News 8 Then

P-NEWS8THEN219072007-02-19-1171924096.jpgHello Dolly, Richard who??? And, just what the heck were they smokin' ??? It all made news this very week in decades past on Rochester's first TV station.

10 years ago this week, it came to the surprise of many when Scottish scientist announced they  achieved what some thought unthinkable, and others unforgivable, and in either case opened a Pandora’s box from which sprang a host of ethical questions.

Yes would you believe it's been ten years since you first heard word of Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal, which came this week in 1997?

20 years ago this week, when New York Governor Mario Cuomo announced he would not run for president in 1988, Richard Gephardt became the first Democrat to say he would.

One problem.

When we stopped people on the street to ask, "Do you know who Richard Gephardt is?”

This is how residents responded…

“Yes, the comedian.”

“Richard Gephardt, no I don’t. Is he the Fugitive?”

“No idea.”

“Who is he?”

Oddly enough, the man who would win the election, Vice President George Bush, was a Rochester visitor this week in 1987.

30 years ago this week, as roadies at the War Memorial prepped the stage for George Clinton and Parliament, uber feminist Gloria Steinem was in town to give a lecture, and a lot of people were dealing with flooding from a mid-winters thaw.

3 decades later I still don't know what would have been worse, water in the basement, or wearing pants like these this week, in 1977.

40 years ago this week, it was new kind of cigarette, called Bravo, whose manufacturer billed it as the safest smoke on the market. It contained no addictive nicotine and no harmful tar because it was not made from tobacco. This week's News 8 Then pop quiz--what the heck were they smokin', this week in 1967.


Unfortunately, the smoke seen here was not at all safe, fatal in fact, in one of the worst church fires in Rochester's history. A blaze remembered that way not because of the magnitude of its smoke and flames, but for the lives they took.

A 26-year-old nun named Lillian McLaughlin, and a 77-year-old priest, Father George Wienmann both perished, when they tried in vain to save the sacraments from the altar at St. Phillip Neri Church on

Clifford Avenue
. Their bodies were found next to sacred chalices and holy Eucharist.  Ironically, St. Phillip Neri is the patron saint of joy. There was none, on this particular occasion, in the days of News 8 Then.


What was the key ingredient in a new cigarette which hit Rochester store shelves for the first time 40 years ago this week?? We turn to former Channel 8 Newsman Tom Ryan for the answer to this week's "News 8 Then pop quiz"


"Have you ever smoked lettuce leaves? No! What would you say if I told you that smoke was made from a head of lettuce? I'd say you're kidding!"

But, he wasn't. Made from lettuce, “Bravo" cigarettes were billed as a "safer" smoke, because they contained less tar than tobacco and no addictive nicotine. Initially, "Bravos" failed to catch on with consumers. But some 30 years later, they suddenly resurfaced as a "quitting aid" for tobacco smokers seeking to kick the habit, and remain marketed as such today.

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