One in this educational public affairs series that traces the origins and development of the American musical theater and examines the careers and contributions of the creative artists who have made the musical a native American art form. In an informal workshop setting, New York City high school students meet the composers, lyricists, and performers who have shaped the American musical and question them about their work. In this edition, singer/actor Harry Belafonte speaks about his life and career. After the CBS Orchestra opens the program with "Down by the Riverside," Belafonte discusses the following topics: his upcoming recording of music from the musical theater, and his opinion that this genre exerts a predominant influence over the popular and folk music of the day; his experiences on Broadway, the development of his one-man show, and the benefits and drawbacks of performing alone versus with other artists; the reasons he rarely appears on television; his study of acting, and the lack of opportunities for black actors -- leading him to a career in music; his love of the theater over all other creative arts; the effect that growing up in the West Indies had in his being drawn toward calypso music, and his fight to avoid being identified exclusively with that type of music; his beginnings as a singer, the influences of hearing classic folk tunes as a child, how the superficiality of popular music led him to gravitate toward folk expression, and the effect music has had on his life and career; and his admiration for the experimental and provocative nature of off-Broadway productions. Closing the program, Belafonte sings "Try to Remember," from the off-Broadway hit, "The Fantasticks," as an example of a superior marriage of lyrics, emotion, and melody in music.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by a grant from the GRAMMY Foundation.


  • DATE: December 2, 1962 Sunday 11:30 AM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:28:52
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:55048
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: African-American Collection - Music
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965


  • Ned Cramer … Producer
  • Ethel Burns … Associate Producer
  • Anthony Farrar … Director
  • Robert DeCormier … Conductor
  • CBS Orchestra, The … Music Group
  • Harry Belafonte … Guest, Singer
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