In the last few blog posts, we have focused on highlighting local TV shows that WJZ-TV produced: you could see your teacher recite poetry and your friends dance to a local band, or you could learn about the history of Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue and traditions from the Eastern Shore. We hate to admit it, but if you aren’t from around here, these stories might not interest you. While the WJZ-TV Collection is an essential asset to preserving the history of the local community, its worth goes far beyond documenting the Mid-Atlantic: there are topics of interest to people from all over the globe!
As a network affiliate TV station, WJZ-TV would produce a certain percentage of programming, and then their parent network station would send different stories to air within their programs. During every broadcast of “Eyewitness News” there were national stories with footage sent from the network. So when we digitize the tape from September 17, 1978, there will be coverage of local stories mixed in with coverage of the Camp David Accords and President Jimmy Carter. Or when we digitize the tape from October 25, 1983, there will be footage of the US invading Grenada and President Ronald Reagan mixed with footage of upcoming Baltimore Halloween celebrations.
This connection to a network also opened up opportunities for famous performers and personalities to meet with WJZ if they were passing through Baltimore or nearby areas. This is how WJZ’s “Evening Magazine” was able to conduct extremely rare and intimate interviews with Muhammad Ali in 1977 and Ella Fitzgerald in 1981.
There are events or topics that non-Baltimoreans might find interesting in order to study or remember how they were covered at the time. For example, I for one am eager to watch the “Eyewitness News” New Years Eve Millennium Special from the night of December 31, 1999; or the 1985 “City Line” tribute to Prince; or the 1978 “Evening Magazine” story on women who box;or the 1986 local debate show discussing homosexuality and civil rights; or the raw camera footage from the filming of a 1986 special called “Friends in the Holy Land” where a Baltimore teen was sent to the Middle East to report back on teenage life there.
There’s footage of John Waters, Donald Trump, Dolly Parton, Adam West, and did we mention Oprah?! The list of interesting footage and intriguing video labels goes on and on. You can follow our Twitter account as we update you on labels that fascinate and/or confuse us: @ChrnclsOfMARMIA
As you can see, there’s a massive amount of the WJZ-TV Collection that would be considered valuable and cherished by viewers all over the world–but only if MARMIA gets the opportunity to digitize and preserve it! Please consider donating to our crowdfunding campaign and sharing it with others. Thank you!