Before there was Youtube there was Public Access TV. Local community programming open to anybody who had something to say, sing or scream about!...passionate preachers, amateur wrestlers, fringy talk shows, cult groups and musicians looking for a stage. Quirky, unpolished and often fascinating, It was pre-internet and pre-satellite TV, in fact it was TV with 12 channels compared to todays endless stream of programming and internet access. So finding little gems on the public access channel was memorable and very entertaining.
When I was a kid it seemed like the Reed Sisters Variety show was always on TV--for years! Flipping channels through the 70s and early 80s there they were, The Reed Sisters on channel 7 rockin' their instruments with their homemade matching Elvis inspired jumpsuits and coordinated dance moves performing on public access week after week, year after year. And their mother, Mama Reed always there introducing the show and playing offbeat tambourine...
The Reed Sisters were both an inspiration and a curiosity. I was tickled by their homegrown, DIY style and impressed with their creativity and determination yet there was always something peculiar about it.
Who was behind all this? Where did they end up?
Interviewing the sisters allowed me to look beneath the surface of my early and limited impressions to get a closer look at the forces that were shaping their lives and identity. As I got to know them and learned about their experience I realized they were a lot more than images on a TV screen. They are real people with their own story .
The anthropologist in me sees their show as an artifact of history and of my memory and is therefore worth preserving. The filmmaker in me wants to make sense of the world, tell a good story and have fun along the way! The Reed Sisters have a story that could slip through the cracks if you’re not looking. Now let’s get on with the show!!