Discovery (1962– )

TV Series  -   -  Documentary | Family
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 23 users  
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Historical and cultural documentary TV series for children aired on ABC originally as a weekday series, but later moved to Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings throughout most of the Sixties.

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Title: Discovery (1962– )

Discovery (1962– ) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Unknown   1  
1971   1969   1967   1966   … See all »
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Virginia Gibson ...
 Herself - Host (14 episodes, 1962-1971)
Frank Buxton ...
 Himself - Host (9 episodes, 1962-1965)
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Historical and cultural documentary TV series for children aired on ABC originally as a weekday series, but later moved to Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings throughout most of the Sixties.

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Release Date:

1 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Discovery '62  »

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1.33 : 1
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This program ran for seven years, and the year was incorporated into the title. First it was "Discovery '62", then "Discovery '63", and so on. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A really first-rate series
19 July 2003 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Frank Buxton is a man of many talents: in addition to his credits as an actor and director, he compiled the book 'The Big Broadcast', which is required reading for anyone interested in the golden age of American radio. He also was involved in the writing and production of 'Discovery', besides serving as co-host.

The general perception is that 'educational' television has to be boring. 'Discovery' is the show that broke this rule. 'Discovery' was aimed at pre-teen children; this series was genuinely informative yet also consistently entertaining. Buxton's co-host was Virginia Gibson, a pretty actress with no great presence nor talent. They were abetted by a slowpoke bloodhound named Corpuscle (geddit?) who exhibited so little movement on-camera, he might as well have been a stuffed dog from the Props department.

One episode of 'Discovery' took a serious look at witchcraft, examining mediaeval superstitions and the Salem witch trials. Guest actress Margaret Hamilton showed up at the beginning of this episode wearing a witch disguise; later in the same episode, she appeared as herself and explained to Buxton how the special effects were achieved for her role as the Wicked Witch in a certain movie. (Amazingly, Hamilton admitted on-camera that she didn't know how one of the tricks was achieved.) Another episode of 'Discovery' dealt entertainingly with elections and the democratic process, scrupulously finding time to inform the young viewers that women in 19th-century America weren't allowed to vote.

One delightful episode of 'Discovery' spotlighted the early history of movies, and showed a film clip from an unidentified slapstick silent film (it's actually 'The Hobo', 1917) in which a baggy-pants comedian in a familiar tramp costume, with a bowler hat and a Hitler moustache, manhandles Oliver Hardy. Over this silent footage, Buxton's voice-over challenges Virginia Gibson to identify the comedian playing the tramp. 'Charlie Chaplin, of course,' she replies. Buxton then informs her (and the children at home) that this is actually Billy West, a silent-film comedian who made a speciality of impersonating Chaplin. I'm pleasantly astounded that a children's TV series would devote any attention to a silent-film comedian as obscure as Billy West. In this same episode, Buxton conducted a telephone interview with none other than Stan Laurel, in a hook-up to Laurel's residence at the Oceana Apartment Hotel in Santa Monica: Stan Laurel's voice is heard but he remains unseen. (Probably for the best, considering how ill Laurel was at this time.)

The only unfortunate aspect of 'Discovery' was the on screen relationship between Buxton and Gibson. Their dialogue was written so that he was invariably the font of all wisdom, spewing facts and figures while she expressed admiration for his brilliance. Blame it on gender roles in the early 1960s.

Speaking of dates: when this show premiered in 1962, somebody at ABC had the dumb idea of calling it "Discovery '62". At the end of the last 1962 episode, Buxton solemnly informed the viewers (and Gibson) that "Discovery '62" would not return in the following year. After Gibson expressed pre-scripted concern, Buxton then divulged that this was because the show would now be called "Discovery '63". This chronology gimmick was a dumb idea. But overall, 'Discovery' was a superlative series: intelligent, informative, and so entertaining that adults and kids can enjoy it. My rating: 10 out of 10!


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