Jim's Red Book "NBC Cities"

Jim's Red Book "NBC Cities"

NBC White Paper was an acclaimed series of NBC news specials. The program had no regular timeslot but aired a few times each year, presenting detailed documentary coverage of specific events.

In the fall of 1968, Fred Freed produced the three-part "Ordeal of the American City," which focused on domestic issues. Jim Henson prepared the opening sequence, featuring "a juxtaposition of urban images -- traffic, industry, fires, riots."[1]

After the success of Jim's documentary "collage" for NBC about modern society Youth 68 aired, NBC News commissioned him to create the title sequence for a special on the state of American cities: NBC White Paper: Ordeal of The American City. Jim layered rapidly changing images to depict the rush, vibrancy, and pressure of city living, combining it with animation and a soundtrack of urban noises. He used visuals that alluded to the increasing tensions between Americans in a decade of riots, social neglect, poverty, and heated public debates about urban renewal. In a brief arrangement of images and sounds, Jim was able to set the tone for the program.
—Curated entry from Jim Henson's Red Book[2]


  1. Bam! Muppets Music & Magic event, Commercials and Experiments screening, 2004. ToughPigs write-up
  2. Jim Henson's Red Book - 9/10/1968 – ‘Opening Title for NBC – “The Ordeal of The American City”.’

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