Zebra 9 was produced and directed by Frank Jolley a disc jockey/news director at radio station K.N.A.C.-F.M. in Long Beach, California in 1971.
9 Zebra 9 won the 1972 National Cable Television Award and was the first ever feature film produced for cable television.
Jolley, a long time avant-garde underground film and radio producer had presented and distributed hundreds of what were being called underground or alternative films, mostly student films made by student filmmakers from NYU, UCLA, USC and Cal at Berkley. The majority of which were anti war films, pro marijuana films, rock musical films and just a variety of films that were targeted toward the counter culture or the younger generation. Theaters that screened films most generally held their venue late at night mostly around Midnight. Jolley's own theater was the Art Theater in Long Beach and the theater promoted what was called Underground Cinema 12 meaning the underground movies were shown at midnight at the Art Theater.
The crew of Zebra nine was made up of students as well. Jolley served as Producer - Director, Chris Edwards was Co-Producer, Neal Williams - Art Director, Jeannie Dal Bianco - Choreographer and Jennifer Lee was the liaison between Jolley's Zebra Film Group and Long Beach Cablevision's Cable Channel One (forerunner of HBO). Chris Donavan was the offline director and editor of Zebra Nine.
Jennifer Lee decided Zebra 9 was a quality production and should be entered into the National CATV awards and entered it over the objections of Long Beach Cablevision a Times-Mirror Company.
Zebra 9 featured such names as Arthur Kunkin Editor and Publisher of the Los Angeles Free Press, Jerry Rubin a Chicago seven defendant, Dan Cassidy a popular local musician and Avant Garde Comedian Murray Roman.
The program was hastily written to accommodate the arrival of the George McGovern campaign committee and the candidate for President of the United States.
Written by Frank Jolley who'd expected to have George McGovern, the Candidate, Jerry Brown and Candace Bergan for bits in Zebra9 the script had to be revised as these on the campaign had only a few minutes for a quick interview that was more like a mob scene in the airport across the street from the Cablevision studio.
The premise of Zebra 9 was revised and turned into a spoof on early television with each hour of the broadcast day being represented by five minute bits with early morning news, games shows, weather, and even a devotional at signoff. The show lasted 90 minutes and was to be aired at 9 P.M. and since the feature was filmed in black and white Jolley espoused the name Zebra9. Shows in the production were interspersed with a group of local teenagers calling themselves STREET THEATER emulating comedy of the COMMITTEE with little skits they saw on film provided by Columbia Records portraying bits originally performed and made popular by the COMMITTEE.
When Zebra 9 gained popularity in Long Beach, California it was shown at all other O and O (owned and operated) local origination channels owned by Times Mirror Corporation syndicating it nationally and thus it was also the first ever CABLE feature distributed nationally in 1973.