Friday Flashbacks: Open City, one of the first undercover news investigations

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WHAS11.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 11 at 5:00 PM

(WHAS11) - You've seen a lot of undercover television investigations but WHAS11 had one of the first in the country.

History and the WHAS11 archives tell us that one of the very first undercover television news investigations in the U.S., aired right here on WHAS11.

The series was called Open City and it aired for two days in 1971.

The name Open City referred to what it was like in downtown Louisville at the time with open gambling and open prostitution right in the daylight, every day of the week. It was rampant and there was no enforcement.

It's a Friday Flashback that caused an uproar 37 years ago.

A history of the Louisville division of police, published in 2005, has a section in it that's critical of the Open City investigation, saying the federal investigation it touched off was a waste of time and money.

But Barry Bingham, Jr., the late publisher of the Courier Journal, whose family owned WHAS TV told WHAS11's Doug Proffitt about a year before he died that Open City was one of his proudest achievements. He pushed the TV station to air it, and it was trailblazing.

Our goal is to share these entire programs with you and that's where WHAS11.com comes in.

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