Press and People

This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series The Don Hallock Collection

Here, dear friends, is a small collection of images from a series of programs which few will remember, though it was, indeed, quite memorable. WGBH produced Press and People for what was then NET (National Educational Television) in what I believe was 1959 or ’60.

I found this episode — a kinescope recording of the interview with Edward R. Murrow — on You Tube some years ago, and grabbed stills from the salient parts. The video seems to have been taken down since.

The program featured Louis M. Lyons — distinguished journalist, WGBH-TV’s nightly newscaster, and curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard — talking with important print and photo-journalists of the time about their work and philosophies. The guest list was truly impressive.

This series was decidedly over-produced, using the entire of studio A for a simple one-on-one interview format.

Extreme camera angles and distances were employed, and boom microphones purposely hung in the shots, all for dramatic effect. A rear projection screen can be seen behind Louis, which I don’t remember ever seeing used (and I ran Louis’ camera). In fact, as I recall, it was placed so close to the studio wall that there would have been no room for a projector behind it. A steno-typist, as you can also see, was included in the background of the wider shots of Louis — why? Only for more drama.

Louis was seated about 35 feet away from his guest, necessitating the practice of voicing his questions at what was for Louis an unusual volume. The guests also had to project their answers, which gave a somewhat artificial feel to the proceedings.

Furthermore, Louis and guest were never seen in juxtaposition; there were no two-shots from either direction. They might as well have been as far apart as Boston and New York. Empty drama.

This was the era in which we were trying anything and everything to make our shows interesting, and some of it, such as this approach, simply didn’t make much sense. (It should be said that the director was not one of ours. He was imported from Canadian Broadcasting, and was possibly trying to make an impression.)

At the close of the show, the program title was shown with “and 30,” “-30-” (or, in this case, just “30-“), an expression traditionally used by journalists to indicate the end of a story. The camera then a dollied in through the “0” of “thirty” (a hokey technique used before we had keying known as a “gobo shot”) to a card showing the steno-typist once again, and the address where one could write for a printed copy of the interview. The repeated typist would have been for emphasis, no doubt. A transcript could much more easily have been struck from the audio tapes we were quite capable of making — even then.

This slightly irreverent commemoration demonstrates how primitive even our national productions could be, and is further intended to redress, however modestly, the relative scarcity of images of Louis who was, in himself, a WGBH-TV institution.

Oh, yes, those are old fashioned, hot-pressed flip cards you see in the credits. And they are clearly crooked, as was so often the case in those days.

Press and People

Click any image to view slideshow.

WGBH-TV Broadcast Schedules (1955-69)

From Peter Wiggins

Tuesday May 10, 1955

  • 5:30 p.m. – Adventures in Art
  • 6:00 – Images
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 7:15 – U.N at Work
  • 7:30 – Trilogy
  • 8:00 – Your Child
  • 9:30 – Sign-Off

Friday November 4, 1955

  • 5:30 p.m. – Come and See
  • 6:00 – Discovery
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:15 – Weather Forecasting
  • 7:30 – People
  • 8:00 – Bach to Mozart
  • 8:45 – Creative Writing
  • 9:30 – Sign-Off

Monday January 30, 1956

  • 5:30 p.m. – Come and See
  • 6:00 – Beginners French Course
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:15 – Trans Atlantic Views
  • 7:30 – Art and Artists
  • 8:00 – Performances
  • 9:30 – Sign-Off

Tuesday May 22, 1956

  • 5:30 p.m. – The Friendly Giant
  • 6:00 – Adventures in Art
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:15 – British Weeklies
  • 7:30 – Heritage of the Land
  • 8:00 – Music of Australia
  • 9:00 – Notes in Music
  • 9:30 – Sign-Off

Wednesday November 7, 1956

  • 5:15 p.m. – Let’s Have a Story
  • 5:30 – The Friendly Giant
  • 6:00 – American Art Today
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:00 – Bulletin Board
  • 7:15 – British Weeklies
  • 7:30 – French Course
  • 8:00 – Science Reporter
  • 9:00 – Notes in Music
  • 9:30 – Shakespeare on TV- Romeo and Juliet – Part I
  • 10:00 – Sign-Off

Thursday January 31, 1957

  • 5:15 p.m. – Friendly Giant
  • 5:30 – Come and See
  • 6:00 – French Course
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:00 – America Looks Abroad
  • 7:15 – British Weeklies
  • 7:30 – Spanish Course
  • 8:00 – Human Rights
  • 8:30 – Frontiers of Health
  • 9:00 – Performances
  • 10:00 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 10:15 – Sign-off

Monday December 2, 1957

  • 5:30 p.m. – Friendly Giant
  • 6:00 – Geophysical
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:50 – Backgrounds
  • 7:05 – Sports, Weather
  • 7:15 – College and You
  • 7:45 – Let’s Learn To Type
  • 8:00 – Human Rights
  • 8:30 – Frontiers of Health
  • 9:00 – Challenge of Communism
  • 9:30 – Basic Mathematics
  • 10:00 – U.N. In Review
  • 10:15 – Mikulos Schwalo
  • 10:45 – News with Louis Lyons
  • 11:05 – Sign-Off

Tuesday February 4, 1958

  • 5:30 p.m. – Friendly Giant
  • 6:00 – Geophysical
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:50 – Backgrounds
  • 7:05 – Sports, Weather
  • 7:15 – College and You
  • 7:45 – Let’s Learn To Type
  • 8:00 – Human Rights
  • 8:30 – Frontiers of Health
  • 9:00 – Challenge of Communism
  • 9:30 – Basic Mathematics
  • 10:00 – U.N. In Review
  • 10:15 – Mikulos Schwalo
  • 10:45 – News – (with Louis Lyons)
  • 11:05 – Sign-Off

Wednesday May 7, 1958

  • 5:30 p.m. – Friendly Giant
  • 6:00 – Geophysical
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:50 – Backgrounds
  • 7:05 – Sports, Weather
  • 7:15 – College and You
  • 7:45 – Let’s Learn To Type
  • 8:00 – Science Reporter
  • 9:00 – Notes in Music
  • 9:30 – Basic Mathematics
  • 10:00 – U.N. In Review
  • 10:15 – Mikulos Schwalo
  • 10:45 – News (with Louis Lyons)
  • 11:05 – Sign-Off

Thursday November 6, 1958

  • 5:30 p.m. – Friendly Giant
  • 6:00 – French Course
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:50 – Backgrounds
  • 7:05 – Sports, Weather
  • 7:15 – College and You
  • 7:45 – Spanish Course
  • 8:00 – Human Rights
  • 8:30 – Frontiers Of Health
  • 9:00 – Performances
  • 10:45 – News (with Louis Lyons)
  • 11:05 – Sign-Off

Friday February 13, 1959

  • 5:30 p.m. – Friendly Giant
  • 6:00 – French Course
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:50 – Backgrounds
  • 7:05 – Sports, Weather
  • 7:15 – College and You
  • 7:45 – Spanish Course
  • 8:00 – Human Rights
  • 8:30 – Basic Mathematics
  • 9:00 – Performances
  • 10:00 – U.N. In Action
  • 10:30 – Backgrounds
  • 10:45 – News (with Louis Lyons)
  • 11:00 – Sign-Off

Friday May 1, 1959

  • 9:30 a.m. – Sign-on/21-inch Classroom
  • 4:45 p.m. – Number of Things
  • 5:00 – Ruth Ann’s Camp
  • 6:00 – Nuclear Physics
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:00 – Weather for You
  • 7:15 – Jazz with Father O’Connor
  • 7:45 – Groundwork in Graphics
  • 8:00 – Max Lerner
  • 8:30 – Ralph Burche
  • 9:00 – Last Continent
  • 9:30 – Masters of American Fiction
  • 10:00 – Exceptional Child
  • 10:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 10:45 – Sign-off

Monday November 16, 1959

  • 9:15 a.m. – Sign-on/21-inch Classroom
  • 3:30 p.m. – Parlons Francais
  • 4:00 – Art and Artists
  • 4:30 – History (with Herb Hake)
  • 5:00 – Ruth Ann’s Camp
  • 6:00 – Magic Doorways
  • 6:15 – Capitol Hill Report
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:00 – Heritage
  • 7:30 – Young Worlds
  • 8:00 – European Imperalism
  • 8:30 – Invitation to Art
  • 9:00 – Max Loring’s Seminar
  • 9:30 – I’ve Been Reading
  • 10:00 – News
  • 10:15 – Sign-off

Tuesday February 23, 1960

  • 9:15 a.m. – Sign-on/21-inch Classroom
  • 5:00 p.m. – Clipper Ship
  • 6:00 – What’s New
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Theater Review
  • 7:00 – Accent on Music
  • 7:30 – French Through TV
  • 8:00 – Creative Sculpture
  • 8:30 – Ordeal by Fire
  • 9:00 – Sonata Recital
  • 9:30 – Yesterday’s Worlds
  • 10:00 – News
  • 10:15 – Sign-off

Wednesday May 4, 1960

  • 9:15 a.m. – Sign-on/21-inch Classroom
  • 6:00 p.m. – Danny Dee
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:00 – The Right To Sit
  • 7:30 – Camera Series
  • 8:00 – Reading Out Loud
  • 8:30 – Sounding Board
  • 9:00 – Science Reporter
  • 9:30 – Hats in the Ring
  • 10:00 – News
  • 10:15 – Sign-off

Thursday November 3, 1960

  • 9:15 a.m. – Sign-on/Parlons Francois
  • 10:15 – 21-inch Classrom
  • 11:00 – Parlons Français
  • 11:45 – 21-inch Classroom
  • 5:15 p.m. – Sing Hi, Sing Lo
  • 5:30 – Make Believe Classroom
  • 6:00 – Americans at Work
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – New England News (with Robert Bar)
  • 7:00 – Ask The Candidate
  • 7:30 – David Copperfield
  • 8:00 – Lab 30
  • 8:30 – Ragtime Era
  • 9:00 – Open End
  • 10:30 – News
  • 10:45 – Sign-off

Friday February 3, 1961

  • 9:15 a.m. – Sign-on/Parlons Francois
  • 5:30 p.m. – Danny Dee
  • 6:00 – From Haydn to Hi-Fi
  • 6:30 – News (with Louis M. Lyons)
  • 6:45 – Backgrounds
  • 7:00 – Away of Thinking
  • 7:30 – Jazz with Father O’Connor
  • 8:00 – Red Myth
  • 8:30 – Max Lerner
  • 9:00 – Metropolis (with Governor John Volpe)
  • 9:30 – Image Series
  • 10:00 – 150 Anniversary Convocation of Mass-General Hospital
  • 10:30 – News
  • 10:45 – Backgrounds
  • 11:00 – Sign-off

Monday December 1, 1969

WGBH-TV 2

  • 10:00 a.m. – Sign-on/Sesame Street
  • 11:00 – Educational Progr ming
  • 12:00 p.m. – Mister Rogers Neighborhood
  • 12:30 – What’s New?
  • 1:00 – Educational Progr ming
  • 3:00 – Chronological Behavior
  • 3:30 – Maggie and the Beautiful Machine
  • 6:30 – University of the Air
  • 7:00 – Louis Lyons – News
  • 7:30 – The Reporters
  • 8:00 – On Being Black
  • 9:00 – N.E.T Journal
  • 10:00 – Newsfront
  • 10:30 – All The Presidents Men
  • 11:00 – Forsythe Saga
  • 11:30 – Sign-Off

WGBX-TV 44

  • 4:00 – Sesame Street
  • 5:00 – Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
  • 5:30 – What’s New
  • 6:00 – Maggie and the Beautiful Machine