Wednesday, March 10 at 6:00pm
At dusk on a spring evening in 1949, a three-year-old girl fell down an abandoned well shaft near her family home in the quiet community of San Marino. Across more than two full days of a fevered rescue attempt, the fate of Kathy Fiscus remained unknown.
The region, the nation, and the world watched, read, and listened to every moment of the forty-eight hour rescue attempt by way of radio, newsreel footage, and wire service reporting. Because of the well’s proximity to the transmission towers on nearby Mount Wilson, the rescue attempt became the first breaking-news event ever to be broadcast live on television. The Kathy Fiscus tragedy singlehandedly proved the utility of live television news, proving that real-time television news broadcasting could work and could transfix the public. Media across the globe has never been the same.
In Kathy Fiscus: A Tragedy that Transfixed the Nation, USC historian William Deverell tells the story of the first live, breaking-news TV spectacle in American history.
Join Angel City Press and the Huntington-USC Institute on California & the West as we celebrate the book’s release on Wednesday, March 10, 2021! During the evening, Deverell will sit down for a virtual conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Patt Morrison, before taking questions from the audience.