Rick Sebak

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Rick Sebak
Rick Sebak.jpg
Sebak at Fresh Fest 2019 at Nova Place on Pittsburgh's North Side. (Pittsburgh)
Richard Sebak

(1953-06-05) June 5, 1953 (age 66)
OccupationFilm director and producer
Known forDocumentary films
"Zen of Yinz", Mural of Rick in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh by Brian Gonella

Richard "Rick" Sebak[1] (born 1953) is an American public broadcasting television producer, writer and narrator who lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States.

Sebak is the creator of the "scrapbook documentary" genre,[2] many of which he has created for WQED and PBS.[3] This scrapbook style incorporates lots of old films, home movies, postcards, old photos and memorabilia of all sorts. Rick does not appear on-camera in these programs, but audiences have learned to recognize his voice and distinctive narrative style.

Sebak attended Bethel Park High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate.

His work is supported by the Buhl Foundation.[4]

Sebak's first foray in the nostalgia documentary is the 1984 documentary Shag for South Carolina ETV, about a dance popular in the region. Four years later at WQED, Sebak produced The Mon, The Al & The O, about the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio rivers, which meet to form at Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle; and Kennywood Memories, about Kennywood, a historic local amusement park.

As of March 2006, 313,227 copies of Sebak's films had been sold or given away as pledge gifts by public television stations nationwide, which WQED credits with largely helping it become financially solvent.[5] Sebak's scrapbook documentary format has been copied by other stations, many of whom see record pledge drive numbers when their documentaries air at pledge time.[3]

For his 25th year at the station, WQED produced a program called What Makes Rick Tick.[6] Special photos of Sebak to celebrate this 25th anniversary were added to Yinztagram.[7] The City of Pittsburgh declared the 1st week of December "Rick Sebak Week."[8]


  • The Mon, The Al & The O (1988)
  • Kennywood Memories (1988)
  • Holy Pittsburgh! (1989)
  • Our Neighbor Fred Rogers (Two versions: 1989, 1990)
  • Flying Off The Bridge To Nowhere! And Other Tales Of Pittsburgh Bridges (1990)
  • Things That Aren’t There Anymore (1990)
  • Downtown Pittsburgh (1992)
  • The Pennsylvania Road Show (1992)
  • Pennsylvania Diners And Other Roadside Restaurants (1993)
  • Stuff That’s Gone (1994)
  • Houses Around Here (1994)
  • The Strip Show (1996)
  • An Ice Cream Show (1996)
  • Shore Things (1996)
  • North Side Story (1997)
  • South Side (1998)
  • Things That Are Still Here (1999)
  • A Hot Dog Program (1999)
  • Great Old Amusement Parks (1999)
  • Something About Oakland (2000)
  • Pittsburgh A To Z (2001)
  • A Flea Market Documentary (2001)
  • Sandwiches That You Will Like (2002)
  • Happy Holidays in Pittsburgh (2002)
  • Things We've Made (2003)
  • Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor (2003)
  • It's the Neighborhoods (2004)
  • A Program About Unusual Buildings & Other Roadside Stuff is a 2004 PBS documentary that showcases mimetic and novelty buildings across the United States.
  • A Cemetery Special (2005)
  • What Makes Pittsburgh Pittsburgh (2006)
  • Underground Pittsburgh (2007)
  • To Market To Market To Buy A Fat Pig (2007)
  • Invented, Engineered, and Pioneered in Pittsburgh (2008)
  • A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway (2008)
  • Right Beside the River (2009)
  • Breakfast Special (July 2010)
  • Breakfast Special 2: Revenge of the Omelets (November 2012)
  • 25 Things I Like About Pittsburgh (2012)
  • A History of Pittsburgh in 17 Objects (2014)
  • A Few Good Pie Places (2015)
  • A Few Great Bakeries (2015)
  • Return to Downtown Pittsburgh (2016)
  • Another Trip Downtown (2016)
  • A Short History Of Route 88 (2018)
  • Meat Pittsburgh (2018)
  • People Who've Written Books Around Here" (2018)
  • Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer (2018)
  • That Kennywood Summer (2019)
  • Don't Stand Up (2019)
  • My Interview With Fred (2019)
  • My Seven Weeks In Magee (2019)


  1. ^ See this source, which refers to Sebak as Richard; he is nearly always, however, credited as Rick.
  2. ^ WQED: Meet Rick Sebak
  3. ^ a b Happy history: At pledge time, is that all there is?
  4. ^ Sciullo, Maria (December 9, 2012). "Pittsburgh is an adventure with Rick Sebak". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
  5. ^ WQED: Financial picture getting brighter for public television pioneer
  6. ^ Ramirez, Chris (November 25, 2012). "'Local treasure' Rick Sebak celebrates milestone with WQED". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  7. ^ "Rick Sebak Celebrated 25 Years at WQED Pittsburgh". WQED. November 12, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  8. ^ Potter, Chris (December 5, 2012). "Past Perfect: 25 Years of Rick Sebak". Pittsburgh City Paper.

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