1 9 5 1 – 1 9 5 8 (USA)
188 x 30 minute episodes
This groundbreaking, muck-raking CBS documentary series started as a Sunday afternoon broadcast on 18 November 1951. On that first telecast, Edward R Murrow showed a live camera shot of the Atlantic Ocean, followed by a live shot of the Pacific Ocean, and commented: “We are impressed by a medium through which a man sitting in his living room has been able for the first time to look at two oceans at once.”
Murrow and Fred W Friendly took on US Senator Joseph McCarthy, exposing his demagoguery and signalling an end to his Communist witch hunts, and in other episodes, Murrow interviewed troops in Korea (pictured below); defended embattled atomic scientist J Robert Oppenheimer; and examined the early evidence against smoking.
Other memorable interviews included Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion, former American President Harry S Truman, Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito, Premier Nasser of Egypt and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India.
There was also lighter fare, such as a delightful chat with American folk artist Grandma Moses.
Even though many of the personalities covered in this series could also have been on his other weekly series, Person to Person, the tone of See It Now was more serious and informative.
The thing that distinguished See It Now was its penchant for taking controversial positions and dealing directly with major and often unpopular, issues.
Six months after its premiere, See It Now moved into the evening lineup, where it remained for more than three years. When it returned in the fall of 1955 it was no longer a weekly half-hour but had become an irregularly scheduled hour.
The longer format enabled more complete coverage of an issue. The last telecast of See It Now was on 7 July 1958.
Murrow’s ominous sign-off each week underscored the show’s dramatic tone: “Good night . . and good luck”.