What’s on TV?

Searching newspapers for items about the California condor inevitably turns up mentions of the condor in newspapers’ television listings. Considered en masse, these listings tell part of the story of the human-condor relationship. Here are 19 listings from a handful of newspapers, including from Australia and the UK.

The listings below include all available details that provide context. For a few listings, only the program or series title was provided. For some others, the listings took the form of “mini” reviews. I have done some minor editing of the listings.

With one notable exception, I do not include reruns.

The listings are in chronological order. The dates shown are those of the newspaper issue’s publication. The programs may have aired at a later date.

1969

B.B.C. 2’s new series of The World About Us opened last night with a film about wild life in California and the admirable attempts being made at conservation. The shots of the Californian condor, sea otters, snow geese and grey whales were fascinating but Dick Graham’s souped up, over-alliterative commentary had me reaching for cotton wool to stuff in my ears. (Times [London], June 30)

1973

World of Disney – A California teenager is fascinated with the soaring majesty of the California condor. He decides to become a sailplane pilot and earn soaring’s highest honor. (Washington Post, April 15)

1981

Wild Kingdom – “To Save the Condor” (Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 21)

No Man’s Valley – Animated special about a small band of California condors whose welfare is threatened when the construction crew begins building on their sanctuary. Features the voices of Henry Corden, Frank Buxton and Art Metrano. (Iowa City Press-Citizen, November 21)

1985

Nature Watch – Julian Pettifer examines the plight of the California condor, a magnificent bird with a nine-foot wing span. Their numbers have now fallen below a viable breeding population and Pettifer asks Dr Noel Snyder what can be done about the problem. The last programme of the series. (Times [London], December 23)

1986

Saturday, WTBS premieres a World of Audubon Special about the endangered condor, the bird that the Indians of southern California believed would carry the souls of the dead to heaven. Robert Redford narrates the film, which shows all six of the remaining wild birds, the largest land birds in North America. (Washington Post, February 23)

1988

Great Moments from Nature – Retrospective from first five seasons of “Nature”, including animal segments on California condor, polar bear and leopard. (New York Times, March 25)

Our God the Condor (Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 3)

1990

New Wilderness – A recovery team works to save the California Condor. (Washington Post, March 4)

1991

Best of Walt Disney Presents: Boy Who Flew With the Condors (Iowa City Press-Citizen, August 3)

1993

Nova – “Shadow of the Condor”. The endangered California condor; the Andean condor flourishes in South America. (New York Times, November 14)

1994

Newton’s Apple – The technology of Imax-Omnimax films; the physics of archery; energy-efficient light bulbs; saving the California condor. (Washington Post, June 5)

1995

Real Science! – A wildlife biologist working with the California Condor Recovery project; two University of Washington School of Fisheries professors. (Washington Post, November 12)

1996

How’d They Do That? Bo Jackson’s remarkable rehabilitation; aerial acrobatics of the Blue Angels; return of the California condor; the oldest human remains. (Washington Post, February 4)

1998

California Condor: Disappearing Dinosaur (Sunday Times [London], April 12)

1999

Wild Tales – Contrasting America’s favourite bird, the Californian condor, with the fortunes of its least popular animal, the coyote. (Times [London], March 20)

2000

Condor – Coyote (Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 25)

2001

Wild Ones: Birds of Prey – In evolutionary terms raptors have it all – deadly talons, a lethal beak, acute eyesight, perfect hearing. These birds of prey can also soar like, well, eagles. They are streamlined killing machines. What they lack is a defence against humans. For example, the magnificent Californian condor, with a wingspan of 3.5m, slipped perilously close to extinction a few years ago due to power lines, pesticides and loss of habitat. This is an illuminating look at these beautiful creatures. (Australian February 1)

2006

The Living Edens: Big Sur, California’s Wild Coast – This documentary from US public broadcaster PBS looks at the wildlife living at Big Sur, a 160 km stretch of coastal land in southern California. It boasts unique wildlife including the once endangered Californian condor and elephant seals. The sight of an elephant seal giving birth is not something you forget in a hurry. (Australian, September 9)

The documentary Our God the Condor (1988) is about the Andean condor. I do not know what the program Condor – Coyote (2000) is about. All other programs are definitely about the California condor.

I will be writing about some of these programs in future posts.

A TV program not listed above is the subject of a previous post: A 1953 television show.