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Introduction

The producers of In the Life, television’s longest running LBGT news magazine, approached UCLA Film & Television Archive almost two years ago with an exciting opportunity: to become the caretakers of In the Life’s 20-year collection of irreplaceable, historic and meaningful materials, and make those materials available online for free to students, researchers and the general public.

Needless to say, the Archive was very honored, and very enthusiastic.  Created and produced by John Scagliotti, In the Life first premiered in 1992 on the New York public television station WNYC-TV, a PBS affiliate, and thrived for 20 years as a trailblazer in LGBT representation and equal rights advocacy.  The program reported on milestones in the media—such as Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out on television—, provided a voice to LGBT artists and activists, and contributed invaluable insight on political developments.  The Archive’s In the Life online resource will eventually include every show produced (more than 190 episodes), in addition to long-form interviews, unseen footage, essays, photos and other supplementary content.  For an insightful exploration of In the Life’s history and cultural significance, I encourage you to read Stephen Tropiano’s essay, “The Time of Our Lives: In the Life—America’s LGBT News Magazine.”

The opportunity to catalog and preserve this material, contextualize it and make it accessible online is a privilege, one made all the more meaningful since this project is such an important enrichment of so many of the Archive’s ongoing activities.  UCLA Film & Television Archive not only has a long history of collecting and preserving television—specifically news and public affairs programming—but we also have a vigorous and long-standing commitment to preserving LGBT moving image media, most notably through our Outfest UCLA Legacy Project.  We’re proud to say that the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project has so far built a collection of more than 35,000 film and television holdings in all production formats, from videotape and HD CAM, to 35mm, 16mm and 8mm.

Our In the Life research portal marks a major step forward in the Archive’s transition from an entirely analog archive to one that includes digital material and allows web users to have access to “the vaults.”  This landmark endeavor would not have been possible without the generous support of the producers and board of In the Life, as well as our funders, The Arcus Foundation, the Pride Foundation and Henry van Ameringen.  We are incredibly grateful to them all for recognizing the unique importance of the show and its singular place in LBGT history.

UCLA Film & Television Archive has always had a firm commitment to preserving our national film and television heritage, and to making moving images available for researchers and cultural venues.  We invite you to explore this new online area and check back for regular additions.

Jan-Christopher Horak

Director