Monday, November 30, 2009

Anyone for Tennyson (TV)

Produced by
Nebraska Public Television
Starring Cynthia Herman, Jill Tanner, George Backman and Paul Hecht.
Wikipedia Entry

Back in the mid-70s on our local public TV station, Sunday night was Monty Python night.  The show was broadcast every week at 10:30.  That mean, of course, that you couldn't watch the typical one-hour show broadcast in that slot.  So, without cable, you were pretty much committed to watching PBS.

That's how I discovered Anyone for Tennyson.

The show was based on an idea that only PBS would come up with:  live poetry readings. Each show had a theme, and a group of actors would give a dramatic reading of various poems that fit the theme, often in locations with a connection to it (e.g., Mystic Seaport for poems of the Sea; Gettysburg for Civil War poems, Stratfor-on-Avon for Shakespeare's verse).

I was hooked.  The actor/readers did more than just recite the words; they brought the poetry to life, not only expressing the words, but acting out the emotions of the poems.

Various guest stars would appear to join in, people like Vincent Price, Ruby Dee, Will Geer, Darren McGavin, and LeVar Burton.  They had as much fun with their poems as the regular cast.

The show ran for three seasons and 50 shows.  Some are available on DVD, but I'd love to see the entire run.  It was a delight for anyone who loves poetry and language.


Yappa said...

In my search for info about Anyone for Tennyson I found your post... I wish I could find videos. I only ever saw it when it was on in the 70s but I've never forgotten it.

...Now I'll go look at the rest of your blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Try which has some of the episodes on DVD, it seems. I loved the program as well!

Quarksoup said...

Does anyone have a copy of these? I can't find them to download or purchase. They aren't on YouTube either.

Margaret Leona Garnto said...

I remember watching Anyone for Tennyson on our local PBS station in Orlando, Florida, which was WMFE-TV, in 1977. My favorite episode was "A Poetic Feast " which was hosted by Vincent Price. I wish that episode of the show was available on YouTube or the Dailymotion app so that I could see it again. Yours truly, Margaret Garnto.