The Twenty-First Century (1967– )

TV Series  -   -  Documentary
7.9
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Unknown  
1969   1968   1967  
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 Himself - Host / ... (4 episodes, 1967-1968)
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Documentary

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20 January 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

21. vuosisata  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Title sequel to the CBS historical documentary series called "The Twentieth Century", the program switched its focus to things to come in 1967. The new theme music was introduced at that time. See more »

Goofs

Even though the show continued after 1967, the calendar clock which counted up to 2001 always started in 1967. See more »

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Followed by 20th Century with Mike Wallace (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Before Carl Sagan's Cosmos
20 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

...Stateside viewers in weekend prime time had this CBS News documentary series, which I lately and fondly recall with the recent passing of its host Walter Cronkite.

Patterned after its predecessor The Twentieth Century (also hosted by Cronkite) this series looked forward in a straightforward journalistic style, with in-the-field interviews in the groves of academe, laboratories and research centers, occasionally supplemented by animation. Each episode (one hour each, not 30 minutes) addressed one substantive topic, though I dimly recall at least one two-parter.

The series did not run for very long but certainly had more than two episodes, for I recall the topics of at least five: Space and undersea exploration, computers, medicine, and "the population explosion". And the overall theme and style were by no means rose-colored; I recall that last topic given quite the sobering treatment. I clearly recall the musical theme and some imaginative commercials by the principal sponsor, though would appreciate being definitively told if that sponsor was Dow Chemical, Monsanto or Union Carbide, or perhaps all of them.

One episode, I believe concerning the burgeoning medical use of artificial body parts and the prospects for human augmentation, won the 1967 Albert Lasker Medical Journalism Award. The award cites Fred Warshofsky (writer), Isaac Kleinerman (producer) and Burton Benjamin (executive producer). Warshofsky penned books with the series name in the titles; I'm now tempted to find them to determine whether they were educational companions to the broadcasts. (I since found one that helped me recall additional episodes on the future of astronomy and nuclear power.)

With his ongoing live broadcasts of the American space program on its way to the Moon, Cronkite was unquestionably in his element as host. If nothing else he helped convince this budding young science-fiction reader to ponder, judge, certainly prepare to participate in, but not fear the future. (If I didn't grow up to be an engineer I ended up surrounded by them!) I recall most clearly his giggling like a school kid while gripping the joystick on a hand-held box as he played a "space wars" simulation displayed on a black-and-white CRT in a laboratory at IBM, M.I.T., Caltech...anyone recall?

I don't doubt that "masters" or perhaps kinescopes of the episodes reside in some broadcasting museum. And it wouldn't so much be nostalgia or respect for Cronkite that would drive me to view the episodes after so many years as the curious urge to measure the progress we haven't made...

(An UPDATE for Dave from Austin: I'm glad someone else remembers. Yes, Union Carbide, now I'm surer of that. As for the theme music, the composer likely was Lyn Murray, a Juilliard grad who'd had a long association with CBS and television in general. For the longest time I'd thought Morton Gould the composer. The CBS Reports news specials used the "Simple Gifts" orchestration from Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring.)

(SECOND UPDATE: The Web site for The Paley Center for Media lists four episodes in its collection. Each 30 or fewer minutes, commercials deleted, and you're just going to have to visit NYC or LA to view.)


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