Broadcast television was hijacked in Chicago on 11/22/1987

On this day in 1987, Chicago-based WGN television station WTTW experienced a guerrilla art airwave hacking by an unknown person or persons. It is still unknown who was behind the “Max Headroom Incident.”

“It was a run-of-the-mill broadcast until the screen suddenly went black for about ten seconds at about 9:14 p.m.. Without warning, a loud harsh atonal static sound overwhelmed the speakers and a man in a Max Headroom mask appeared on screen manically dancing for about 20 seconds before WGN regained control of their airwaves and cut back to the news.” Throughout the evening news, this hijacking happened two times, leaving audiences confused to this day.

Max Headroom was created in 1984 by George Stone, Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton as an artificially intelligent (A.I.) T.V. host, which was completely computer generated.

To read more about this historical event, read this article from the Chicagoist.