This Month in the History of Rocky Mountain PBS: May

THIS MONTH IN THE HISTORY OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN PBS:  MAY

By Laura Sampson

Founder, Station’s Archived Memories (SAM)

 

PIONEERS OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN PBS

 

PIONEER: a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others.

 

Be sure to enjoy the attached PDF featuring numerous original photographs and newspaper articles from the station's archives!

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This MAY 1, 1959 photograph portrays four of the female educational television pioneers that were truly the foundation of KRMA’s success.

Rocky Mountain PBS was originally known as an “Educational Television” (ETV) station aka KRMA-TV, Channel Six.  Channel Six’s license was held by the Denver Public Schools and the building housing the studio was owned by the school district.

 

Throughout its early years of broadcasting, KRMA’s programs were presented LIVE.  It is largely due to the talent, passion and creative skills of many Emily Griffith Opportunity School teachers that KRMA was able to present its afternoon programs for its growing Denver audience.

 

Due to requests from Denver viewers, KRMA broadcast afternoon programing known as “Emily Griffith Opportunity School Presents.” The programing was directed toward women who were unable to attend classes offered by Denver’s Emily Griffith Opportunity School. The televised lessons emphasized homemaking skills each weekday afternoon: Food Preparation, Sewing, Budget Planning, Personal Grooming, Prenatal Care, Upholstery, Millinery, Home Decoration, Drapery Making and Art.  Each program was presented once a week for 30 minutes.  Upon viewer request, weekly information sheets were offered for each program series.

 

Announcing the premiere of “Emily Griffith Opportunity School Presents” in the Denver Post in February of 1958, the newspaper said that KRMA’s “new type of homemaking television program was designed to stimulate both the inexperienced bride and the veteran wife bogged down with routine household chores.”

 

In a 1959 Principal’s Bulletin, listing the ten most popular programs on KRMA, these four women hosted FOUR of the top ten productions.  Their live courses received thousands of communications praising the programs and requesting information.  By 1960, women’s programs had mailed 41,663 information sheets demonstrating that 1959 ETV viewers were thirsty for homemaking skills and general knowledge.

 

Allow me to introduce you to some the Pioneers of KRMA:  

 

  1.     Lorraine Quarve (1959 to approximately 1962) was one of the “homemakers” on KRMA with her Tuesday afternoon program, “Food Preparation.”  Her program provided hints for housewives on ways to save time and money.  In 1960, she hosted another popular food and nutrition program, “Food, Facts and Fun.”           

 

      Daisy Gueck, pronounced “Geck,” (1956-1971) was known as the “Happy Hatter.”  She taught a program on millinery and home accessories.  Her hat-making series (1958-1968) presented techniques on making hats with an emphasis on creativity and cost.  She designed her own hats and was known to always wear a hat.  Ms. Gueck was quoted in the Denver Post (2-22-1959) saying “I usually make up my own designs.  I just start out and see what happens.  That’s what makes it fun.  You can always do what you want to with a hat . . . never have to follow a pattern.”  Another of her homemaking programs helped ladies beautify their homes and ease the family budget by using items and materials they might have on hand.  Her home décor programs included instruction on lamp shades, flower and candle arrangements, wall hangings and gift ideas.

 

  1.     Louise Sinton Sparks (1956-1980) started her career at KRMA when it first started broadcasting in 1956. She was in front of the camera as hostess of “Women’s Home Opportunity” that was shown from 2:30-3:00 pm Mondays through Friday.  She hosted the program, “Tailoring.”  Louise later became too busy for hosting programs and began producing shows instead. She was responsible for developing new programs and consulted with a lay advisory committee to cultivate the topics.  In 1961, Ms. Sparks was honored to be selected as one of nine women in Denver to participate in an International Women’s Forum on women in the field of communication and community activities. In 1961, a Rocky Mountain News article quoted Sparks explaining an embarrassing and near-disastrous anecdote of doing a “live” cooking program with Chef Pierre Wolf.

 

  1.     Kathryn “Kate” Marinoff (1958-1968) hosted the only weekly program devoted entirely to do-it-yourself upholstery to help homemakers learn skills and techniques of repairing and recovering ottomans, chairs and more.  She also provided pointers on color, design, quality and fabric selection.  Ms. Marinoff’s shows were written and produced by Louise Sparks. In 1959, Kate Marinoff wrote a book on rug making titled, “Getting Started in Handmade Rugs.”

 

 

BONUS MATERIALS FOR MAY:  Open this PDF to enjoy original newspaper articles and photographs of KRMA’s “Pioneers” that have been meticulously preserved for the station’s archives.

 

Articles Written and Researched by SAM volunteers

This Month in the History of Rocky Mountain PBS

Brought to you by Station's Archived Memories (SAM)