If you stayed up until 3 am watching fX, then yes, you probably do. But if not…stick around!
Previously, on Retroist…
The fX Network was born in 1994 of originality, interactiveness, and the earliest pangs of nostalgic programming…with a Fox-type edge.
In other words, it was Fox before Fox went all mainstream.
It was glorious television nostalgia from a decade where nostalgia wasn’t hip…but they tried to make it such!
(They were ahead of their time.)
Another Feature of Its Early Life…Preserved!
During those early years of being an innovative network toting the Fox name, fX had a unique mix of programming, a cool apartment to broadcast from, and even their own sign-off.
That’s right, they even had a network sign-off!
During the first innovate few years (June 1994 until its relaunch in mid-1997) fX (which still used that stylized logo until the relaunch made it “grow up”) signed off at the end of each day. This was a common practice in decades past. If you’re old enough (or sneaky enough) to have seen the way networks signed off for the night, signing off involved informing viewers of network specifics – a news recap, the location of the network’s broadcasting tower, the physical location of the network’s operations, who manages the network, an opinion piece, a sermon, and anything else they can fit into such a small amount of time.
Following this always important bit of information, the moments before the sign-off always involved a scratchy, aged print of patriotic elements against The Star Spangled Banner, before heading to a test pattern, color bars…or nothingness.
God bless America.
These became a rarity by the 90s, though basic cable channels still signed off at certain late hours (I fell asleep one night watching the Hallmark Channel about ten years ago, and woke up at 4 am with it signing off for the night). fX was no exception, and the approach they took to signing off screamed of the nostalgic pangs the network aimed to deliver.
fX Says “Goodnight”…
One night, at 2 am, I finished recording back-to-back episodes of In Living Color on our family room VCR (this was the summer before I got my own). It was late, but it being summer, I wasn’t really ready to go to bed yet. I went back upstairs to my bedroom and put the TV on in there. I saw BackChat was on and figured that would be the last thing I watched.
Well, lo and behold, I stayed up late enough to catch fX signing off for the night. In the two years we’d had the network, I’d never stayed up until the sign-off time to witness the network go to infomercials.
Their sign-off fascinated me. I’d never watched one before – these were the days before YouTube and the Internet as we know it. They’d taken everything about the standard network sign-off and made it their own.
The sign-off – a quick 30 seconds with a countdown clock, showed the title cards for every fX show set against whistling of The Star Spangled Banner. It was the network’s creative way of bidding us goodnight. I was so fascinated by this, I stayed downstairs and waited until the network signed off. I think fX signed off at 2:30 am on weekdays and 3 am on weekends, but I could be wrong. I also can’t find anything to confirm this.
I had actually believed I threw out this tape while cleaning my room in the early 2000s. Lo and behold, I found it in my video bin a few years back. I planned on throwing away the tape back then since it didn’t have commercials on it (that would have been a treat!), and I found this on it. For some reason, 13-year-old me decided in the summer of 1996 that taping this was somehow going to be very important in the future.
I wouldn’t say it is important, but it is a nice piece of nostalgia that harkens back to the roots of a network’s beginnings, while capturing the nostalgia of a time gone by.
It is short but sweet, but thirty seconds worth seeing.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
This article will see you in the morning, and I’ll see you soon!
She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords), Instagram @allisonswrittenwords, and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.
(Her fiancee is supportive of the whole Chris Hemsworth and Kenny Loggins love thing.)