You Are There (series)
|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|
|Producers||James D. Fonda|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Original release||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. Events that were covered included the Battle of Hastings, the execution of Joan of Arc and the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire by Hernán Cortés. Additionally, CBS News reporters, in modern-day suits, reported on the action and interviewed the protagonists of each of the historical episodes. Each episode began with the characters setting the scene. Cronkite, from his anchor desk in New York City, gave a few words on what was about to happen. An announcer then gave the date and the event, followed by a loud and boldly spoken "You are there!"
At the end of the program, after Cronkite summarized 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, except 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.
Notable guest stars:
- John Cassavetes as Plato in "The Death of Socrates"
- James Dean as Robert Ford in "The Capture of Jesse James"
- Vivi Janiss as Mrs. Gilchrist in "Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941)"
- Paul Newman as Marcus Brutus in "The Assassination of Julius Caesar" and as Nathan Hale in "The Fate of Nathan Hale"
- Jeanette Nolan as Sarah Bernhardt in "The Final Performance of Sarah Bernhardt"
- Kim Stanley as Cleopatra in "The Death of Cleopatra"
- Rod Steiger as Richard Burbage in "The First Command Performance of Romeo and Juliet"
- Beatrice Straight as Anne Boleyn in "The Crisis of Anne Boleyn"
- Joanne Woodward in "The Oklahoma Land Rush"
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 VHS 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 a segment of The Victor Borge Show which featured journalist Mike Wallace interviewing Franz Liszt (played by Borge) through a "time window". Wallace opened the interview by asking "Are you there?" in a similar style to the series' opening.
- 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 Evangelical Christian radio program Adventures in Odyssey used the device of a modern news room reporting on past events for their "O.T. Action News" segments.
- The series was parodied in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Titled "You Are There", the episode features a modern-day reporter doggedly following and interviewing various characters (believed to be real, historical figures within the premise of the TV show), both in the field and a studio setting.
- 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)
- Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 476. ISBN 978-0823083152. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- "You Are There". Audio Karma. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- "You Are There Radio Broadcast Log". Audio Classics. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- Anderson, Steve (2001). Television Histories: Shaping Collective Memory in the Media Age. University Press of Kentucky.