The Twentieth Century (TV Series 1957–1968) Poster


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Thirty Minutes Of Historical Anthology
John T. Ryan26 June 2014
AS WE HAVE previously stated, has this series either superseded YOU ARE THERE or it is merely a slight change of format and the reformation of the same thing? Both had occupied the same time slot, albeit in different years. Both had "America's Father Figure" in blustery News Anchor, Walter Cronkite and they shared the patronage of The Prudential Insurance Company of America.

AS FAR AS the differences, THE TWENTIETH CENTURY did a straight forward newsreel type of presentation; although the events depicted and reported on were far from being news. A typical half hour might cover Pearl Harbor, Woodrow Wilson, Poet Robert Frost or the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.

WE RECALL THAT it was always interesting, well done using excellent archival news film and kept us entertained; which of course is a very important element. (Can you say 'Nielsens?")

OUR GUESS IS that CBS slotted this in place of YOU ARE THERE, which was probably running out of 'THERES' and starting to slip in the ratings. It also could be their answer to the very popular Historical Documentary on NBC, VICTORY AT SEA.

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Documentary series using actual film footage of historical events with narration
ThosLeaton8 June 2011
The Twentieth Century was an historical documentary series aired on Sunday afternoons on CBS owned-and-operated television stations. Each episode pertained to a particular subject of (necessarily) early-to-mid twentieth century history. Each program was constructed of actual historical film footage of the subject events, including much captured World War II footage. The programs were illuminated by the authoritative sound of Walter Cronkite's narration, done entirely off camera. These shows were immediately recognizable as a valuable compilation of photographic records of earlier times. In at least one major U.S. market, the program disappeared by 1961, being replaced in its time slot by Air Power (an earlier CBS Cronkite-narrated Wartime Documentary), just as The Twentieth Century replaced its CBS Sunday afternoon precursors, Gerald McBoing Boing cartoons, and before that, Omnibus with Alastair Cooke.
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Not so
frpohndorff1 January 2007
Your profile of "20th Century" does not ring true. It was long off the air when Robert Kenedy and Dr. King were assassinated. It also was gone when JFK was assassinated as well. While a truly remarkable program, featuring a remarkable man as host, your comments fail in valuing its place in TV history, and its general import to our history and culture. Walter Cronkite's contribution to our country is an outstanding one. Beginning as a war correspondent during WW11 through his reportage of our post war history, his contribution is exemplary. I can still see his face and hear his words when he reported JFK"s assassination, and Armstrong's walk on the moon. His television journalism is the standard by which all others should be measured.

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an extraordinary lesson in history..
acw321 June 2001
here is probably the most authoritative, unbiased, stirring collection of historical events on television. cronkite especially provides an unquestioning level of reportage. from world war I to the assassinations of the kennedys and martin luther king, this series renders history into a forceful, contemporary chronicle of events. there should be college credit awarded to those who have viewed every episode and pass an examination based on the contents of this series. beyond the historical aspect of understanding our world and the events that shaped it, there is the "uncle walter" image of one who has experienced much of what he is reporting and the impact on him personally. cronkite is perhaps the most-trusted, well-known tv journalist, next to edward r. murrow and hs two series, "hear it now" and "see it now". no other series which spotlights history as documentary material comes close to what this program has achieved, and no one could make it as worthwhile as "uncle walter" cronkite.
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