WNET Looks Back at 70s for Second Installment of Pioneers of Thirteen

Don’t put away your bell bottoms just yet!

The calendar has turned to another year, but the 50th anniversary celebration continues hasn’t ended at PBS’ Channel 13. In the second installment of the Pioneers of Thirteen, the 1970s are recalled in detail.

Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep narrates The ’70s – Bold and Fearless, which takes viewers into an exploration of Thirteen’s second decade on air. It was an era in public television that was defined through creative experimentation. Streep had a connection with PBS before hitting it big in movies (Oscar winner in 1979 for Kramer vs. Kramer). Look for her shining in Wendy Wasserstein‘s first play Uncommon Women and Others from 1978.

Perhaps most important to the 1970s was the political scandal by which all others would be measured going forward–Watergate.

The gavel-to-gavel coverage on WNET in 1973 brought newsmen Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer together. It was the precursor for their long-running nightly newscast.

Channel 13 also helped promote the budding career of actor Morgan Freeman (The Electric Company).

The ’70s – Bold and Fearless reintroduces us to The Great American Dream Machine. That program, an irreverent and adventurous amalgam of satire and documentary unlike anything ever seen on public television, featured Albert Brooks, Chevy Chase, Penny Marshall, Andy Rooney, and Henry Winkler in original archival clips from the broadcast.

From the weekly variety show SOUL!, which celebrated black culture and featured in-depth interviews, viewers can rediscover Muhammad Ali or political activist Stokely Carmichael aka Kwame Ture, while Stevie Wonder is seen performing his hit Superstition.

The look back at the 70s includes clips from Bill Moyers Journal, the current affairs program that propelled the legendary public television journalist into the national limelight.

The retrospective airs January 31 at 9 p.m. The documentary continues with episodes on the 1980s in June and the 1990s and beyond in September.

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