As We See It

Ask Dead Elvis: Was KLAS-TV Howard Hughes’ personal VCR?

Dear Dead Elvis,

Truth or Vegas myth: When Howard Hughes owned KLAS-TV, did he really have the program manager repeat programs he missed, like it was his personal VCR?

It’s true. Hughes owned KLAS from 1968 until his death in 1976; apparently Hughes had a habit of tuning out during parts of films, so he had a minion call the station and have them rebroadcast certain scenes, or change the scheduling on a whim.

As the station’s former general manager, Mark Smith, explains on the station’s website: “It was kind of a ‘little theater’ all for him. ... I’m sure there were some very confused viewers out there.” No kidding. A scene would repeat various times throughout the viewing, or the station would sometimes just switch to another film entirely.

On the other hand, Hughes did have a great collection of RKO films (since he did own the studio) that included some fine film noir pieces like Out of the Past (1947) and His Kind of Woman (1951). So even if the viewing was sometimes erratic, you had to appreciate his taste.

Thank you very much.

E-mail your questions to [email protected].

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