You Are There (series)
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|You Are There|
|Created by||Goodman Ace|
|Directed by||John Frankenheimer
William D. Russell
|Presented by||Walter Cronkite|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||147|
|Producer(s)||James D. Fonda
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Original run||February 1, 1953– June 9, 1957|
Created by Goodman Ace for CBS Radio, it blended history with modern technology, taking an entire network newsroom on a figurative time warp each week reporting the great events of the past. Reporters included John Charles Daly, Don Hollenbeck and Richard C. Hottelet. The series was first heard on July 7, 1947 under the title CBS Is There. Its final broadcast was on March 19, 1950 under the title You Are There.
According to author/historian Martin Grams, actor Canada Lee was a guest in episodes 32 and 60. Martin Gabel appeared in character in episode 82. The first 23 broadcasts went under the title "CBS Is There" and beginning with episode 24, the title changed to "You Are There". A total of 90 episodes were broadcast. Only 75 episodes are known to exist in recorded form.
The radio program made a transition to television in 1953, with Walter Cronkite as the regular host. Reporters included veteran radio announcers Dick Joy and Harlow Wilcox. The first telecast took place on February 1, 1953 and featured a re-enactment of the Hindenburg disaster. The final telecast took place on October 13, 1957.
Originally telecast live, most of the later episodes were produced on film. One of the episodes, for instance, features actor Pat Conway as James J. Corbett, the boxer who fought champion John L. Sullivan in 1892.
The series also featured various key events in American and world history, portrayed in dramatic recreations. Additionally, CBS News reporters, in modern-day suits, would report on the action and interview the protagonists of each of the historical episodes. Each episode would begin with the characters setting the scene. Cronkite, from his anchor desk in New York, would give a few words on what was about to happen. An announcer would then give the date and the event, followed by a loud and boldly spoken "You Are There!"
At the end of the program, after Cronkite summarizes what happened in the preceding event, he reminded viewers, "What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times... all things are as they were then, and you were there."
The program was seen again on Saturday morning as a videotaped color program from 1971 to 1972. The format of the revival was basically the same as the original versions. These programs were also hosted by Cronkite. Both series were produced by CBS News.
From 2000 to 2005, Cronkite presented a series of essays for National Public Radio, reflecting on various key events of his life, including his involvement in You Are There in the 1950s.
22 episodes of the 1950s version of You Are There are available on DVD from Woodhaven Entertainment. The 1970s version is currently not available on video or DVD. Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications has 20 episodes available for on-site viewing only. Both versions have also been made available to schools on 16mm film for educational purposes.
Some episodes of the radio and television version are available for sale commercially. CBS retains the copyrights.
In popular culture
- The 1950s edition was briefly parodied in a Merrie Melodies cartoon, Wideo Wabbit, featuring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, as Fudd's pursuit of Bugs lands him in a re-enactment of Custer's Last Stand.
- On one of the "Classic 39" episodes of The Honeymooners, Art Carney as Norton---hearing Jackie Gleason as Ralph say he had a plan to get wife Alice (Audrey Meadows) to give him the money to go to the Raccoon Lodge convention---launched into this soliloquy parodying You Are There's famous catchphrase: May 3, 1953. Ralph Kramden . . . in search . . . for money . . . for capital . . . to enter his No-Cal Pizzeria . . . He says, "I have a sure-fire plan of getting the money, it can't fail!" . . . Alice Kramden says, "No!" . . . unquote . . . all things are as they were then, except you are there!
- The series was parodied on The Ernie Kovacs Show as "Vas You Dere?" The cast performed a lampoon of the stabbing of Julius Caesar, presented as a carnival act.
- The series was parodied on The Electric Company in a sketch titled You Weren't There. "You weren't born yet, you were out of town, or you just weren't paying attention," says the narrator.
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946 – Present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh (Ballantine Books, New York, 1995)
- Radio Drama: American Programs, 1932–1962 by Martin Grams (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, North Carolina, 2000)