The Most Shocking TV Moment Barely Anyone Has Seen

2 movies take on the on-air 1974 suicide of journalist Christine Chubbuck
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2016 4:02 PM CDT
Updated Oct 16, 2016 6:59 AM CDT
The Most Shocking TV Moment Barely Anyone's Seen
This image provided courtesy of the Sundance institute shows a scene from the film "Christine," directed by Antonio Campos.   (Joe Anderson/Sundance Institute via AP)

It was one of the most shocking moments on TV, but because it happened before everyone had DVRs (or even VCRs), barely anyone has seen it. Now, USA Today reports, two movies are hitting theaters based around the incident: the suicide of Florida journalist Christine Chubbuck, who killed herself on the air during a June 15, 1974, broadcast for Sarasota station WXLT. "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in 'blood and guts' ... you are going to see another first: attempted suicide," Chubbuck, 29, said to viewers before shooting herself in the head with a gun she'd hidden under her desk. She died shortly after. USA Today notes the irony of how a death she'd wanted to be seen by so many ended up being relegated to virtual secrecy. The lone tape of the broadcast was thought to be lost, but in June, Mollie Nelson, the station owner's widow, told Vulture her husband had the tape, and when he died, she gave it to a "very large law firm" to guard.

Fascination about the case and Chubbuck's life, which included bouts with depression and struggles as a woman in the workplace, has spurred Christine—a drama debuting Oct. 21 in select theaters and elsewhere in the fall—and Kate Meets Christine, soon to be playing in a dozen theaters. USA Today calls the latter film a "quasi-documentary" that follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil around Sarasota as she preps for the part of Chubbuck. Its director, Robert Greene, notes how we wouldn't see something like this today kept hidden. "It comes from another era where, for good or bad, it was more swept away," he says. "We live in an era today where we think we have a right to see everything." As for the original tape now being harbored by some unnamed law firm? Nelson told Vulture she has no intention of ever showing it to anyone. (A bullfighter was gored to death on live TV in July.)

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