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Ted Turner Made Video To Play On CNN At The End Of The World

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Ted Turner Made Video To Play On CNN At The End Of The World

CNN's end of the world video became something of a legend in the 1980s and 1990s. As rumour had it, billionaire founder of CNN Ted Turner had called for the preparation of a video to air in the event of nuclear holocaust.

Though it initially seemed like an urban myth, the video prepared for CNN's final broadcast was leaked a few years back by a former intern. You can watch it below:

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Turner is known for his eccentricities as well as for his wealth - after all, this is a man who decided to go toe to toe with Vince McMahon in the 1990s over the professional wrestling market.

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His larger than life character meant people couldn't help but discuss the likelihood of a genuine CNN apocalypse video and the potential wackiness of it.

Finally, in 2015 it leaked, thanks to a former intern. Mike Ballaban decided to leak the video on Gawker Media's Jalopnik blog.

A random video dropping on Gawker at first sounds hard to verify, but Ballaban was working for CNN as an intern in 2009 and took full responsibility for the leak - as well as claiming to the Guardian that the video is definitely real.

So what does it show?

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Credit: CNN
Credit: CNN

Back in 1980, ahead of CNN's launch as a station on 1 June 1980, Turner infamously said: "We're gonna go on air June 1, and we're gonna stay on until the end of the world. When that time comes, we'll cover it, play Nearer My God to Thee and sign off."

The video pretty much shows that. Just a minute long, it shows a military band standing in formation between the columns of the Turner broadcasting mansion and the circular reflecting pool that lay on the lawn in the 1980s.

One soldier raises a flag to the right, the musicians raise their instruments, and they begin to play Nearer My God to Thee - which, according to survivors, was the last song played by the band on the Titanic.

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The musicians then snap their instruments to attention and the video fades to black.

Ballaban told the Guardian that he first saw the video at CNN, after hearing about it from a professor who had ties with the network.

The source who provided him the video also took screenshots of its home in CNN's Mira archive, under the all-caps heading of TURNER DOOMSDAY VIDEO - HFR [Hold For Release] till end of the world confirmed.

Unfortunately there was no information about what would count as an indicator that the world was about to end and, so, would allow the video to be played.

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Credit: CNN
Credit: CNN

Ballaban said the video was well known at CNN in 2009, although it took some effort to track down.

"It's one of those things you only look for if you're a really bored intern or have a lot of time on your hands," he told the Guardian at the time.

In 1988, the New Yorker was able to verify the doomsday video as real, after conducting a feature with Turner.

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Turner told the article's reporter that the rumours of the video were true, and then showed it in his Georgia office, after a speech about how 'if we don't become extinct by exhausting the planet's natural resources, then we'll destroy ourselves through nuclear war'.

He then apparently slipped a tape into a VCR, and explained that he knew 'we would only sign off once,' so he asked a military band to play Nearer My God to Thee for a camera.

Turner then apparently left during its screening, but returned to say: "I keep this tape around because when the world ends it'll be over before we can say what we wanted to say. Before we can leave any final messages."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: US News

Simon Catling
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