Big Blue Marble

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Big Blue Marble
Genre Children's television series
Directed by Joe Napolitano, (1974-76)
Joseph Consentino
Peter Hammer
Cathy Olian
Composer(s) Norman Paris, Paul Baillargeon
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Executive producer(s) Henry Fownes
Producer(s) Rick Berman
Lynn Rogoff
Running time 30 min.
Broadcast
Original channel PBS
Original run September 21, 1974 (1974-09-21)  – January 1, 1983 (1983-01-01)

Big Blue Marble was a half-hour children's television series that ran from 1974 to 1983 on numerous syndicated and PBS TV stations. Distinctive content included stories about children around the world and a pen-pal club that encouraged intercultural communication. The name of the show referred to the appearance of Earth as a giant marble, popularized by a famous photograph of the same name taken in December 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17.

Each episode featured a segment about the real life of a boy and a girl, one American, the other foreign. The show also had occasional stories about world ecology. In addition there was a weekly segment in which a singing globe "Bluey" invited viewers to write letters to the show, often requests for pen pals. The address to send the letters was in Santa Barbara, California. The character was voiced by executive producer Robert Wiemer.

Production personnel included creators Ken Snyder, Henry Fownes, and Robert Garrison, and later executive producer Robert Weimer, producer Rick Berman (later of Star Trek fame), writers Lynn Rogoff and directors Joe Napolitano, Joseph Consentino, Tom Hurwitz, John McDonald, J.J. Linsalata, Pat Saunders, and Ira Wohl. Robert Saidenberg was supervising producer, Peter Hammer supervising film editor and Dale Glickman post-production supervisor of the series late in its run. Paul Baillergeon composed much of the series' music and recruited Wiemer's then-young daughter Whitney Kershaw to sing Get Closer, the closing theme for the second half of the series' run.

Weimer often rewarded staff members with the opportunity to pitch story ideas and direct segments of the series. As a result, many got their first chance to work in that capacity. Some children featured on the show who went on to high-profile careers are: Tisha Campbell (actress/singer), Fran Jolie (disco singer) and Kevin Clash (the voice of Elmo). Before they were well-known, actors Sarah Jessica Parker (later of Sex and the City fame) and Kelly Reno were featured in dramatic segments serialized in the series.

Each of the first 78 half-hour episodes produced during the original three years of production contained cartoon shorts and other animated pieces. These animation sequences were created by Ron Campbell Films, Inc., executive produced and directed by Ron Campbell, and were written by Cliff Roberts.

In 1974, A&M Records released an album of songs from the show, also titled Big Blue Marble. The catalogue number for the album was SP-3401.

Funded by ITT, Big Blue Marble was syndicated to television stations throughout the United States and Canada. C/F International was the most-recent rights holder to the series; that company folded in 2008.

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