The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Reality TV, OPPD style

August 21, 2017 | Paula Lukowski | flashback, history, T&D

In living rooms across America, families in the 1950s gathered to watch their favorite television shows in black and white. OPPD crews were featured on an episode of the popular show “You Asked for It,” which originally aired between 1950 and 1959.

Viewers sent in postcards describing something that they wanted to see on television, such as the reenactment of William Tell shooting an apple off his son’s head. (1950 US national archery champion Stan Overby performed the feat, shooting an apple off his assistant’s head.)

The March 27, 1955, episode titled “Danger – High Voltage!” featured a dramatic rescue of an “injured” OPPD lineman by his fellow crew members.

Some 18 million viewers tuned in for the pole-top demonstration that was the result of hours of rehearsal and planning, both in Omaha and in Hollywood. The actual demonstration was filmed March 1, 1955, at 84th & F streets in Omaha. The “live” portion of the show was produced a few weeks later in Hollywood.

The show originally broadcast live, so some of the riskier propositions took on added elements of danger and suspense. That changed by the time the OPPD episode aired, possibly because of a live segment that featured an animal trainer wrestling a deadly anaconda. In that case, the film crew averted possible disaster, but not without unnerving the host.

Later versions of the “You Asked for It” series were seen in 1972, 1981, and 2000.

Author Image

About Paula Lukowski

Paula Lukowski has more than 34 years of corporate communications experience. In recent years, Paula has helped improve timeliness and transparency at OPPD by streamlining communications via low-cost and no-cost technologies. Paula and her husband, Mark, have two grown children, Rachel and John.

View all posts by Paula Lukowski >

Leave a Comment


How Does That Work?


Leading the Way

Powerful Life


Working for You