Liberal Arts Blog — The Coolest TV Show Ever? How about “Our World” (1967)?
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Today’s Topic: The Coolest TV Show Ever? How about “Our World” (1967)?
Yesterday, in a music day post on the Beatles song “All You Need Is Love,” I briefly discussed the first international live satellite broadcast, “Our World,” on which the song was first performed. Today, I want to re-iterate my recommendation that you watch it despite its slow pace because to me it might well be the coolest TV show I have ever seen. Certainly, the most interesting period piece. What would your pick be? Random tidbit: don’t miss Mick Jagger clapping and singing in the chorus of “All You Need Is Love.” Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
FROM MATERNITY HOSPITALS TO A STEEL FACTORY TO A RECORDING STUDIO
1. You will get to see babies born in Sapporo, Japan, Mexico City, Mexico, Ahuis, Denmark, and Edmonton Canada.
2. “For the moment we’re going to ignore our differences and focus on what we have in common.” (American introduction to the worldwide broadcast) 2. “For we are, in a sense, electronic Magellans, on an exploration without precedent.” (ditto)
3. “But the entire effort was nearly derailed four days before the June 25th broadcast when, in an act of protest against Western coverage of the Six-Day War in the Middle East, the Eastern Bloc countries withdrew from the effort, taking their crews and one of the four communications satellites with them.”
NB: Marshall McCluhan, the media guru, described the show as a “huge mosaic….an x-ray of world cultures.”
SETTING THE DEMOGRAPHIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL CONTEXTS
1. Big picture perspectives are also provided.
2. Demographics: 1867–1 billion people, 1927–2 billion, 1967–3.4 billion, 2000 — projected, 7 billion
3. Technology: took three years for Magellan to circle the world in the 16th century, but only three weeks for a Zeppelin in 1929, 90 minutes for Yuri Gargarin in 1961
GROUND RULES — No politicians, no taped segments (all “live”)
1. “The ground rules included that no politicians or heads of state could participate in the broadcast.”
2. “In addition, everything had to be “live”, so no use of videotape or film was permitted.”
3. “Ten thousand technicians, producers and interpreters took part in the broadcast. Each country had its own announcers, due to language issues, and interpreters voiced over the original sound when not in a country’s native language.”
NB: “Fourteen countries participated in the production, which was transmitted to 24 countries, with an estimated audience of between 400 and 700 million people.”
FOOTNOTE — A few more details
1.) “The Vienna Boys Choir sang its theme song in 22 different languages…The program would continue on with segments from Glassboro, New Jersey, where American and Soviet leaders were meeting — with shots of Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and with video of a rancher in Ghost Lake, Canada, moving his cattle. Further segments from Tokyo and Melbourne, would highlight scenes of construction projects underway and the sights and sounds of a Paris freeway and Austrian steelworkers on the job.”
2.) “Many of the segments seemed to focus on mundane tasks of everyday life, featuring work, birth, and transportation. Perhaps some of the reasoning behind this is due to ground rules dictating that no politicians or heads of state could participate in the broadcast.
3.) Some theories also suggest that the scripts and segments were kept simple due to crossing so many cultural and language barriers. Segments stuck to tasks that many of us would understand, like: work, raising children, enjoying a day at the beach, or getting stuck in traffic.”
NB “Some global artists were also featured during the program, include: American composer, Leonard Bernstein, Spanish painter and sculptor, Joan Miro, and American sculptor, Alexander Calder. Other long-forgotten performers, like the stars of Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet,” were also featured.”
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