Even Scrooge Can’t Foil Annual Tower Lighting at WRAL -TV

WRAL-TV 5 logo Even Scrooge Can’t Foil Annual Tower Lighting at WRAL -TV
Tower Lighting
Ebenezer Scrooge (Ira David Wood) tried to stop the tower lighting, but WRAL-TV’s Debra Morgan (l to r), David Crabtree & Greg Fishel didn’t let him rain on their parade.

For the 46th year running WRAL-TV lit its tower for the holiday season. On Thursday, December 1, 2005, the station broadcast a live, half-hour special to officially flip the switch on the Triangle holiday season. As an added treat, WRAL-TV began a new tradition by lighting the Lucky Strike water tower at the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham.

In Raleigh a small crowd gathered outside the WRAL-TV studios to watch the tower lighting in person. WRAL-TV Anchors Debra Morgan and David Crabtree joined Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel to host the special. The 82 nd All-American Chorus from Fort Bragg provided several holiday musical selections as a backdrop for the event, and local gospel recording artist Mary D. Williams provided several inspirational Christmas tunes as well.

Leesa Moore Craigie
WRAL-TV’s Leesa Moore Craigie checks the monitor during the production.
Mary D. Williams
Mary D. Williams sings a moving version of “O Holy Night.”
David Crabtree
WRAL-TV’s David Crabtree mans the “switch.”

In Durham, crowds gathered in the American Tobacco outdoor amphitheatre for musical entertainment as WRAL-TV Anchor Gerald Owens emceed the ceremony. Special guests Ellen Reckhow, Chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, and Durham Mayor Bill Bell were on hand to lead the countdown.

WRAL tower
The 300 ft WRAL tower beams with 1,869 colored lights.
82nd Airborne Chorus
The 82nd Airborne Chorus from Fort Bragg sang some traditional and fun Christmas carols.
Al Robinson
WRAL’s Al Robinson lines up his camera shot.

The tower lighting celebration had another first this year; the show did not exactly go off without a hitch. An unexpected guest tried to halt the lighting of the WRAL tower during the count down. The one and only Triangle Ebenezer Scrooge, aka Ira David Wood, burst through the 82nd Airborne Chorus and called for a halt to the celebration.

Scrooge & Security
WRAL doesn’t allow Scrooge to ruin the festivities. Security quickly swooped in to remove the spoiled sport from the set.
Greg Fishel & Tim King
WRAL Director Tim King (right) goes over the script with Chief Meteorologist and host Greg Fishel.
Debra Morgan & David Crabtree
WRAL’s Debra Morgan (left) does the honors, flipping the switch to turn the tower on.

“Crabtree, you’re keeping me awake!” he yelled. A security guard quickly appeared to haul Scrooge and his un-merry attitude away, the crowd began the count down again, and the tower lit for the holidays.

Tower lighting
Director Tim King (right) signals the hosts as cameras get set to roll.
Tower lighting
A crowd gathered outside the WRAL studios to watch the lighting in person.

The WRAL-TV tower and the Lucky Strike water tower will light each night at dusk during the holiday season. Happy Holidays from Capitol Broadcasting Company!

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