Sunday, May 24, 2015

"Rainbow Quest" - Pete Seeger and Guests

There was nothing on television to hold my interest the other night and so I turned to You Tube. There are so many things I would like to watch on there that I never take time for. And, with so many new things to discover on there, I will never catch up. Contrasted with the constant clicking associated with channel surfing, it was kind of nice to settle into something different for almost an hour.

The Pete Seeger "Rainbow Quest" series ran for 1 season on Channel 47, the UHF mostly Spanish speaking TV station, from 1965-66. I ran into it a couple of times by accident while fooling with the UHF antenna when; you guessed it; nothing worthwhile was on regular TV. So, how ironic is it that I should run into the same problem 50 years later and find the same solution in Pete Seeger both times?

This show is typical of all 39 52 minute episodes. There is no audience; which adds to the stark quality; I mean Pete was the "sing along with guy". He was the Mitch Miller of folk music. Actually, Miller took that page from Pete's book.

The list of gusts on the Rainbow Quest shows will knock you out. Everyone from Donovan to June Carter and Jonhny Cash, Judy Collins, Buffy St. Marie, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee are just some of them.

Naturally the show didn't make it. How many of you actually fooled with UHF at all in New York City? Actually I had forgotten all about the shows until I read the book "Red Scare" a few; well, several years ago. That book deals with the McCarthy Era and the blacklists; which included Pete Seeger. If you don't know about his role in that shameful episode of government overreach you should look it up sometime.

But it wasn't until I was re-reading it last year that I took the time to watch any of the shows again on You Tube. Maybe it's the passage of time; or the passing of the people on these shows; but time has made them even better than I remembered. If you're bored, take a listen and see.

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