With Columbia one of the most meticulously planned cities in the world and having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, Maryland Public Television (MPT) has produced Columbia’s Promise, a one-hour documentary about the city and its founder, Jim Rouse. It will air on MPT on April 28, at 7 p.m., and will be rebroadcast on MPT2 on April 29, at 10 p.m.
Rouse’s careful planning cultivated social diversity, economic prosperity and some of the best schools in the nation. Using rare archival footage, viewers will be able to hear Rouse tell the story, interspersed with interviews with the likes of Robert Tennenbaum, who was one of Rouse’s top executives at The Rouse Company; Joshua Olsen, author of “Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse”; and long-time area journalist Len Lazarick, publisher of MarylandReporter.com and contributor to The Business Monthly.
“Rouse was famously modest and resisted most formal photo sessions, as well as televised interviews,” said MPT Senior Executive Producer Ken Day. “However, one prescient television producer/cameraman, Scott Kramer, begged Rouse for years to sit down and talk about Columbia. He finally succeeded, and in December of 1987, Rouse consented to a 90-minute interview about how Columbia came about. That interview drives much of this documentary.”
MPT is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has several events and observances planned throughout 2019 and into next year. A two-hour documentary, Made Possible By Viewers Like You: 50 Years of Maryland Public Television, will premiere on June 3, at 8 p.m.; in October, an official exhibit will open at Hornbake Library, at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will run for a year.