Somewhere in Time: KLEE-TV

Channel 2 once had a station ID card that read "KLEE-TV".

Television first came to Houston on January 1, 1949, when KLEE-TV began broadcasting on Channel 2. A year and a half later, the still solitary station in town was purchased by the William P. Hobby family and its call letters changed to KPRC-TV. The plot of another urban legend soon enough took form.

In late 1953, more than three years beyond the time that Channel 2 had made the change of call letters, the Houston station received a letter from someone in England who claimed to have received a picture of their station call letters on a home TV. They reportedly took a picture of the call letters “KLEE-TV” on the placard with a box camera and included this photo with the letter. The alleged date of this event was noted as September 23, 1953.

Wow! Where do we start? The Britisher claim flew in the face of several scientific and factual realities in play for 1953. Remember. There was no existing operative home video equipment available back in 1953, no complete cable for connecting all of the USA for live broadcasting, and certainly no satellite capacity for worldwide transmission of images to England. Back then, you either lived with a few miles of a television station’s transmission tower and picked up their signal by aerial through a roof-mounted antenna (or by a rabbit-eared antenna on the TV set for visitors ling close-by) or you didn’t get a TV picture at all.

TV pictures rapidly left the earth for outer space once they departed as signals from their various transmission towers, but here was this character from England, claiming to have received the Channel 2 signal from North America. And more mind-boggling. Claiming to have received a signal that had to be three and then some years old, at least – from the most recent time that the station had broadcasted as KLEE-TV.

I remember the weird science speculation that unleashed itself from the public disclosure of this reported phenomenon. “Let’s see, Wilmer, these TV signals must have bounced off some object in space and reflected back to earth. If it took this thing three and one half years to happen, that comes down to a 42-month expanse of time. That means the signal had to hit something that was 21 light years away from Earth before it came back and hit the TV set of that dumbfounded viewer in rural England! Hmm! Makes you wonder if some little green men in another galaxy are just sitting there right now and watching ‘I Love Lucy!'”

The thing came with no quick explanation, or debunking, as most certainly would occur today in this era of Internet. It simply ripened for many of us as an urban legend, one that personally always wondered about until recently, when I read this bunko exposure article on snopes.com

http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/klee.asp

Apparently, it was all part of a larger bogus plan to sell ordinary TV reception sets as special units with the power to pick up TV signals from all points on the globe. As it often does, the truth saddened me. I had learned to comfortably feel good about the possibility of beings in another galaxy watching “I Love Lucy.” And why not? If they ever do come visit us, wouldn’t it be nice to know that they came here with some appreciation for our sense of humor?

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3 Responses to “Somewhere in Time: KLEE-TV”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    It is possible to receive radio signals a considerable distance away under the right atmospheric conditions but a television wave is far more complex than a radio wave. However, receiving a signaal some three years after it had been sent would have taken either a mind-blowing set of coincidences or it was the construct of fiction.

  2. Ronald Vaughan Says:

    WOW!! OMG,thanks for printing this story! Shades of Frank Edward’s’ “Stranger Than Science” or “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!”

    Although I DID sometimes see TV DX “skip” signals from Beaumont,Texas….those “overpowered” Houston stations at
    certain times.

    This story,btw,does NOT disprove the existance of UFO’s. But
    what a clever hoax!! KLEE-TV barely came and went while I
    was just an infant!

  3. Rick Schlauch Says:

    My dick almost fell off after reading this. I was in that area in 54 and it was told as a very “outer space” story at the time!!

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