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Happy 75th anniversary KSDK!

The station signed on as KSD-TV on Feb. 8, 1947 and was 13th television station in the country and the first in the state of Missouri.

ST. LOUIS — We are marking an amazing milestone Tuesday at KSDK!

It was Feb. 8, 1947, 75 years ago, the station went on the air for the first time.

Known by the call letters KSD-TV, Channel 5 was brought into being by St. Louis radio executive George Burbach.

Programming that first day consisted of news, interviews, dancing and a sports show with Cardinals broadcasters Harry Caray and Gabby Street and a player named Joe Garagiola.

Local shows like Corky the Clown and Texas Bruce from the afternoon show "Wrangler's Club" drew early audiences, and there weren't a lot of folks watching. At the start, there were only about four television sets in the entire viewing area. 

Programming was seen for just a few hours a day.

Credit: KSDK
A birds-eye view of the set of an early television program that aired on then-KSD-TV.

READ MORE: The man who brought television to St. Louis

Those who were watching, and working in TV, got used to a lot of changes, including Corky himself, Cliff St. James.

In the 1960s, Channel 5 became the first St. Louis television station to broadcast in color. St. James' program would be renamed "Corky's Colorama" as the station tinkered with the then-emerging technology.

"While they were tweaking the technology, they were getting ready to get the big move into the news," recalled St. James, in an interview before his death in 2016.

Credit: KSDK
An early program on then-KSD-TV which became wildly popular featured Corky the Clown.

And the early days of television news brought almost unprecedented access to the biggest stories of the day.

In 1951, our cameras became the story during Senate hearings on organized crime, as those expected to testify protested the presence of TV cameras.

When city schools integrated in the 1950s, viewers watched from their living rooms.

Our photojournalists were on top of the Gateway Arch in its final days of construction.

And they were on the ground for many of the lowest lows. On Feb. 28, 1966, two NASA astronauts died in a training mission at St. Louis Lambert Airport where the Gemini 9 spacecraft was being assembled.

The people who brought you the news would become as familiar as a member of the family.

By 1973, Patrick Emory was anchoring the evening news with the Eyewitness News Team.

Credit: KSDK
Dick Ford and Karen Foss would anchor one of the highest-rated local television newscasts in the 1980s.

Karen Foss and Dick Ford's 10 p.m. newscast earned some of the biggest TV ratings in the industry in the late 1980s.

Former KSDK anchor Stan Stovall spent two, three-year stints as an anchor and reporter at KSDK in the '70s and '80s. 

One of the big stories he covered: a firestorm at Locust and 21st streets on April 2, 1976.

"It must have covered five or six blocks. Almost like walking into hell, quite frankly," Stovall recalled.

All these years later, Stovall said part of his heart is still in St. Louis.

"Developed some very lifelong friends. I have friends going back 47 years when I first moved there," he said.

READ ALSO: Experience 75 years of St. Louis stories

In 1979, the station would become KSDK-TV. 

Viewing tastes changed a lot. From local talk show "The Sally Jessy Raphael Show" in the '80s to Show Me St. Louis in the '90s. 

For the past three-quarters of a century, you've been with us for all of the moments that swept us away, including the Flood of '93.

And the moments that lifted us up, including the night the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup.  

For a visit by Pope John Paul II in 1999, and an interview with Martin Luther King Jr., in the 1960s.

Credit: KSDK

Unrest that would rock the world. First in the 1970s when the ROTC building burned at Washington University as students protested the Vietnam War. And again in Ferguson, after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown.

There've been too many goodbyes to count, including the implosion of the old St. Louis Arena in 1999.

Some bitter disappointments, like the night in 1983 that staffers at the St. Louis Globe Democrat got the news the paper would shut down at the end of the year.

Some glorious World Series wins from our St. Louis Cardinals. And some unexpected victories, like the St. Louis Blues' 1986 Monday Night Miracle, when the team beat the Calgary Flames to stay alive in the Campbell Conference finals.

Moments captured on film, video tape and now digitally, that have told more than just stories about a community. They're the stories of our lives, preserved for the future.

As we mark 75 years on the air, know our commitment to bringing you the most important news of the day is just as important today as it was seven decades ago.

We're looking forward to the next three-quarters of a century!

So for now, in the words of one of our first TV weathermen, "That's all from here, Howard DeMere."

5 at 75 anniversary celebration

In 2022, 5 On Your Side is celebrating its 75th anniversary and we’re looking back at some of the most memorable stories throughout our history.

Take a walk back in time with some of the biggest stories from each decade:

1940s: TV comes to St. Louis

1950s: Major moments captured on video

1960s: A decade of innovation

1970s: Fights, royalty and a big change

1980s: Lasting legacies and trailblazers

1990s: The stories that left a lasting impression

2000s: Making an impact for generations

2010s: Once-in-a-lifetime moments

Be sure to learn more about our banner show at locations throughout the Bi-state.

Find complete 5 On Your Side anniversary coverage, stories and videos at ksdk.com/75.

And view more vintage videos in the YouTube playlist below.

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