Downtown Pittsburgh (WQED Multimedia – Pittsburgh)
Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: B Main Program: B+
Pittsburgh being one of the most successful modern cities of all time, the
corporate, capitalist and power elite made some of the most interesting,
complex, innovative, important and influential buildings and structures around. In the case of Pittsburgh, there are several
generations of such construction and use.
After two rebuildings and a third wave on the way, the WQED program Downtown Pittsburgh (1992) is already
becoming a record of the area’s past, even though most of the structures
covered are still standing.
program starts with a shot of the then-current skyline and answering some
questions about what anyone would first see upon visiting. Then it goes to the older buildings and
starts to slowly peel away facts and items about some of them you would never
know, even if you lived there all your life.
Architecture is a major theme, but how it was populated, affected the
populators is as important and this show holds some great surprises we will not
ruin, but is typical of how good these Rick Sebak/WQED specials have constantly
X 1 image is nice shot in professional analog NTSC video and looks pretty good
and the transfer is about as good as it is going to get. There are some color and definition limits,
plus the stock footage is going to cause variance, but it is pleasant enough to
enjoy. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has
no surrounds, but is nicely recorded and Sebak’s narration is never too forward
while interviews are clean.
include promos for this and dozens of other great programs from this and
related series WQED has produced, extended interviews with three key architects
from the show, a barbershop in The Frick Building no longer used, an innovative
restroom in The Arrott Building connected to the roof, a piece on The
Blockhouse (the oldest structure there) and the holiday windows of the flagship
location of Kaufmann’s, which just recently became a Macy’s. At least they continue the windows tradition.
- Nicholas Sheffo