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George Page

George Page (1935-2006) was the creator, host and narrator of NATURE. And from 1982, when NATURE first went on air, until his retirement in 1998, it was George's unforgettably deep and sonorous voice telling stories of beauty, wonder and might in nature.

Page's innovative idea for a series of in-depth stories from the natural world would eventually grow to be one of the highest-rated and most popular shows on PBS. But its beginnings were tenuous to say the least. NATURE's Executive Producer Fred Kaufman was a part of the NATURE series from its inception. "We were all kind of learning as we went along. In those days it wasn't quite like it is today. Nobody thought it would be a 25-year series. In the early days it was about how inexpensively we can do this. We had to fundraise and overcome lots of hurdles. But we did very well."

It was George's insatiable curiosity that led him first to a career as a journalist and then to NATURE. His profound sense of wonder at the natural world became a guiding light for the series. "George always wanted NATURE to teach and say something important -- science was important to George," says Kaufman.

Over the years, George and the NATURE team developed a signature look and feel for the series -- which they still adhere to today. "NATURE is never flashy," says Kaufman, "the music and effects are very studied, intelligent."

George Page
George Page (1935-2006) was the creator, host, and narrator of NATURE.
The series aimed to educate its viewers about the natural environment without sermonizing. George and the production team settled early upon an approach they still maintain to this day: show viewers the natural world; never tell them what they should feel. This commitment to objectivity allowed the series to focus on compelling stories and inspiring filmmaking. "The goal of the series was always to explain the natural world -- animal behavior, ecosystems. The subplot was always conservation," says Kaufman.

When throat cancer forced George to retire in 1998, NATURE was left without its voice. And the series' producers were left with the difficult decision about how to go on without George. "I felt strongly that we weren't going to have another host right away," says Kaufman. "Since George narrated the shows and hosted them they had a very specific identity and sound."

The series may be narrated by new voices, but George Page's vision and ideals in nature filmmaking have influenced the series forever. With ever more competition from a vast array of cable channels, NATURE is still strong 25 years later.

"I think George would be thrilled with Nature today. I don't think there would be NATURE without him," says Kaufman.

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