This is a very big anniversary – it was exactly fifty years ago today, probably in the afternoon, that ‘The French Chef’ made its debut on WGBH in Boston.
That was the day Julia Child took her first step on the road to fame, if not exactly fortune, and I think you will agree that the clip below proves that for a newbie, she did a great first take. In fact, she was a natural and that was a good thing, because ‘The French Chef’ was live-to-videotape for the decade it ran.
It’s hard to know how many Americans learned how to pronounce boeuf bourguignon that day or for that matter how many even knew what it was, but ten years later we were all much better educated about haute cuisine.
Safe to say, Julia is irreplaceable and so was early public television. Not only were programming standards higher in terms of creativity then, but good stuff was free. (And it was all done on a shoestring – in the early days of ‘The French Chef,’ volunteers were sought to help wash the dishes.)
Now we pay. Apparently that applies to YouTube as well – more and more ads to skip these days. But if ever it was worth it. . .here she is on Day One: