Few of you know that my favorite TV show is ‘Sunday Morning’ which airs every Sunday on CBS at 9 a.m. I usually work my Sundays around watching the show which includes pieces on art, music, sports, and politics along with bits of news and weather. They take a longer and more in depth look at many topics that I enjoy. I almost always learn about something new, or catch up on something I used to know about but had forgotten over the years. And if nothing else I love those nature minutes at the end.
So you can imagine my disappointment as 9 a.m. was approaching today, and I clicked over to my CBS station only to find football scheduled. Football? I started thinking back…was today really Sunday? I get confused now that I’m retired. Maybe today is Saturday. I checked a calendar and confirmed that I was not crazy. I flipped through the stations again, maybe I had forgotten what station my show was on? (Notice how I assume there’s something wrong with me rather than the world!) No ‘Sunday Morning.’
So I did what any typical middle aged person does in situations like this. I googled it. And I found out there’s some silly football game in London that has upstaged my show! But amazingly, CBS had not forgotten about all of us art lovers. They have available online, from their archives, the very first show that aired with Charles Kuralt back on January 28, 1979.
Sadly I am old enough to remember 1979 quite clearly, though I didn’t see the inaugural show back then, so of course I had to watch it today. Are you curious to know the contents of that first show?
Well, here you go:
There was a piece showing President Carter speaking on the Iran controversy, though they didn’t call it that back then. This was 10 months before the American hostages were taken, but the piece showed the growing tensions and the affect it was having on American politics. There was a short interview with Detroit Mayor Colman Young about the Republican National convention which was to be held in Detroit. I felt transported back in time.
There was a sports report done by Richard Threlkeld about big ten basketball. He was a regular on the show and I always enjoyed his work. Mr. Threlkeld was killed January of 2012 in a crash with an oil tankard in New York state. Knowing that as I watched him today in the 1979 piece made me sad. Sometimes it’s not good to know the future.
There was a story about Nelson Rockefeller who had died just two days prior. In the piece was a short interview with Mr. Rockefeller showcasing his modern and abstract art collection. He said he liked abstract art because, depending on your mood, you could see something different each time you looked at it, unlike a classical piece. Once you looked at those, he said, you knew what was there and you didn’t need to look again. Interesting perspective.
And there was a piece about the American bald eagle and how close it was to extinction. The focus was a fight over an oil refinery that was proposed for Eastport Maine, which is the furthest eastern town in the United States, and made entirely of islands. It also happened to be a sanctuary for bald eagles. In January of 1979 the eagles had won the fight and the refinery was not being built, even though it would mean jobs to a town on the brink of extinction itself. The story said that the town had a population of just over 2,000 which apparently was down from previous years. I looked Eastport up just now. The last census data is from 2010 and shows 1300 residents. The photos I could find don’t show any refinery. Which is good news for the bald eagles.
The cover story was about Pope John Paul on his first foreign trip. It looked very much like the recent Pope visit to the United states. The story talked about the struggle in the church over who would lead and toward what. I wonder if much has changed in the thirty-six years since.
So on a Sunday morning when my routine was disrupted I found a bit of ‘Sunday Morning’ to appease myself. And I got a trip back through time; short as it was it was long enough for me to realize life seems pretty much the same as it was back then. Similar issues. Similar struggles. Similar reactions. Though 1979 feels like a different life, a different world, really it wasn’t so very different than the life and world I see today.
And that’s oddly comforting.