Review: ‘30 Years of National Geographic Specials’

The I-remember-that-one reactions add to the delight; for those unfamiliar with the docs, the two-hour intro should be a revelation.

The I-remember-that-one reactions add to the delight; for those unfamiliar with the docs, the two-hour intro should be a revelation.

Program highlights the incredible camerawork of various lensers over the years with slick editing supervised by NGS chief film editor Barry Nye and overall narration by Richard Kiley.

New adventures and new worlds marked every chapter.

(Past seg narrators included Burgess Meredith, Stacy Keach, Pernell Roberts, Powers Booth, William Shatner, Jack Palance, Christopher Plummer, Denzel Washington, Alexander Scourby, F. Murray Abraham, Orson Welles and Kiley.)

Animals, nations, rivers, rain forests, underground caves, the stratosphere, ocean bottoms, Herculaneum’s remains, humans and so on have been subjects of NGS’ crack inquiring photographers.

An excerpt from the first NGS film, the 1917 “The Valley of the 10,000 Smokes ,” zips by; part of the first NGS telecast, “Americans on Everest,” which aired in 1965 on CBS and was narrated by Welles, was made on 16mm film.

Not many programs can boast educational and entertainment values over three decades, but the National Geographic Society sure can.

CBS carried the hour till ’73, when ABC hosted it for a year. PBS picked it up in ’75, and now NBC will carry 10 new spex over the next two years. The pleasure’s spread all around.

30 Years of National Geographic Specials

(Wed. (25), 9-11 p.m., NBC)


Filmed by National Geographic Society. Executive producer, Nicholas Noxon; supervising producer, Teresa Koenig; producers, Gail Willumsen, Barry Nye; writer, Willumsen.


Editor, Nye; music, Jay Chattaway.


Narrator: Richard Kiley. NBC, the only net not to have carried the National Geographic spex (a situation that's about to be remedied), logs in with clips from past programs both dazzling and seductive. A promo for both the mag and the spex, this two-hour creme de la creme tantalizes as the clips spin by.
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