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Action Speaks! — An American Family

The Loud Family The topic for this Wednesday’s installment of Action Speaks! at AS220 is the 1973 PBS show ‘An American Family’ often cited as television’s first reality show. Pat and Bill Loud were living in affluent Santa Barbara, California with their five teenagers when they agreed to let cameras document their lives for seven months. This was unheard of at the time and the show was a sensation.

Action Speaks! looks at contemporary issues through the lens of history by using under-appreciated dates of the 20th century that have changed America.

For the 2011 season, Action Speaks! looks at the disappearing border between conflict and amusement and what it portends for good TV. Join host Marc Levitt and guest panelists for some old-fashioned community exchange.

During the show’s original run viewers watched as the Loud marriage fell apart and son Lance told his family that he was gay (something no one else in America needed to be told). A recent dramatization, ‘Cinema Verite’ with Tim Robbins and Diane Lane, was a behind the scenes look at the filmmakers as they became too involved with the family; it was an ambitious failure. The local PBS affiliate recently ran ‘An American Family: Anniversary Edition’ a two-hour condensation  of the original 12-hour show. Try to watch that.

Free, 5:30pm to 7pm, Wednesday, Action Speaks!, October 19, AS220, 115 Empire Street