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January 11, 2007

The great TV highjack of 1987

Max Headroom hijack still image

The Damn Interesting blog reminded me of one of the all-time great hacks. On November 22, 1987 person or persons unknown briefly took control of the Chicago public TV station, jamming the regular transmission of an episode of Doctor Who and replacing it with a surreal transmission by someone in a Max Headroom mask. The Max person spoke for a couple of minutes (but not all of it is intelligible). He also dropped trou and submitted himself to a brief bare-assed spanking with a fly swatter.

As quickly as it appeared, the pirate TV show vanished and the regularly scheduled program reappeared.

The FBI and FCC did an exhaustive investigation, but they never figured out who was responsible. It remains one of the great mysteries in the history of pranks.

Fortunately, that fateful broadcast survives, via YouTube.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at January 11, 2007 08:43 PM


The best part is when they go back to the real show and the characters seem genuinely put out.
Who needs the museum of broadcasting when you have youtube?
Awesome find, Chris. As always, you share well.

Posted by: Sue at January 13, 2007 12:16 PM