Max Headroom Broadcast: 'The Creepiest Television Hack' of All Time

Max Headroom Broadcast: ‘The Creepiest Television Hack’ of All Time

The world of entertainment has skyrocketed since the past decade. When the first television was invented, critics said that humanity would never become a slave to the invention. They claimed that people would never have time to sit and stare at a box. Today, there are approximately 116.4 million TV’s in the U.S. alone. On November 22nd, 1987, something mysterious occurred on Chicago’s television sets. Until 9:14 PM, everything was running normal and as usual. People were spending time with their family and friends, enjoying news, movies and game shows. Dan Roan was a local sportscaster on the Channel 9’s Nine O’Clock News. On that particular night, Dan was broadcasting the Bears’ victory over the Detroit Lions when something unusual happened. Here’s a story about a mystery that no one has been able to find answers to for the past 30 years. Read on to find out…

As Dan Roan was narrating the sports highlights, the TV signal started flickering and went into complete darkness.

Television flickering

The control room of WGN-TV was perplexed, as they were unable to figure out what was going on. As the engineers were trying to fix the issue, they understood that this was unlike any other crash. The signal which was being transmitted from an 100-story John Hancock tower to tens of thousands of viewers was being hijacked. Soon enough, an unknown character wearing a rubber mask appeared on the screen. The man seemed to be erratic; acting maniacally. He was wearing sunglasses and a slab of corrugated metal was spinning behind him. Viewers who were waiting to resume watching their sportscast were astonished to see a crazed man on the screen.

The masked man’s appearance was not part of the TV station’s schedule.

Max Headroom: Creepiest TV hack in history

The masked individual disguised himself as the fictional British character named Max Headroom. Max Headroom was “The world’s first computer-generated TV host”; a sharp-tongued character inaugurated in 1985, for a New Coke ad campaign. The normal broadcast was believed to be interrupted by a group of people who helped the masked man. During his appearance, nothing but static could be heard while the masked man was moving maniacally. Finally, the engineers at the TV station managed to flick the switch and change the uplink frequencies. This in turn changed the TV screens back to their regular shows.

When Roan understood that he was back on air, he was dumbfounded by what had happened.

Max Headroom broadcast

When the engineers managed to block the foreign signal and return back to normal, Roan was dumbfounded by the incident and exclaimed:

“Well, if you’re wondering what’s happened,” he said, “so am I.”

Everyone thought that the strange little moment could have been a prank by hacktivists and so, everything went back to normal. A couple of hours passed and the episode of Doctor Who was airing at around 11:15 pm CST when suddenly, the masked man returned again. The man, however, wasn’t silent this time. He interrupted the viewers’ favorite show and started spouting random phrases and some indistinguishable babble. In between his unrecognizable speech was constant chuckling and wailing. The man at one point held up a can and blurted out a Coke tagline from the 80’s.

“Catch the wave”.

He also mumbled several phrases such as,

“Your love is fading”

“I still see the X”

He then went on to make a huge flatulence sound, after which he yelled,

“I just made a giant masterpiece for all the world’s greatest newspaper nerds.”

Watch the video of the masked man in next page.

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