Clint Youle, 83, a personality from the legendary Chicago School of Television of the late 1940s and early 1950s who has been credited as TV's first weatherman, died July 23 in Galena, Ill., after a stroke.
Mr. Youle, who became a meteorologist while serving in the Army Air Forces during World War II, spent his early career on newspapers and as a news writer for radio. When the NBC owned-and-operated television station (Channel 5, WNBQ) took to the air in January 1949, he volunteered to do the weather.
Just how he was to handle that was left almost entirely up to him.
Rather than simply read a quick forecast, he ad-libbed folksy forecasts and then explanations about the weather to the viewer. He also struck on the idea for the TV weather reporter's great prop, the weather map. Mr. Dutko purchased a Rand McNally map at a store, covered it with plexiglass and then drew on it with black marker.
"The Weatherman" at 10 p.m. was must-see TV. When the first news ratings were taken in Chicago, his weather program ranked number one. And his station had the top five news broadcasts in the Chicago market.
During this era, Chicago became known as the place for television. Chicago programs took largely unknown personalities and presented them in original and unusual programs and did it on shoestring budgets.
Many programs started at the Chicago NBC station, which later became WMAQ-TV, eventually were broadcast nationwide, and many of those unknown personalities became well known across the country.
Young newsmen working with Mr. Youle included Hugh Downs and Clifton Utley. Chicago radio disc jockey Dave Garroway was given a talk show, "Garroway at Large," and later became host of NBC's "Today" show. Studs Terkel, who went on to become a prize-winning writer, hosted another talk show, "Studs' Place."
The station also pioneered inexpensive and innovative programs for children, including the work of a puppeteer and an actress, Burr Tillstrom and Fran Allison, who were the geniuses behind "Kukla, Fran and Ollie." And in 1954, the station hired a forbidding-looking child psychologist, Frances Horwich, to host a program for preschoolers, "Ding Dong School."
At 4:15 p.m., April 15, 1956, WMAQ became the first TV station in the nation to go "all color." Mr. Youle was ready, and NBC spared no expense to "colorize" the weather. It allowed Mr. Youle to purchase both red and orange markers to add to his black ones (to illustrate various warm air currents).
After 11 years doing the weather, Mr. Youle retired. The time slot for weather shows was decreasing, and all news programming was becoming increasingly scripted. After leaving broadcasting, he owned and operated several rural Midwest newspapers and was active in other businesses.
The Reuters news service reported that he also became something of an inventor. His inventions included his patented cattle guard. The device allowed cars to cross, but would discourage animals by striking them on the head if they stepped on it.