Shot on Videotape: Social Issue Dramas Preserved by UCLA

Sunday, Feb 23, 2020 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm

From the John H. Mitchell Television Collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive

The introduction of videotape in the late 1950s promised television networks and local stations lower production budgets and the ability to recoup costs after shows aired by erasing tape stock for reuse. Sadly, this widely adopted practice resulted in untold number of broadcasts being lost forever, including episodes of such landmark programs as The Tonight Show. For this reason, much of the vintage TV programming that survives today on 2-inch videoreels can be considered something of a miracle.

On the positive side of videotape, lower production costs meant that ambitious, progressive works that might not get funded on film, could be brought to the small screen via tape. Presented here are two rare videotape productions from the late 1960s and early '70s examining social issues facing African American and Chicanx communities. Both programs serve as notable examples of the quality, inclusivity and reach that television is capable of, regardless of budget or medium of production.

This screening will take place at the Billy Wilder Theater, located in the Hammer Museum.

Free admission. Additional information: