October 20, 2008 at 07:30 PM EDT

Long ago, in that Pleistocene era before cable television began invading our living room and assaulted us with 500 channels and 24-hour programming, most local TV stations would end their broadcast sometime after midnight. They would conclude their programming day by airing a “sign-off” before one of their engineers shut their signal down or broadcast a test pattern or test card.  These sign-offs — invariably low-rent and tacky — almost always used a combination of patriotic footage and music.  One Alan J. Wall has made it his mission to memorialize and preserve this important part of our TV heritage. Who remembers falling asleep in front of a TV set — and waking up to “snow“?

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