CPTV Celebrates the Premiere of The Blizzard of ’78 with a Week of Documentaries Highlighting Connecticut’s Natural Disasters
These CPTV Originals Air Tuesday, February 9 Through Sunday, February 14
Circus Fire – Tuesday, February 9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 14 at 1 p.m.
The Flood of ’55 – Thursday, February 11 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 14 at 2 p.m.
When Disaster Struck Connecticut – Friday, February 9 at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 13 at 1 p.m., and Sunday, February 14 at 3 p.m.
The Blizzard of ’78 – Saturday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 14 at 4 p.m.
Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) will present a week of CPTV Original documentaries on Connecticut’s most tragic disasters over the past 120 years. The CPTV productions of Circus Fire, The Flood of ’55 and When Disaster Struck Connecticut detail the impact each of the events had on the state and its residents. The Blizzard of ’78, CPTV’s newest documentary presentation, culminates the week, with a world premiere airing Saturday, February 13.
It all starts Tuesday, February 9 at 8 p.m. with Circus Fire, a documentary that examines one of the deadliest fire disasters in the history of the United States. On July 6, 1944, The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Big Top caught fire during an afternoon performance in Hartford, Connecticut, leaving approximately one hundred and sixty-eight people dead and hundreds more wounded. Circus Fire illustrates this devastating event through video footage, photographs, and personal interviews with several survivors, and describes how the aftermath of this fire affected the city, as well as the circus industry.
On Thursday, February 11 at 8 p.m., CPTV airs The Flood of ’55, which recalls the natural disaster that struck Connecticut in August 1955. In less than a week, hurricanes Connie and Diane produced approximately twenty inches of rain. Torrential rains left dozens dead, thousands homeless and the state in complete disarray. Underscored by stunning archival film and photographs, The Flood of ’55 is an unforgettable story of tragedy and heroism.
On Friday, February 12 at 8 p.m., CPTV airs When Disaster Struck Connecticut, which highlights the four deadly natural disasters that hit Connecticut between the years 1888 and 1955. It focuses on King Blizzard, an 1888 storm that delivered 20 to 50 inches of snow and drifts of up to 20 feet; two floods of near-biblical proportions; and the most destructive hurricane in the state's history.
Finally, tune in for The Blizzard of ’78 on Saturday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m., with a repeat broadcast at 9:30 p.m. The premiere broadcast will include a special visit to the CPTV studio from longtime WFSB-TV weather reporter Hilton Kaderli, who is now retired and living in Oklahoma. He still remembers the blizzard. “For the first time in my life, I wasn’t watching some snowflakes drift down,” Kaderli recalls. “They were blotting out everything around me that I could see.”
In preparation for this documentary, CPTV conducted an extensive media campaign to encourage folks across Connecticut and beyond to share their photos, footage, and memories from the Blizzard of ‘78. With the help of the community, CPTV was able to produce this documentary, which looks back to when “Storm Larry” hit Connecticut and paralyzed the state for three days with bone-chilling temperatures, poor visibility, wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour, and snowdrifts as high as 16 feet.
The Blizzard of ’78 includes interviews with well-known meteorologists, including Kaderli and Dr. Mel Goldstein, WTNH-TV’s chief meteorologist, who is affectionately known as “Dr. Mel.” The documentary also includes home movies, photos, and local television news footage from 1978, as well as additional interviews with reporters, government officials, and everyday people who remember how the storm changed Connecticut forever.
CPTV’s “Disaster Week” programming – including the new special The Blizzard of ’78 – is made possible by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and by Companions & Homemakers.
About Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network
CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN/www.
cpbn.org). It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women’s Basketball, original documentaries and educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing an historic role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programs each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily. The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island with news and information. Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers. For more information, visit www.cptv.org and/or www.wnpr.org.