TV Programs

January - December 1976

Predictable Disaster
It is now possible to predict earthquakes. At least two successful predictions have already been made in the United States; and the NOVA crew was present and filming while a third prediction was being formulated. NOVA looks at why earthquakes occur, how predictions are made, the threat they pose to cities at risk, and examines the advantages and disadvantages of making an earthquake a predictable disaster.
Original broadcast date: 01/04/76
Topic: geology/earthquakes & volcanoes

NOVA takes viewers into the world of Joey Deacon, 54 years old and a spastic since birth. Joey has lived most of his life in institutions, unable to communicate with anyone until he met Ernie Roberts. The docudrama recreates Joey's story, with remarkable performances by two spastic actors portraying him as a boy and as a young man. Joey and Ernie themselves appear in the final sequences.
Original broadcast date: 01/11/76
Topic: medicine/health care & surgery

Meditation and the Mind
What do singer Peggy Lee, New York Jets Quarterback Joe Namath and Congressman Richard Nolas have in common? They all practice a ritual called TM—Transcendental Meditation. NOVA examines the recent phenomenal success of the TM movement in America.
Original broadcast date: 01/18/76
Topic: psychology

Planets (The)
The last fourteen years have been a revolution in our understanding of our place in the stars, the Solar System. Beginning in 1961 with a Russian spacecraft flying to Venus, quickening with the Apollo manned missions to the Moon, it came of age in the Spring of 1974, when there were six spacecrafts traveling simultaneously from the Earth to the planets. NOVA looks at the era of manned and unmanned exploration of the Solar System.
Original broadcast date: 01/25/76
Topic: astronomy/space exploration

Desert Place (A)
NOVA explores the mysterious ecosystem of the desert: a snowstorm; a lashing summer monsoon; and the emergence—in a pool created only minutes before—of a pair of adult spadefoot toads. Toads who had been waiting beneath the sand for a year for this brief and fortuitous moment to procreate the next generation...
Original broadcast date: 02/01/76
Topic: environment/ecology

Small Imperfection (A)
Every year, some 5,000 babies are born in the US with spina bifida, a congenital abnormality of the central nervous system. NOVA explores the mystery of what causes spina bifida and raises the issues of whether heroic measures should be taken to preserve the life of severely malformed babies.
Original broadcast date: 02/08/76
Topic: medicine/disease & research

Ninety Degrees Below
There's one place on earth where no one will ever catch a cold. And the freezing waters are so bitter there that a fish has been discovered to have developed its own anti-freeze. NOVA explores Antarctica—the coldest desert in the world.
Original broadcast date: 02/15/76
Topic: environment/ecology

Race for the Double Helix (The)
Author Isaac Asimov joins NOVA in the retelling of the remarkable story of the discovery of the structure of DNA. James Watson and his ex-colleague Francis Crick exchange memories of the events which led to their winning the race for the structure of the gene.
Original broadcast date: 03/07/76
Topic: genetics

Renewable Tree (The)
Each Sunday edition of the New York Times consumes 153 acres of trees. The paper packs, napkins, paper cups and packing used by McDonald's gobble up 315 square miles of trees every day. NOVA asks if, at this rate, trees can remain a renewable resource.
Original broadcast date: 03/07/76
Topic: plants/agriculture

Williamsburgh File (The)
NOVA joins chief archaeologist, Ivor Noel Hume, of Colonial Williamsburg, VA, for a fascinating glimpse of the lifestyles of the founders of this country, complete with detailed reconstructions of houses, stores, workshops, gardens, taverns and palaces.
Original broadcast date: 04/14/76
Topic: archeology

Overworked Miracle (The)
Today we take antibiotics for granted, and by doing so are steadily eroding their medical value. NOVA examines the problem of resistance to antibiotics in the bacteria they are designed to kill.
Original broadcast date: 03/21/76
Topic: medicine/disease & research

Transplant Experiment (The)
Dr. Norman Shumway of Stanford University has performed more heart transplants than any other heart surgeon. NOVA explores those extraordinary days in 1968-69 when it appeared that everyone with a scalpel was doing heart transplants, and survival of patients was measured in days.
Original broadcast date: 04/11/76
Topic: medicine/health care & surgery

Underground Movement (The)
NOVA explores life underground, from foxes and badgers through moles and worms down to the myriad of micro-organisms that make soil the most complex substrate for life on earth. Included in the film is extraordinary footage of a mole burrowing and of roots growing.
Original broadcast date: 04/18/76
Topic: animal biology/behavior

Hunters of the Seal
NOVA shows the Netsilik eskimoes of Pelly Bay and their traditional way of life and what happens when Western civilization is imposed upon them.
Original broadcast date: 05/02/76
Topic: anthropology/culture

Benjamin is a healthy, normal baby, whom we meet at birth and whose first year of life provides the backbone of this revealing NOVA about early child development.
Original broadcast date: 05/09/76
Topic: human biology/behavior

Women Rebel (The)
Margaret Sanger was responsible almost single-handedly for changing the whole attitude of the male-dominated medical profession towards "women's issues" and, above all, for gaining social and political acceptance for the concept of birth control. This NOVA docudrama reconstructs her life, told as flashbacks interspersed throughout an interview. Piper Laurie stars as Margaret Sanger.
Original broadcast date: 05/23/76
Topic: biography

Death of a Disease
As late as 1967, smallpox struck as many as 15 million people in 43 countries and killed an estimated two or three million. Experts now believe that the disease is on the verge of extinction. NOVA looks at the recent success of the World Health Organization's program to eradicate this disease, considered a triumph of western-styled medicine.
Original broadcast date: 06/06/76
Topic: medicine/disease & research

Inside the Shark
The "Jaws" phenomenon has given sharks a bad name. But is the shark really such a barbarian? NOVA looks at the lifestyle of this remarkable survivor from the days when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
Original broadcast date: 06/13/76
Topic: animal biology/behavior

Genetic Chance (The)
Recent scientific developments have made it possible to detect a wide variety of defects in unborn babies. NOVA focuses on the ethical question that must be considered: What defines a defect? Should defective babies be aborted, or should they be allowed to live?
Original broadcast date: 06/20/76
Topic: genetics

Case of the Bermuda Triangle (The)
Since 1945, hundreds of ships and planes and thousands of people have mysteriously disappeared in an area of the Atlantic Ocean off of Florida, known as the Bermuda Triangle. NOVA penetrates the mystery of the terrifying Bermuda Triangle.
Original broadcast date: 06/27/76
Topic: unexplained phenomena


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