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Episode Number
A King's Revolution
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
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Episode Description
1 hour piece, produced by Associated-Rediffusion and initially distributed by NET in 1964. It was originally shot on film.
Episode Description
Iran is one of the oldest countries in the world. More than 2000 years ago it was the land of the Persians, a great imperial power. Persia decayed and the country became another backward Middle Eastern Kingdom. In 1925, the Shahs father seized the Peacock Throne. Since he inherited the throne in 1941, the Shah has firmly believed his country has prospered and advanced only under strong and enlightened kings. He has instituted a broad reform program in his country to raise the standards of living, but the problems he still faces are many. Iran is a country surrounded by huge mountains, a land of salt and sand. More than half of it is arid wasteland. About three quarters of all Iranians cant read or write. Another problem the Shah faces is the barrier of Islam, a religion that fixes life to a pattern set centuries ago. There is the wealthy elite, reluctant to give up its power and privilege. There is the ponderous bureaucracy another obstacle to progress. Under his reform program, the Shah has decided that no man in Iran may own more than a single village. All land over a specified acreage must be given to the peasants. To educate the illiterates, he has established a Knowledge Corps of young soldiers who serve as teachers in villages as part of their military service. The Shah is also trying to emancipate Irans Moslem women. A Kings Revolution documents the story of the Shah of Irans campaign to reform his country. The program documents the problems the Shah faces in his attempts to transform his country to the standards of modern civilization. The program opens with a brief historical introduction and the Shahs three marriages. The Shah recalls his schooldays in Switzerland and his decision at that time to introduce his reforms. One of his first acts was the land reform program; as an example, he gave away his own lands to the peasants. The barriers to this phase of reform is illustrated in the Mosques of the Islam religion. Here Iranians flock to hear the words of a Mullah (cleric) who is hostile to change. The church is one of the big land owners in Iran and is afraid the reform will hurt its influence. Emancipation of the Iranian women is illustrated with visits to Tehran, where the younger women are wearing western attire. Yet, the documentary shows, the older women still cling to the custom of wearing head veils. The Shah comments on his decision to emancipate women: The women of our country represents its largest population. They are the best teachers of our future generation. The program follows the Shahs economic program with a visit to the Caspian Sea where sturgeon fishing represents a vital export. From the sturgeon caviar is made. Ninety tons of caviar are exported yearly to the west. The struggle against natures arid land is portrayed with scenes that show the construction of dams and the problem of bringing water to farmers fields. The villages are visited to illustrate the progress of the Shahs land reform campaign Talaw, where nothing much has changed; Shoorkab, where the villagers now farm their own land; and Abnik, where the people always farmed their own land. In order to stamp out illiteracy the Shah instituted a Knowledge Corps men, who as a part of their military conscription, serve as teachers and as advisers in villages.A Kings Revolution shows the work of these soldiers and follows a weekly tour of Abbas Sayadi, an inspector from the Ministry of Education. Mr. Sayadi visits the schools and imparts to the children his own love of knowledge. Underpaid civil servants, antiquated systems of government operation, and bureaucratic red tape, depicts Irans ponderous administrative officialism. Further opposition to the Shahs revolution is revealed as cameras travel to the hills of the Nomads who continue to fight rather than have their way of life transformed. The elite rich pose another obstacle for the Shah. Comprising three percent of the population, the aristocrats own ninety percent of the countrys property. In the final analysis, the documentary concludes that the success of this dramatic revolution depends on the Shah and his army. It raises the question, Can the Shah cheat the assassins? for ironically, in the Middle East, social reform has come about after the kind has been dethroned by a coup. And it is the history of this region that on the day a king is praised the next day he is swallowed. A Kings Revolution is a 1963 Intertel production of Associated-Rediffusion of London, England. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Series Description
Intertel, a dramatic breakthrough in the dissemination of ideas and cultural exchange through television, was conceived in November 1960. Five television broadcasters in the four major English-speaking nations joined to form the International Television Federation, to be known as Intertel, the first such international organization. The participants were Associated Rediffusion, Ltd. of Great Britain, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and for the United States, the National Educational Television and Radio Center and the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company. Intertel produced on a bi-monthly basis hour-long documentaries on important world topics, inaugurating a global television production agency dedicated to the creation of programs of substance and meaning. John F. White, President of NET, called Intertel more than a fusion of the creative talents of the organizations involved in producing television programs of outstanding merit. It is a step forward to world understanding, he added. I believe that the exchange of documentaries, while of great significance in the vastness of the mutual understanding in it can foster, is but the first step in a regular exchange of all forms of programming. Donald H. McGannon, President of WBC, hailed the new organization as a pool of the technical and creative ability and knowledge of all the groups which will extend the international horizons of television in all aspects. This is the first practical step, after years of talking and hoping, toward the creation and use of international television for cultural exchange and an effective weapon for peace. By having observers examine topics far removed from their everyday assignments, Intertel gives viewers a fresh viewpoint. The founder members indicated that by dubbing these programs in foreign languages and making them available to all nations, they hoped television companies in Europe, Asia and South America will eventually join this unique project. The supervisory committee for the United States programming segments consists of Mr. McGannon and Mr. White; Richard M. Pack, WBC Vice President Programming; and Robert Hudson, NET Vice President for Programming. Intertel came into formal being November 14, 1960, in a special meeting in Vancouver, B.C., and the culmination of plans for such an association which has been under way for a long time. John McMilliam of Associate Rediffusion, was named contemporary Coordinating Officer at that time. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Social Issues
Global Affairs
Public Affairs
Politics and Government
Media type
Moving Image
Director: Beattie, Randal
Narrator: Foulds, Andrew
Producing Organization: Associated-Rediffusion
Writer: Johnson, Paul
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2419849-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 16mm film
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive
Identifier: [request film based on title] (Indiana University)
Format: 16mm film
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Chicago: “Intertel; 15; A King's Revolution,” 1964-04-06, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “Intertel; 15; A King's Revolution.” 1964-04-06. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Intertel; 15; A King's Revolution. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from