced.
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Old 05-08-2007, 01:01
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You can see the puzzled look on Ceauşescu's face when he realizes they are not cheering him but jeering him.
I remember that at the time, along with the footage of the trail and their corpses.

That and the Berlin Wall are probably the most defining images of the end of the Eastern European communist era. No other country had that public a revolution.
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:14
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Some t.v/film reports from Enver Hoxha's People's Socialist Republic of Albania at this link:

http://www.enverhoxha.info/video/videototali.htm
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:17
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And for North Korean (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea) telly, try this Japanese site.

http://www.elufa.net/

Richt click on the images to download the video (.asf) files.
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:19
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More telly from the DPRK here: http://www.chongryon.com/j/mvch/index.html
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:22
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Some video clips of TV commercials from communist countries:

HERE is an East German commercial from 1969 for the infamous two-stroke Trabant car.

And HERE's a Hungarian commercial for blood sausage.

Yugoslavia was considerably more liberal than other communist countries and its westernmost republic of Slovenia had particularly close ties with the West, which you can sense in THIS 1976 Slovenian commercial for milk. Similar songs (catchy but slightly sugary) were popular in Western advertising at the time.
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:58
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On the Trabant advert the luggage is piled way over the top of the boot but somehow they manage to close the lid. I spy a bit of artistic licence !
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:50
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And for North Korean (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea) telly, try this Japanese site.

http://www.elufa.net/

Richt click on the images to download the video (.asf) files.
There are tons of DPRK TV videos on Youtube. I was watching a kids cartoon last night and you can tell it was propaganda ridden. I'll link to some later.
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:00
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That Der Schwarze Kanal opening is very spooky! and the Ceauşescu video is great as well!


Great thread!
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:35
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If you look at the YouTube vids down the side of the Ceauşescu video you can see parts 1 and 3 of his execution. In other words his trial and burial, not the actual killing thankfully. It happened on Christmas Day didn't it ? Live on Romanian TV. And all we got was The Sound Of Bloody Music.
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:56
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If you look at the YouTube vids down the side of the Ceauşescu video you can see parts 1 and 3 of his execution. In other words his trial and burial, not the actual killing thankfully. It happened on Christmas Day didn't it ? Live on Romanian TV. And all we got was The Sound Of Bloody Music.
It happened on Christmas day, but wasn't shown live.

The trial, lead-up and the immediate aftermath of the execution on the Christmas Day news bulletins here. However according to Wikipedia, Romanian TV showed the footage a few days later.

I can't remember if the actual moment of execution has ever been shown, I certainly don't think the TV news would have shown it here.
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Old 05-08-2007, 12:02
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Yugoslavia was considerably more liberal than other communist countries and its westernmost republic of Slovenia had particularly close ties with the West, which you can sense in THIS 1976 Slovenian commercial for milk. Similar songs (catchy but slightly sugary) were popular in Western advertising at the time.
The young lady at 26-28 seconds is certainly pride of the Eastern Bloc
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Old 05-08-2007, 14:51
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Are there any clips of Cuban TV? This thread is V interesting.
I was due to visit Communist Prague in 1983 but our train from Vienna was stopped about 5 miles into the border and the very obvious Red Army troops would not let us go any further. We spent a tense 11 hours on the train before being sent back to Austria with no explanation. I don't know who was more scared them or us.
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Old 05-08-2007, 15:27
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Are there any clips of Cuban TV?
Here's the main evening news from Cuban TV recorded just over a month ago. Note the US influences, especially when compared to other communist TV services.

And here's an equally recent commercial break from Cuban TV. The advertising block opens with an anti-American cartoon, and, ironically, promos for programs taken right off of American pay-TV channels. A Disney movie follows the break.
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Old 05-08-2007, 15:55
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Here's the main evening news from Cuban TV recorded just over a month ago. Note the US influences, especially when compared to other communist TV services.
Is it wrong that I kept expecting the reader to say " th th th th th th th th th Chris Waddle " ?
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