television. It is indisputably the world’s most powerful medium. And, for the first time ever, that medium turns the cameras on itself for a comprehensive self-examination in the form of Television, an eight-part series premiering on Channel 13 Monday, January 25, at 7 p.m. Journalist and author Edwin Newman is host of this fascinating look at the growth, history, glitter, and impact of the global industry 1 that has grown up around the small screen.
In 1950 there were fewer than five million television sets in the world. Today there are more than 657 million sets, and one is being manufactured for every child born in the world – 250,000 a day. The medium has created an unprecedented degree of celebrity for its stars; people like Lucille Ball, Larry Hagman, and Tom Selleck are known in virtually every country on earth.
Television has brought both wars and peace conferences into the living room. It has covered the race for the presidency, the race for the pennant, and the race for space with equal avidity. It has generated millions of hours of entertainment programming, from the lightest comedy to Greek tragedy. Television is derived from a thirteen-part series produced by Granada Television of England, but American viewers will be seeing an essentially new series, crafted by executive producer Jack Sameth, writer-producer Michael Winship, and co-producer Susan Kim. Television is an insider’s view of the century’s most powerful -and intimate- medium.
In search of television history, the production crew has interviewed dozens of television pioneers and innovators: stars, writers, producers, directors, technicians, engineers, journalists, and commentators. “The three networks and some of the major independent stations have mobilized to support this project,” says Jack Sameth. Interviewed in the series are a virtual Who’s Who of television ranging from Steven Bochco (creator of Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law) to the King brothers (distributors of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy), from Grant Tinker (former chairman of NBC and founder of MTM Enterprises) to Les Brown (editor-in-chief of Channels magazine).
These television insiders will illuminate and place into perspective the hundreds of film and videotape clips -many of them rare or unique -from which producer Sameth and his staff are fashioning the programs.
[Most people have grown up with television, but how much of the “electronic childhood” do they remember? To prepare for Television, take the special “Teletrivia” quiz on the opposite page. If some of the questions seem obscure, well, just remember -millions of people were watching!]
1. After three years of all-American boyhood in the nation’s living rooms, Beaver Cleaver suddenly got his first kiss. Who was the lucky girl who socked it to the Beav?
a. Noreen Corcoran
b. Lydia Reed
c. Veronica Cartwright
d. Angela Cartwright
2-5. The first “British Invasion” was neither Masterpiece Theatre nor The Benny Hill Show, but rather a series of action-advertture shows that aired in the late fifties and early sixties. Try to match each of the Brits below with the legendary hero whose swash he buckled on television.
2. Roger Moore a. Dan Tempest
3. Robert Shaw b. Long John Silver
4. Richard Greene c. Robin Hood
5. Robert Newton d. Ivanhoe
6-10. Some television stars are heard but not seen-it saves money on makeup, and in a pinch the actor can phone his or her part in. Try to match the star below with the animal, mineral, or vegetable whose voice he or she provided.
6. Ann Southern a. Mr. Ed
7. Lorenzo Music b. Richard Diamond’s secretary, Sam
8. John Forsythe c. Charlie of Charlies Angels
9. Alan (Rocky) Lane d. Carlton the Doorman
10. Mary Tyler Moore e. My Mother the Car
11-14. One picture may be worth a thousand words, but a lot of very popular series have depended on words to set the scene each week anyway. Below are excerpts from four openings that millions of Americans heard every week. Choose from among the six possibilities the four shows these quotations introduced.
11. “In the darkness, fate a. Ben Casey
moved a heavy hand.” b. Naked City
12. “This is the city.” c. The Fugitive
13. “To boldly go where no d. Dragnet
man has gone before.” e. Medic
14. “Heart of a lion, hand f. Star Trek of a woman.”
15. Which television personality, later to be featured regularlyon PBS, was frequently lampooned on Your Show of Shows?
a. Dr. Fran Baxter
b. Alistair Cooke
c. Vincent Price
16. What is, or was, the longest-lasting series of dramaticpresentations in television history?
a. Masterpiece Theatre
b. Playhouse 90
d. Hallmark Hall of Fame
e. Bell System Family Theater
17. Bob Keeshan is known to millions of kids as CaptainKangaroo. Before he was promoted to captain, though, heentertained the young television audience as:
a. The voice of Cecil Bill on Kukla, Fran, and Ollie
b. Clarabelle the clown on Howdy Doody
c. Ranger Stafford on Space Patrol
18. In 1975, the following capsule plot synopsis appeared inTV Guide: “A quiet Christmas at the Bellamy house goes awrywhen two new arrivals at Eaton Place disappear.” What seriesdid it describe?
a. Upstairs, Downstairs
b. Sons and Daughters
c. The Tony Randall Show
1. c; 2. d; 3. a; 4. c; 5. b; 6. e; 7. d; 8. c; 9. a; 10. b; 11. c; 12. d;
13. f; 14. e; 15. b; 16. d; 17. b; 18. a
The West of the Imagination
jerry Coffey, writing in the Fort Worth. Star-Telegram, may have said it best. KERA’s The West of the Imagination, he wrote, “is one of the finest public television projects of any kind originated on this side of the Atlantic.”
The monumental six-part series on the American West that delighted critics and audiences nationwide when it premiered on PBS in September 1986 begins its first encore run on Channel 13 Thursday, January 28, at 8 p.m. Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Dr. William H. Goetzmann and developed for television by KERA senior vice president Pat Perini, The West of the Imagination is the sweeping story of the world’s greatest frontier as seen through the eyes of the artists, photographers, moviemakers, and entertainers who brought it to the rest of the world.
From the days of Lewis and Clark in episode I to the modern native American artists who are featured in episode VI, The West of the Imagination explores the formation and solidification of the myth of the West. Other episodes deal with topics as varied as the Gold Rush, the boom in western literature, the Hollywood western, and the birth and death of the great American cowboy, all in the context of their artistic impact on the world’s consciousness.
Produced For KERA by David Kennard (Cosmos, The Heart of the Dragon), The West of the Imagination was honored with a blue ribbon from the American Film Festival and was a finalist at the International Film & TV Festival of New York.
The production was made possible by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation and Nelda C. Stark of Orange, Texas.