“It’s 10pm. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?”
Back in the late 1960s, just prior to the 10pm news starting, a PSA (public service announcement) would be blasted across New York’s FOX 5, where a deep, stern voice would challenge: “It’s 10pm. Do you know where your children are?”
Well, for most helicopter parents of today, that thought is unthinkable, because of course they know, as they track just about every move their kids make and for good reasons, but for some early Boomer parents, a reminder was necessary.
“I think we have the most recognizable tagline in New York television history,” said Lew Leone, general manager at the time of FOX 5 New York, the broadcast network that coined the phrase. The promo writer responsible for the 10pm show opener is Mel Epstein, who was asked to come up with something more fitting to open the news that would turn attention away from the social upheavals of the time. “It really came off of the top of my head,” Epstein says in an interview with FOX 5 New York. “I just said ‘How about “It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your kids are?”‘” The station loved it and just tweaked it slightly, changing “kids” to “children,” and the rest was history.
Soon the tagline was being asked by FOX 5 anchors and celebs for years to follow, including Sophia Loren, Roberta Flack, Ginger Rogers, Lynda Carter, Sammy Davis Jr., Reggie Jackson, Andy Warhol, Peter Frampton, Ted Knight, Halston, Anthony Quinn and more. Cyndi Lauper’s take is our personal favorite. Over 200 people have asked the question that began in December of 1968.
Over the years, comedy writers and comics have had their fun with it too, parodying the opener and making light of a time when some parents were smoking, boozing, playing cards and not all too concerned what their youngsters may have been up to.
But those were also the times when kids ran wild in the neighborhood and everyone pretty much knew everyone on the city block. Kids spent their summers outside (and moms were all too happy to get them out of their hair). Most kids knew their curfew and if you didn’t show up, well, you better look out.
Were you home before the news opener or were you one of the kids that caused the world to worry? Share what you thought about this memorable tagline.