‘Oprah’ Finale: Winfrey Recalls When She Was ‘Just a Jheri Curl and a Bad Fur Coat’

On her final show ever, Winfrey displayed the humor and humanity that made her a daytime hero

During a mostly somber, self-congratulatory hour-long monologue to an audience of emotionally vulnerable fanatics, departing daytime queen Oprah Winfrey managed at least one great line during her farewell episode.

Looking back at WLS-TV's "AM Chicago," the general-interest program that made her a local favorite just before she launched her syndicated show, she flashed a clip of her first day on the job: reporting on a chilly street with really big hair and an unfortunate choice in outerwear.

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"As you can see from my first day on 'AM Chicago' at WLS," said Winfrey over the clip, "I had no publicists advising me, no stylists. There was no hair and makeup team. Just a Jheri curl and a bad fur coat."

[Note: The clip below does show her stint with "AM Chicago," but it isn't the clip she's referring to.]

Later, Winfrey scored laughs and gasps when she reminisced about her other bad wardrobe and hair choices.

The self-deprecation added a nice dose of levity to her hour-long sayonara, which predictably involved Oprah telling her fans that "we did this."

It was nice to see her admit some missteps along the way, such as the show's placing too much emphasis in the early years on, as she said, "people making bad choices." Those salacious episodes, while highly rated, made her no different from her competitors, like Jenny Jones and Jerry Springer.

"I look back at those tapes and can't believe that I did it," said Winfrey, rolling tape of guests and audience members yelling, pointing and hooting.

"When you know better, you do better, right?" she said, explaining why the show went in a more up-market direction, and eventually made her who she is today.