Chats with Champions

‘Laughing Matters: From the Goldbergs to Seinfeld’

Posted:  Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 7:00am

Television situation comedies--sitcoms--have been a staple of TV culture since its beginning. On Thursday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. in the Porter Meeting Hall of Skidompha Library, Chats with Champions will present Peter Imber, a former network news producer, will talk about the history of the television sitcom entitled “Laughing Matters: From the Goldbergs to Seinfeld.” Please allow time for parking.

Imber’s love of the sitcom television genre began well before his retirement. He says that as a baby boomer he grew up watching television. His favorite show was “Ozzie and Harriet.” While living in Los Angeles, he bought a 40-episode DVD set of that show for about $12. He started watching them and despite thinking they were awful, he still loved them.

Imber began researching the history of sitcoms and the role the shows have played in reflecting and influencing American society. The era that had the most impact on him was from the early 1950s and into the early 1960s.  The shows really were selling a middle class way of life. The dad worked, the mom stayed home and the plot always included some sort of morality tale. The message was, ‘This is how you are supposed to behave.’ At the same time, he realized how hard business was working to sell America all that was needed for that middle-class life.

Imber grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Dartmouth College after which he lived in Israel in the 1970s where he was a member of a kibbutz and served in the Israel Defense Forces. Upon returning to the States, he earned an MFA from UCLA in motion picture/television production. For most of that time he was a producer for ABC News and covered national and international stories while based in Los Angeles. His work was nominated for National News Emmys four times, winning once. He has also received a DuPont-Columbia Award and a National Press Club Award.

In 2010, after a 28-year career in network television news, he retired to Camden with his Rockland-born wife, Jo Dondis, the executive director of the Strand Theater. He recently completed two years as president of the Camden Conference and has taught several classes at Belfast Senior College, including one dealing with the history of the television sitcom.

Chats with Champions is a free community offering from your national award winning Skidompha Library, sponsored by Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop.For more information call 207-563-5513.