Our World was the first live, international, satellite television production, which was broadcast on June 25, 1967.
Creative artists, including The Beatles, opera singer Maria Callas, and painter Pablo Picasso, representing nineteen different nations were invited to perform or appear in separate segments featuring their respective countries.
The two-and-half-hour event had the largest television audience ever up to that date: an estimated 400 million people around the globe watched the broadcast.
Today, it is most famous for the segment from the United Kingdom starring The Beatles. They sang their specially composed song “All You Need Is Love” to close the broadcast.
The opening credits were accompanied by the Our World theme sung in 22 different languages by the Vienna Boys Choir.
Canada’s CBC Television had Marshall McLuhan being interviewed in a Toronto television control room.
At 7:17 pm GMT, the show switched to the United States’ segment about the Glassboro, New Jersey, conference between American president Lyndon Johnson and Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin; since Our World insisted that no politicians be shown, only the house where the conference was being held was televised.
National Educational Television’s (NET) Dick McCutcheon ended up talking about the impact of the new television technology on a global scale.
The show switched back to Canada at 7:18 pm GMT. Segments that were beamed worldwide were from a Ghost Lake, Alberta ranch, showing a rancher, and his cutting horse, cutting out a herd of cattle.
The last Canadian segment was from Kitsilano Beach, located in Vancouver, British Columbia’s Point Grey district at 7:19 pm GMT.
At 7:20 pm GMT, the program shifted continents to Asia, with Tokyo, Japan being the next segment.
It was 4:20 a.m. local time and NHK showed the construction of the Tokyo Subway system.
The equator was crossed for the first time in the program when it switched to the Australian contribution, which was at 5:22 a.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). This was the most technically complicated point in the broadcast, as both the Japanese and Australian satellite ground stations had to reverse their actions: Tokyo had to go from transmit mode to receive mode, while Melbourne had to switch from receive to transmit mode. The segment dealt with Trams leaving the Hanna Street Depot in Melbourne with Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Brian King explaining that sunrise was many hours away as it was winter there. A scientific segment, later on in the broadcast, was also included that dealt with the Parkes Observatory tracking a deep space object.
The Beatles’ sequence
The broadcast took place at the height of the Vietnam War, and what was subsequently dubbed the “Summer of Love.”
The Beatles wanted to use the opportunity to convey a positive message expressing their philosophy of love.
The Beatles gave a live performance, transmitted at 8:54 pm GMT, performing a new song, written primarily by John Lennon, entitled “All You Need Is Love”, which was composed especially for the occasion.
The Beatles invited many of their friends to the event to create a festive atmosphere and to join in on the song’s chorus. Among the friends were members of The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon and Graham Nash.
The performance was preceded by just a single rehearsal.
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