The Weavers – Wasn't That a Time on WXXI-TV

The Weavers – Wasn't That a Time on WXXI-TV

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 8:00pm

Pictured: The Weavers (left to right):  Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman.

Photo Credit:  David Gahr

This 1982 documentary captures a reunion performance at Carnegie Hall, blending the concert with background about the intolerant times in which The Weavers first emerged.

Before Peter, Paul and Mary, the Kingston Trio or Bob Dylan, there were The Weavers: Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman and Pete Seeger. The simple power and beauty of their songs — about love and work, hope and freedom — inspired artists such as Arlo Guthrie, Don McLean, Holly Near and Peter, Paul and Mary, all of whom appear to help The Weavers tell their story in The Weavers – Wasn't That a Time, airing Monday, March 14 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). This classic documentary appears for the first time in HD on WXXI-TV/HD and PBS stations across the country, and will be available for the first time on DVD.

With rare footage of the early days before their blacklisting, this 1980 film centers around a triumphant reunion performance of the older Weavers at Carnegie Hall. In addition to the music, the film features interviews with many of the performers and others, such as Harry Reasoner and Studs Terkel, who credits The Weavers with bringing the authentic folk songs of America into American popular music. Roger Ebert summed up the feelings of many when he wrote: “It is impossible not to feel a lump in your throat as the Weavers gather once again on stage, and it’s hard not to tap your feet when they start to sing. Seeing this film is a wonderful experience.” He gave the film Four Stars and called it “one of the year’s 10 Best.”