The messages about Chattanooga are usually about how naturally beautiful the city is, how much there is to do, the rich history and progress, and shots of people paddleboarding on the river.
But there are other videos that, in my opinion, highlight the true heart of our city. From butchered national anthems to unimpressed Disney villains narrating travel videos, the below clips are some of my favorite videos with local ties. I think of them often, calling my friends “blue-striped boys” and humming along to a catchy tune about how awful East Ridge is.
What are your favorite Chattanooga-themed videos? Let me know in the comments below.
The worst national anthem via WDEF
This is it, the quintessential Chattanooga video. No matter what happens in the future or what might get dug up from the past, the time a Chattanooga Police Department officer butchered the national anthem will still be the best Chattanooga video. What makes this video special is the conviction. You can tell immediately that he knows he doesn’t know the song. Yet he continues to power through. Kudos are offered to the videographer from WDEF who understood the importance of the moment and zoomed in on people’s reactions. We’ve all had embarrassing days. But not many of us can say we’ve had THIS type of embarrassment captured and shared with the world.
Chattanooga Fire Academy performs “Thriller” (2001)
Not as cringeworthy as the above clip but still a little embarrassing is this video of Chattanooga Fire Academy students performing “Thriller.” The choreography to the song is not easy, if I’m remembering correctly. These students seem to nail the performance without much effort. I wonder how many of them went on to become firefighters? I also wonder how many of them ever performed “Thriller” again.
“The East Ridge Song”
I know Bill Colrus is the voice on the now-famous “The East Ridge Song,” but the segment is from a show called “On the Other Hand,” which aired in 2002–03 on WDSI. Dan Lyons, Scott Sanders, Chris Willis and others were also involved. I certainly would’ve been had I known them at the time. They have several wonderful sketches—“The Corrector” is a personal favorite—and I think “The East Ridge Song” perfectly encapsulates what everybody thinks about East Ridge to this day. Here’s a WDEF segment on YouTube that features an interview with Colrus about the song.
The blue-striped boy
This clip from “Cops” was shot in what has to be the early ’90s near Alan Golds. In the extended clip, the man had previously been asked to leave and go back to his hotel. Police later find him trying to get back into the club after he’d been told to skitter away. He gets pepper sprayed and proceeds to drunkenly call the arresting office a “blue-striped boy” while pursing his lips seductively. It’s a hilarious clip.
Traveling Robert’s Chattanooga visit
Tourism videos are a dime a dozen on YouTube. You’ll see plenty of amateur efforts (a few use Pharrell’s “Happy”) and a ton of professional-quality tilt-shift adverts that make the city look like a bustling Lego land. My favorite type of tourism video is the roving travel vlogger. I came across Traveling Robert’s videos about a year ago. It’s not his visit to Rock City to “see seven states” that I love the most; it’s his narration. The guy is hilarious, and his voice sounds like a cartoon villain describing mundane adventures. As he exits Chattanooga, he quips that he “didn’t miss much” by not exploring the rest of the city. Hey Robert, come back. You’re wrong.
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