AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

For the third year broadcast of "Live from AT&T Bell Labs", producers expanded the scope of the show and went full-tilt on production values, computer graphics, special effects, skits, and music video.

The show, almost an hour long, includes segments from San Francisco and Paris, more skits, and more celebrities — specifically Penn and Teller and the Flying Karamazov Brothers. While created as an educational special broadcast via satellite to middle-school students around the U.S. (and the world), this 1993 edition has more in common with PBS edu-info-tainment shows like Newton's Apple than the previous year's special. It also was shown on PBS. The co-hosts, again, were David Heil from the aforementioned Newton's Apple, joined by Bell Labs' VP of Research, Arno Penzias.

This edition specifically has a 'futurist' bent — with segments like skits imagining the technology of 2003! — and features more participation from students, culminating in a contest for the design of future personal communication technology, which is, frankly, fascinating. You can read more about the contest and see the designs on the personal site of Greg Blonder (a former Bell Labs engineer). The early-'90s kitsch factor of the broadcast is upped considerably by the inclusion of a hiphop track in music video form, written and performed by Bell Labs tech staffer Guy Story, and a lot of of-their-era computer graphics produced in-house at the Labs.

This video was produced as part of National Science and Technology Week, an effort by the National Science Foundation that existed between 1985 and 2000.

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 04/27/2012