Polish Cultural Centers and Churches in Northern California
Polonia in Northern California - events in 2002


It's about time someone made a statement about Polish Americans that does not end with a punch line. After a critically and popularly acclaimed premiere in New York and Ohio in March, THE POLISH AMERICANS premieres nationally on PBS this June.

There has never been an American immigrant success story quite like that of the Polish, and there has never been a program that tells their story like this one. Coming from occupied Poland, Polish Americans had no "old country" to speak of, and the customs and traditions of generations depended on Polish Americans for survival. THE POLISH AMERICANS celebrates the determination and spirit that made this continuation of heritage possible. The program explores Polish American pride, its impact on the world (The Solidarity Movement) and the heights of its fulfillment (election of a Polish Pope) in a warm tribute to this amazing culture.

Singer Bobby Vinton, actor Stephanie Powers, former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, United States Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), author Suzanne Strempek Shea and others share their personal stories.

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THE POLISH AMERICANS, airing on PBS as part of the summer 1998 pledge drive (check local listings), applauds the spirit, determination and solidarity of an immigrant success story like no other. Using vintage film footage, family photos, personal recollections and experiences, this documentary special embodies Polish pride in a televised "family album" of the Polish-American experience. Singer Bobby Vinton, actor Stephanie Powers, former U.S. National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), author Suzanne Strempek Shea and others share their stories in this tribute to Polish Americans. Actor Casey Siemaszko narrates.

THE POLISH AMERICANS takes viewers to the little Polska (Poland) across the United States, from New York City and Schenectady to Cleveland and Chicago, where parents instill in their children the virtues and values of their native land and a love of its traditions, like the pierogi so many mothers filled and pinched just right.

While strongly American and part of the larger culture, Polish Americans maintained a desire to keep their heritage alive ę with rewarding results. As a Harvard student, Brzezinski, decided to make a name for himself ³in spite of² his difficult Polish name. Vinton tells how he revived his recording career with ³Melody of Love,² a song whose lyrics came from a Polish term of endearment his mother used. Powers describes her greatest thrill as the "privilege" of leading New York City's Pulaski Day Parade as 1995's Grand Marshall. And Mikulski embodied the ³norms² of excellence she was raised to achieve when she became the first woman elected to a U.S. Senate seat in her own right. THE POLISH AMERICANS celebrates these proud achievements and the ultimate expression of cultural and religious pride ę election of a Polish Pope.

THE POLISH AMERICANS is co-produced by WLIW21 New York, producer of other PBS heritage specials that promote understanding of the ethnic diversity of America, including THE ITALIAN AMERICANS, MAY THE ROAD RISE TO MEET YOU (on Irish Americans), and A LAUGH, A TEAR, A MITZVAH (on Jewish Americans).

THE POLISH AMERICANS is part of the PBS commitment to showcase the cultural history of the United States.

Underwriters: Acquisition funding provided by Public Television Viewers and PBS. Co-producers: WLIW21 New York, WMHT Schenectady and WVIZ Cleveland. Executive producer: Roy Hammond. Senior producer: Vivian Ducat. Producer: Sharon Kay. Writer: Sam Toperoff. Format: CC STEREO.
PBS - PUBLICITY CONTACTS: Susan Soberman and Laura Savini, WLIW21, Tel.: (516) 367-2100, ext. 3032 and 3004; Fax: (516) 349-0760

Local Airdates for June:
Chicago-WTTW-6/15 @ 8 P.M.
Huntington Beach, CA-KOCE-6/5 @ 8 P.M.
Milwaukee-WMVS-6/7 @2:25 P.M.
Pittsburgh-WQED-6/9 @8 P.M.
Hartford, CT-WEDH-6/8@8 P.M.
Miami-WPBT-6/2 @8 P.M.
Sacramento-KVIE-5/30@1:30 P.M.
Baltimore-Maryland Public TV-6/1 @ 8 P.M.
Syracuse-WCNY-6/4 @8 P.M.; 6/7 @ 1 P.M.

Don't be alarmed if you don't see cities with large Polish populations on the above list. June and August are Membership Campaign months, and since not all stations "pledge" in June, many will be airing big programs like this one in August (San Francisco has indicated plans for this). The program premiered in the NY Metro-area on WLIW21, Cleveland WVIZ, and Schenectady WMHT (co-producing stations) in March 98. Any of your Polish contacts who want to see the program in their area should contact their local PBS station. If anyone wants to buy a VHS of the program, it is available only through PBS stations until Oct. 1, 1998. During this period, viewers who pledge membership to their station can receive the VHS, average cost is between $60-100 and varies by station. The funds raised go towards purchasing future programs. At least in WLIW21's campaign, we use the funds for similar programs (i.e. $ pledged to The Polish Americans might fund a sequel, or pay for a Polish music program). I believe most stations work in this way.

Thank you for your help with my promotional research. I have already received responses to your posting, and look forward to any additional leads in the markets that have scheduled the program.


Susan Soberman
WLIW21 New York

The Summit Times

© Copyright 1998 by Andrzej M. Salski