In January of 1965, twelve hundred interested community members gathered to celebrate the launch of "a major new force in the cultural and education life in our state." A letter from the office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, read before the audience, stated that KCET (Channel 28) was to be a resource for the state to "help people better understand a world in which science and technology are changing at a rate unequaled in history."
Dr. Lee A. DuBridge, educator, physicist and Chairmen of the Board of Community Television of Southern California, presented the inaugural launch of the educational broadcast television station, an integral part of the Greater Los Angeles Community.
"It would be impossible to build and operate a major television station without some money and without some skillful, hard work. Since community television is a non-profit corporation, the money must be raised by the voluntary donations of generous individuals and companies who are interested in the cultural and educational welfare of Los Angeles." Dr. Lee A. DuBridge
Wholly devoted to cultural and educational television, KCET Channel 28 had already proved in it's first four months on-air to be "quite new, quite different, and quite worthwhile." Some of Hollywood's brightest stars contributed their talents to the evening as a salute to Channel 28. Here are some selected moments from the video:
20:30 Dick Van Dyke comes on stage to introduce the performers
23:40 Jackie Joseph and Ken Berry perform a song
29:00 Jose Jimenez interviewed as "the man on the street" with Dick Van Dyke
34:40 Gospel-folk singers Joe and Eddie perform "There's a Meeting Here Tonight"
37:50 Carl Reiner takes the stage accompanied by a familiar looking waiter who seems to be confused about his whereabouts
46:00 A troupe of UCLA actors, in the form of two young ladies (Betty Harford and Nina Fosch), regale the audience with a scene from Shakespeare's Henry V
55:17 Irving Stone (writer, Lust For Life) takes the stage to speak about idealism
"We can open wide the door so that we and our children-- our whole population-- can grow, can get new concepts, can get new faiths. The one thing that I think we need most desperately is a faith in the future that has been enunciated earlier today. But here is a great opportunity. Here is a new star being born-- to lead us into the road to the future so that instead of being dwarfs in our fears, and our anxieties, we can grow fifteen feet tall, we can become giants because we will know what is going to happen in the word, we will know that man can control the forces of nature-- and his fellow men-- we will know that the doors will be opened to all races, all creeds, all religions, all civilizations, all cultures, because it will be made available to us and we will grow and we will find a good and a creative and a constructive world-- and a good world to live in. This is the star, my friends, that has been born here tonight." -Irving Stone
The evening ends with Dick Van Dyke reminding the audience that while the show is ending, it is only the beginning. Fifty years later, KCET continues to devote itself to the development of the cultural life of Los Angeles and all of California.