Brings to life the fascinating history of some of the most successful and beloved shows in television. Stars such as James Garner, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, Angie Dickinson, Bill Cosby, Robert Culp, Stefanie Powers, Martin Landau, Peter Graves, Robert Conrad, Linda Evans, Mike Connors, Fess Parker and writer Stephen J. Cannell are among those interviewed whose imprint on the iconic genres they helped create still impact the medium today.
Arlington, VA, January 11 – This March, PBS Distribution transports viewers back in time and behind the scenes for a revealing look at the pioneers of four of the most popular genres in television: Science Fiction, Westerns, Crime Dramas and Local Kids' TV. Narrated by Kelsey Grammer, Pioneers of Television: Season 2 is a four-part series, (airing this January and February on PBS) that depicts the informative years of four television genres and explores the stories and influences of their groundbreaking pioneers. The DVD, featuring all four episodes, will be available on March 1, 2011 for a suggested retail price of $24.99. Each hour-long episode is also available separately for a suggested retail price of $14.99.
Utilizing new interviews with legendary stars, along with never-before-seen images and timeless footage that still entertains decades later, Pioneers of Television: Season 2 brings to life the fascinating history of some of the most successful and beloved shows in television. Stars such as James Garner, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, Angie Dickinson, Bill Cosby, Robert Culp, Stefanie Powers, Martin Landau, Peter Graves, Robert Conrad, Linda Evans, Mike Connors, Fess Parker and writer Stephen J. Cannell are among those interviewed whose imprint on the iconic genres they helped create still impact the medium today.
This episode focuses on three key science fiction series: Star Trek,Lost in Space and The Twilight Zone. This episode uncovers the surprising connection between Star Trek and Lost in Space, and shows a never-before-seen interview with icon Rod Serling that reveals his candid opinions about Star Trek, and his favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone. New interviews with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy pepper the episode and rare clips abound, including Nimoy playing a young space alien in the 1952 film Zombies of the Stratosphere. The episode also offers a new take on TV's first interracial kiss, as Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols claims it never really happened. William Shatner vehemently disagrees.
Westerns Gunsmoke,Bonanza, and The Rifleman are among the iconic series profiled in this episode. In addition, James Garner explains how he stumbled into the role that made him famous: Maverick. Linda Evans offers a touching new perspective on Big Valley co-star Barbara Stanwyck (...she was like my mother.), and Robert Conrad details the on-set accident that cracked his skull on Wild Wild West. This episode also includes the last interview with Fess Parker – star of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone – in which Parker describes his effort to cast African-American guest stars at a time when that was rare. Viewers will also learn how two U.S. Senators used their clout to cancel the westerns they did not like – and renew the ones they did.
This episode traces many groundbreaking firsts in television: Bill Cosby (I Spy) talks about his role as the first African American in a lead role on TV. Angie Dickinson – the first female star of a popular TV crime drama (Police Woman) – explains her conflict with the feminist movement. Viewers will learn about the paradigm-shifting technology that Jack Webb adopted, making it possible to shoot an episode of Dragnet in just one or two days, and Mike Connors talks about the innovate touches in Mannix. Three stars of Mission Impossible (Peter Graves, Martin Landau, and Barbara Bain) independently reveal the eerie connection between their series and actual cold war events. This episode also includes the final interviews with Steven J. Cannell, Robert Culp, and Peter Graves. (All passed away in 2010.)
Local Kids' TV
This episode reveals the fascinating back-stories of the locally produced kids' shows that shaped the boomer generation. Willard Scott explains the surprising physical challenges of playing Bozo (...I nearly expired.). Mary Ann King documents the chain of events that led to a lion escaping on the set of Romper Room in Los Angeles, and Dan Castellaneta reveals the local kids' show that inspired The Simpsons' Krusty the Clown. Viewers will see the prototypes of Jim Henson's Muppets, learn which kids' show Albert Einstein enjoyed, and watch Steven Spielberg as he recounts the Arizona kids' show that shaped his career.
About PBS Distribution
PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally. Jointly owned by PBS (Arlington, VA) and WGBH (Boston, MA), PBS Distribution extends the reach of public television programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and our production partners. PBS Distribution offers a diverse range of programming to our customers, including Ken Burns's films (The National Parks, The War, Baseball, Jazz, The Civil War), documentaries from award-winning series NOVA (The Elegant Universe, Origins, The Miracle of Life), FRONTLINE (Bush's War, Growing Up Online), and American Experience (We Shall Remain, Jonestown, New York), dramas from Masterpiece (Jane Eyre, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), films from independent producers (Latin Music USA, The Botany of Desire, The Story of India, Journey into Buddhism, I.O.U.S.A.), and popular children's programming from Dinosaur Train, Super Why!, WordGirl, Cyberchase, Martha Speaks, Caillou and Arthur.