WLVT-39 : Every Saturday Five O’Clock Sharp


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Two-time World Cup final tournament participant KURT JARA, who earned 59 caps and scored 15 goals as a midfielder over the course of his career for Austria, on the ball here at the 1982 World Cup in Spain. A rare picture of Jara then, who actually has his socks pulled up. But, of course, this is Kurt Jara — compliance with uniform regulations is out of the question and so the shirt is untucked. (Bob Thomas/Getty Images)
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“SOCCER MADE IN GERMANY” with host TOBY CHARLES was a highly popular Public Broadcasting System show that first appeared on Cable Channel 10 in the late 1970s in Manhattan, New York City, and would be rebroadcast by some 30 East Coast cable networks in the United States.

The show went national through San Francisco’s PBS affiliate KQED Channel 9 and became a regular feature on 255 Public Television stations across the country; the now-gigantic and world-reknowned ESPN sports network, then barely a new arrival on the cable television scene, re-ran the program on a daily basis for three years.

German Education Television Network produced this network series which would be distributed in 59 countries around the world.

In 1982, GETN expanded its international coverage and broke new ground at the 12th FIFA World Cup final tournament held in Spain. “Soccer Made In Germany” was broadcast daily by 247 PBS stations nationwide throughout the month-long tournament. GETN produced a show at 7:00 Eastern Standard Time each night from its studio in New York City with Charles presenting.

This marked the first time in history a FIFA World Cup was shown on an English-language network television station in the United States.

ABC SPORTS would also get into the act and broadcast the 1982 World Cup Final between Italy and West Germany live in a special edition of their “WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS” series with JIM MCKAY, of course, as host.

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WLVT-TV Channel 39, who first signed on air in 1965 and still services eastern Pennsylvania as western and parts of southern New Jersey, was the local PBS station that broadcast “Soccer Made In Germany” locally for this blog.

Actually dial position 12 on those old-fashioned, pre-digital television sets — that was where to be every Saturday at five o’clock sharp once upon a time.

The star-studded New York Cosmos, with Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer and the like, were available (and more often) on the tube back then via Channel 9 out of Secaucus, New Jersey, but even a kid could tell the quality of the old North American Soccer League was nothing in comparision to the Bundesliga, to speak nothing of international matches.

The show is long gone, but the sweet memories and strong influences remain…

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Austria World Cup midfielder KURT JARA shown here playing more comfortably, with his socks around the ankles, for MSV Duisburg in the German Bundesliga. (soccer-fans.de photo)

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The post above is dedicated to the champion of high culture with free admission, local blogger Michael Molovinsky (a self-admitted non-sports fan).

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