Happy 50th Anniversary, KCET!

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of KCET-TV, the largest independent television station in the United States. KCET first went on air on September 28, 1964. Since then the station has played a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California.

The William H. Hannon Library is home to a special part of KCET’s broadcasting history. We store and protect original master recordings from KCET’s longtime signature evening news and public affairs program, “Life & Times.” The show made its debut on January 14, 1992 and its last program aired in December 2007.

The KCET-TV Collection of “Life &Times” video recordings (CSLA-37) makes up a large part of the archival audiovisual collections here at the library. As the archivist who processed the collection, I’m so pleased that footage from our holdings will be featured on KCET’s 50th anniversary special – KCET: 50 Years at the Forefront – airing on Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 8pm.

To celebrate KCET’s anniversary (and Latino Hertiage Month), I thought it’d be fun to share two videos from our collection. Both episodes were digitized by the California Audiovisual Preservation Project and are freely available on the Internet Archive.

The first one aired on January 2, 1992, and tells the story of three men whose lives intersect at the first Boyle Heights Mariachi Festival. These are very ‘raw’ recordings with the opening color bars intact, so scroll to minute 1:28 to get to the start of the episode.

The other episode originally aired on October 13, 1992, and celebrates Olvera Street, also known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles.” Scroll to 2:14 to get to the beginning.

For a full list of “Life & Times” programs and related production files held in The Department of Archives and Special Collections, take a look at the finding aids for collections CSLA-37 and CSLA-38 posted to the Online Archive of California. And check out the 20 other “Life & Times” videos currently available at the Internet Archive. More to come!