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Thursday, October 15, 2020

50 Years of PBS

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) launched fifty years ago this month in the United States. The New York Times talks about its fifty reasons how the network mattered. I'll throw in my thoughts.

I was just slightly too old for shows like Sesame Street, Electric Company, Mr. Rogers and Zoom, not that that stopped me from watching them. My kids grew up on Barney and Friends. My daughter even had a toy Barney that interacted with the show, which went as well as you'd expect

PBS introduced me to those great British TV shows for young nerds like me including Monty Python and Doctor Who. I wasn't into Nova but did watch Carl Sagan's Cosmos religiously in high school.

My favorite PBS show was the American Experience, short documentaries about US culture. I remember learning about this history of Coney Island and the quiz show scandals before Robert Redford made a movie about it.

Siskel and Ebert got their start on PBS and became my go to source for movie reviews.

In 1987 PBS broadcasted Ivy League football games. One Saturday I sat down expecting to watch my alma mater and instead got supreme court hearings. Only on PBS could Cornell football get Borked.

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