The Big Picture (TV series)
The Big Picture is an American documentary television program which aired on ABC-TV from 1951 to 1964. The series consisted of documentary films produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service, showing weaponry, battles, and biographies of famous soldiers.
The half-hour weekly program featured famous or before-they-were-famous actors and actresses in quality productions, filmed on the Astoria stages, which is now Kaufman Astoria Studios which is a historic movie studio located in the Astoria section of the New York City borough of Queens. The host and narrator was Army Master Sergeant Stuart Queen (1919–1981)—a World War II veteran and Korean War combat broadcaster. Though Master Sgt. Queen is referred to as both a host and narrator, he essentially introduced the profiles that were narrated by such luminaries as Alexander Scourby, Walter Cronkite, Raymond Massey, and Ronald Reagan. In the 1950s, the series was shot on 35mm black-and-white negative, but by the end of the 1960s, it was using 16mm color negative.
From the official government catalog: "THE BIG PICTURE is the official television report by the U.S. Army to its members and to the American people. Subject matter for episodes ranges from historic moments in the Army's proud history to up-to-the-moment coverage of current actions and accomplishments."
As an official work of the United States government, The Big Picture was never eligible for copyright and has always been in the public domain, thus allowing it to be distributed far and wide without restriction. The National Archives and Records Administration has made individual episodes of The Big Picture available via Amazon and the Internet Archive, where they can be downloaded for free. Episode DVDs can also be copied for free by visitors to NARA's College Park, Maryland, facility. Many complete episodes and clips have been posted on YouTube.
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