RESCUED TREASURES: THE GREAT IDEAS Television Series
A Relatively Unknown Story about Mortimer Adler
by Max Weismann
The story begins fifty years ago in the San Francisco Bay area when an extraordinary educational event took place -- Mortimer Adler made his television debut.
Unbeknownst to most of us, in the years 1953 and 1954 Mortimer Adler hosted a live, half-hour, weekly television series comprised of 52 programs entitled THE GREAT IDEAS. These programs were produced by the Institute for Philosophical Research and were carried as a public service by the American Broadcasting Company, presented by (NET) National Educational Television, the precursor to what is now PBS.
Unfortunately, only Bay-area residents were privileged to see and hear Dr. Adler deliver these highly instructive and penetrating programs. Were it not for the forethought of Dr. Adler and his colleagues to film each telecast (as this was a time before videotape) they would have been lost. Sadly, since that time, these films have rested undisturbed in the Institute's storage room in Chicago.
Then the building that housed the Institute was going to be razed forcing Dr. Adler and his staff to move into the Encyclopedia Britannica head-quarters. Fortunately during this move, these films were found and rescued. I am pleased to report that Dr. Adler has donated these films to the Center as it has been his wish to make these films readily available as inexpensively as possible to you, educational institutions, and the general public.
The happiest ending to this story would be to carry out Dr. Adler's wish and release these programs while at the same time preserving these outstanding examples of our intellectual and educational history. To accomplish this, we conducted a fund-raising campaign to underwrite the cost of restoring and transferring these films to video. We are pleased to announce that the campaign was successful and has provided the necessary funds to produce this video retrospective.
These programs will now make Dr. Adler's work available to our universities, colleges, high schools, libraries, fellow citizens, and particularly to our young people who may not be aware of his important contributions. These half-hour programs are the perfect length for use in your home, office, classrooms, or discussion groups. The fifty-two (52) different program titles on twenty-two (22) video cassettes are listed below.
I cannot begin to convey to you how profound and instructive these programs are. Although television presentation techniques have improved drastically since then, it is the content of these programs that remains timeless and relevant to our world today.
The entire DVD set
may be obtained for a $395 donation.