The Computer Chronicles Anthology (1984)
by Stewart Cheifet
Videos in this documentary
The Computer Chronicles (1984-2002)
Hosted by Stewart Cheifet, Computer Chronicles was the world's most popular television program on personal technology during the height of the personal computer revolution. It was broadcast for twenty years from 1983 - 2002. The program was seen on more than 300 television stations in the United States and in over 100 countries worldwide, with translations into French, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. The series had a weekly television broadcast audience of over two million viewers.
The series has been recognized for its journalistic excellence, winning a variety of journalistic awards including more than a dozen from the prestigious Computer Press Association. The series covered high-tech subjects around the world, having shot programs in such various locations as Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Spain, and Taiwan. Computer Chronicles was based in the Silicon Valley area of California.
Many of the series programs are distributed on video to corporations and educational institutions for use in computer training. Computer Chronicles program segments have also been bundled with various computer text books by major publishers.
The Computer Chronicles was a US television series, broadcast during 1981-2002, which documented the rise of the personal computer from its infancy to the immense market at the turn of the century. The series was created in the Fall of 1981, by Stewart Cheifet (later co-host), then the station manager of the College of San Mateo's KCSM-TV, initially broadcast as a local weekly series. Jim Warren was its founding host for its 1981-1982 season. It aired continuously from 1981 to 2002 with Cheifet co-hosting most of its later seasons. Gary Kildall served as co-host for six years (1983 to 1990) providing insights and commentary on products as well as discussions on the future of the ever-expanding personal computer sphere.
During the 1980s, the show had many supporting presenters including:
* George Morrow: Presenter and commentator who for a time headed the Morrow Design company, Morrow was a well known face on the Chronicles until the 1990s. Morrow died in 2003.
* Paul Schindler: Featured predominantly in software reviews, Schindler contributed to the series until the early 1990s.
* Wendy Woods: Provided reports for many software and hardware products, as well as talking with the main presenters in the studio about specific topics.
The Computer Chronicles format remained relatively unchanged throughout its run, except perhaps with the noticeable difference in presenting style; originally formal it evolved into a more relaxed, casual style. From 1984 onward the last five minutes or so featured Random Access, a section which gave the viewer the latest computer news from the home and business markets. Stewart Chiefet, Janelle Stelson and various other individuals presented the segment. Random Access was discontinued in 1994.
Despite performing well in the ratings in the United States and being broadcast throughout the world, the Computer Chronicles was cancelled in 2002. Almost all episodes of Computer Chronicles have been made available for free download at the Internet Archive. Many episodes of the show have been dubbed into other languages including Arabic, French and Spanish.