Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Premiere of a Blog

This marks the first in a series of blogs following the progress of WGBY's documentaries scheduled for distribution early in 2008. So, what's happening?

First, let me explain that this series will illustrate the importance of "America's Printmakers" as a precursor to today's mass media and to our sense of national identity. The series will also give the audience the chance to get to know the men behind the famous business. Finally, it will reveal the surprise of Currier & Ives -- prints you never would have guessed came from the publishers famous for their homey winter scenes!

I'm the Executive Producer of "Currier & Ives: Perspectives on America" and I came on board in April. Since then, I've shaped the series (3 half-hour documentaries to air on PBS) and its themes, lined up a powerhouse list of interview subjects, established a production schedule, got to know a rather complicated budget, made travel plans for shoots outside of WGBY's studios in Springfield, Massachusetts and much more.

We're still working on finding the right narrator and music for the shows but the "look" for the studio interviews is in place and it is terrific! Best of all, it will give Currier & Ives fans the chance to see even more of the firm's prints.

I conducted our first interview just yesterday with Georgia Barnhill, a print expert who gives important context to Nathaniel Currier's early years and tells some colorful stories about his competition.

Up next, a fascinating historian who makes the case for Currier & Ives as the very first example of mass media. He'll also take on the controversial subject of the firm's Darktown series.

I'll keep you posted.


albert said...

Hello Mary, I really like your web site. I was wondering if any Currier and Ives prints have ever been on a US Postal stamp.

Mary Steele said...

I asked the local Post Office the same question! An employee tells me that there is only one: a depiction of "The Road-Winter" that was used for a Christmas stamp back in 1974.

In addition, I found that a Currier & Ives lithograph of Ben Franklin's legendary electricity experiment with a kite is used as part of a 2006 U.S. Postal Stamp series featuring Franklin. Thanks for your good question!