Newscaster Jim O'Brien
Weathercaster Jim O'Brien
Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Famer Jim O'Brien was known to Philadelphia as "the weather guy" on the 6 pm and 11 pm daily "Action News" newscasts on WPVI-TV. However, he was also the anchor on the 12 noon and 5 pm newscasts. At 5 pm, he co-anchored with Broadcast Pioneers member Marc Howard. He was also remembered as a WFIL, Famous 56 "Boss Jock."
On Sunday, September 25, 1983, at 12:30 pm, Jim O'Brien was killed in a skydiving accident. Jim and a friend were jumping and both chutes opened normally.
They both started a maneuver called a “corkscrew” which allows them to get to the ground faster and thus they would be able to do more jumps in one day. The two got tangled. Jim decided to cut his ropes and open his reserve chute. However, he was too close to the ground and his chute did not have time to completely open. Jim’s jumping buddy for that day was supposed to be Gary Papa, an inductee into our “Hall of Fame” but Gary canceled at the last minute. O’Brien once said after a jump, “That whole experience, which lasted 45 minutes, was as near to God as I ever hope to be.”
The two pictures above are from a Tribute to Jim O'Brien done on Monday, September 26, 1983. One shows Jim anchoring the news and the other pictures O'Brien doing the weather.
We have in our archives, courtesy of Ron Turner, two historic pieces of video. They are both from the O'Brien Tribute broadcast.
They are encoded as "Surestream Real Video." That is, the file contains two different streams, one for dial-up Internet users and a better, more clear version for those on broadband. Your computer will automatically select the correct version.
Jim O'Brien talks about Jim O'Brien
Jim O'Brien, the weather guy
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Video courtesy of Ron Turner and the Famous 56.com website
© 2008, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia & Famous 56.com
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