The Origin of "It's 10 PM. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?"
"It's 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?"
This ominous question, somberly intoned just prior to the local news, was eventually parodied by a multitude of stand-up comedians, novelty song artists, and horror movie posters. But the original intent of the line was very serious.
New curfew laws had gone into effect in several cities across the U.S. as a result of urban unrest and rioting during the summer of 1967. New York City, feeling the effects of the Newark riots, was one of the largest metropolitan areas affected. Mel Epstein, the Director of On-Air Promotions at New York's WNEW-TV, coined the phrase that summer as a reminder to parents to keep their kids off the streets. News anchor Tom Gregory started using the question to kick off each nightly broadcast of his Faces and Places in the News show. When Faces and Places was replaced by The 10 O'Clock News, the on-air and backstage personnel may have changed, but the catchphrase remained the same.