Los Angeles Times


Special: South side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard

KTLA Channel 5 went on the air in 1947 on the back lot of Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. At the time, it was the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi. The station has played a major role in the history of Los Angeles television news ever since.

Two years later, the station rose to national prominence with its live coverage of the unsuccessful rescue effort for Kathy Fiscus, a 3-year-old girl who fell more than 90 feet down an abandoned well while playing with her older sister and two cousins in a San Marino field overgrown with weeds.

What followed was a drama that played out for 27 1/2 hours on live television, back when there were only about 20,000 TV sets in Los Angeles County. The real-life story, with its sad ending, ultimately showed that television had a power beyond what most broadcasters had imagined.

In the decades after that event, KTLA's News at 10 with anchor Hal Fishman dominated the evening TV news ratings. KTLA scored another national exclusive in 1991 when it broadcast a video of LAPD officers beating motorist Rodney King.

KTLA also helped pioneer the local morning news format in the early 1990s.

KTLA was long an independent broadcaster, owned from 1964 to 1982 by Gene Autry. Three years after Autry sold his $12 million investment for $245 million, the station was purchased by Chicago-based Tribune Co., which bought the Los Angeles Times in 2000.

Recently, KTLA carried programs from the WB network and now the CW network.

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