From 1977-1982, WLUK in Green Bay ran a show called "TJ and the ANT" (short for Television Jockey and the All Night Theater). It would start at about 10 or 11 PM on Friday night and would run movies until about 8 AM Saturday morning. The movies were often crappy B films, horror/SCI-FI, Charlie Chan, and the occasional classic. In between the movies there would be Looney Tunes cartoons and amateur shorts. The host, TJ (Doug Heim), ran the show by himself from the control room with a camera pointed at him. He would occasionally have local guests come on the show.
That was a great show. I remember it well. I think I was in junior high then and we used to have Friday night sleep-overs and see if we could make it all night long. Just TJ at his board. Before home video, shows like this were the only places you could see fun 1950's B movies.
It began at 10:30 PM (or later, depending on circumstance) Friday on Channel 11 Green Bay, which was ABC at that time (now it’s Fox). Had a theme song (Well its Friday night …), snippets of which I remember even today. Doug Heim was TJ (Television Jockey). ANT was All Night Theatre (The show’s original title was TJ and the All Night Theatre). It ran until about 8:00 AM Saturday. On several occasions, I watched the entire show.
One night Heim announced at about 3:00 AM, completely unexpectedly, the TV execs, in their infinite wisdom, had cancelled his show.
I was about 11 years old when that show first came on the air. My mom would let me stay up as long as I wanted to watch that show (I actually made it few times). It was my favorite. The extreme close-up camera shots, the Woody Woodpecker cartoons, Charlie Chan movies, Jerry Lewis movies and the great B movies. It really sucked when they pulled the plug on that show. I wish the show would be on some other format (youtube, hulu plus) now days so I could show my kids. But I am sure the shows are gone forever.
I definitely remember TJ and the ANT! It's pretty cool to find it mentioned here. Here's why I googled it in the first place: I remember a teaser for a "later tonight" movie. I don't remember the name of the movie, but TJ's teaser for has stayed seared on my brain ever since. The movie was color, probably late 50s or early 60s. The teaser showed a young woman lifting a pair of binoculars to her eyes to look out the window. The camera pans to her view out the window. We hear as scream. Flash back to the woman, hands over her eyes, blood running through her fingers. Flash to the floor, where we see the binoculars, bloody spike sticking out of where the eyepieces should be.
My Rock & Roll band, THE AXE BAND,were live guests on TJ & The ANT. Talk about late night hard rock !!! We were the first in N.E.W to share our hard rock this way. It was great fun,and Doug Heim and WLUK Channel 11 were wonderful to us. We all learned the impact our hard rock music made here in Wisconsin. A HUGE THANK YOU to you the audience, and all cast & crew for the great memories we have from the experience. Bill Thomas, and The AXE BAND !
Today marks 41 years ago that T.J. and the A.N.T. premiered. I remember it well. I grew up seven blocks from WLUK TV-11. Eight blocks from Lambeau Field. I had always worked behind the camera. Behind the scenes where it was safe. Now, at age 22, I was about to be in front. On live TV. On camera where everyone can see me. All I really wanted was to keep the TV station on all night. I ask management, "Why aren't we on all night? They believed there was not enough audience to make it profitable. I approached the general manager with a proposition; what if I work for no pay and I'll pay the electric bill while the station is on all night. Then let me sell the airtime. A month later management agreed to a four week experiment but they said they were going to pay me and that they will sell the airtime. 41 years ago, the night of the very first show, I still remember wondering if anybody was watching. I am so touched that I have touched so many. Thank all of you! TJ Doug Heim TJ & the A.N.T.