The Kimbell: Year One will air on KERA-TV this Friday, September 15 16, at 7:30PM and repeats Sunday 11:30 a.m. and 9: p.m.. It was one of documentary maker Mark Birnbaum’s first films in Texas. He shared these memories on Facebook, and kindly allows us to share them with you.
The 1974 documentary chronicles the first year of the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth. It was one of the first films I made in Texas, working with the groundbreaking Newsroom staff at KERA-TV.
The Kimbell: Year One features interviews with museum architect Louis Kahn, founding director Richard Brown and Kay Kimbell. I was given half a day to wander around his celebrated new building with Kahn while he mused on art, architecture, light and life. My favorite quote, “Ornament is the adoration of the joint,” referred to his leaving the basic structure of the building uncovered.
It was one of the last times he spoke on camera before his death in 1974 of a heart attack in a men’s restroom in Pennsylvania Station in New York. He went unidentified for three days because he had crossed out the home address on his passport.
The opening still photo montage of the film — something I could knock out today in a few hours at my keyboard — took three of us nearly a week to assemble in KERA’s main control room.
The film was written and produced by Patsy Swank. Ms. Swank began her career with KERA-TV in 1970 as an arts and environment reporter for Newsroom. She later had her own shows, Swank in the Arts from 1978, and Portfolio in 1980, a magazine-style series examining the aesthetic side of North Texas. In 1988, she entered the public relations field when she was appointed as Dallas deputy cultural ambassador, a post that led to her encounter with Queen Elizabeth II as escort to the Meyerson Symphony Center during the queen’s visit to Dallas. It was through working with Patsy that this carpetbagger came to appreciate the extraordinary depth and rich variety in the arts that Dallas and Fort Worth had to offer.
Here is the credit list for The Kimbell: Year One —
Directed by Mark Birnbaum
Written and Produced by Patsy Swank
Technical Director Dan Parr
Film Cameramen Bill Anderson, Mark Birnbaum, Sam Newbury
Film Soundmen David Arthur, Bruce Cambell, Craig Mayes, Travis Rhodes
Music Written and Performed by Meri Wilson
Music Recorded by Sundance Studios
Electronic Editing Mike Head
Still Photography Laura Garza
Production Harold Bock, George Kline, Jim Wrenn, Joe Bill Worthington
Special Thanks To Shirley Spieckerman
A Production of Newsroom, KERA-TV