Television: The Ultimate Drug

About This Item

Please note: the original program aired on KQED Ch. 9. This version is 2 minutes shorter, as extended sequences featuring images from the movie 'Being There' and television shows 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' and 'Hill Street Blues' have been replaced by screen titles because of licensing issues. The sound from voiceovers and interviews in these segments can still be heard. A fast paced, video magazine show which reflects on the rapid evolution and powerful influence of television on American society. Produced in 1981 by San Francisco based independent studio Videowest. See their website for more details:

Includes interviews with producer Norman Lear, writers Harlan Ellison and Jerzy Kosinski and a profile of Philo T. Farnsworth, who invented the first fully electronic television system and sent the first transmitted signal at his 202 Green Street laboratory in San Francisco, on September 7th, 1927. Farnsworth's wife Elma "Pem" Farnsworth" (1908-2006) and son Philo Farnsworth III are interviewed for this segment. Also featured are reports on a collector of vintage television sets, network TV shows 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' and 'Hill Street Blues' and a brief look at a San Francisco cable show 'The Gay Dating Game'.

Originally aired on
Date aired
Recording medium
3/4" U-matic video tape
Rights for this video belong to
Type of material
Video journal program
VW38 mp4 edit

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Watch me as a young man on TV The Ultimate Drug. 

i love it..

I hope you will restore and post some of the Videowest Backstage Pass shows.  I loved watching them when I was in junior high school so many years ago.  Thanks for preserving and posting this material!

I'm so glad to see some VideoWest again; it was so inspirational to me when I was a teenager.

I hope you'll put the "San Francisco Rocks" episode online!  I've probably not seen it since 1980 (1981?).  I think it had Commander Cody, the Dickheads and No Sisters, but it also had some unbelievably catchy song ("2 Up, 3 Down" were in the lyrics) that's been a mystery to me, for like thirty years!  I've always wondered who recorded the song, and if I'd ever hear it again.

Thank you! I loved this program in he 80's and I thought it might have ended up in the dust bin after all these years. I would love to see some of the details of who and what made this very original show possible; for example the host narrators name. I believe it was  Skoop Nisker doing the man on the street interviews. Keep up the great work bringing this show back to life.

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