Exhibit on Knoxville's early TV days

KNOXVILLE, Tenn .(WVLT) -- If you grew up watching television in Knoxville, who could forget the old Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour, or Bonnie Lou and Buster?

Those shows - and people - were a part of a very popular early TV landscape in East Tennessee. Bradley Reeves of the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound has been preserving Knoxville's television past.

"I noticed we have a great culture. musically, television, film, just decided to preserve film from my own backyard," he says.

In the archive, we found the very first TV log of WTSK signing on in 1953, later to become WTVK, then WKXT and then present-day WVLT.

"We started out with one home movie collection, from a lady no longer with us and she kept film from Knoxville going back to the 1920's - to how Gay Street used to look: cars, the fashions - it's been a massive hunt over the years to find these things in basements and attics, storage closets, wherever," Reeves says.

Bradley's office is itself a collector's item, a snapshot in time of Knoxville's TV heritage.

Nestled in one of the rooms of the East Tennessee Historical Society, the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound is a must see if you want to look back at the "good ole days."

"This is a re-creation of an old time television studio and what you is the very first video format, the two-inch Quadroplex. It was introduced in 1956 and obsolete in 1983," he says.

"This is the original Cas Walker set that painting was used on the set in 1958 from a local painter saved by David West, an original cast member," says Reeves. "There are exhibits featuring everything from the early days of TV wrestling to the city's three stations, including WTVK, its old cameras, people that they remember fondly, musicians, special anchors such as yourself, wonderful old programs now being preserved."

"All of it is decaying, all of it is going away, sort of a race against time to get to it," he says.

Bradley Reeves is doing his best to collect it, catalog it and preserved it for generations to come.

"Local television is the most endangered of all, not just in Knoxville but all across the country; it wasn't saved - it was meant to go out, wasn't captured on video tape," he says. "What does survive is very valuable."

Driving in your neighborhood, I'm the Tennessee Traveler.


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