Finding Aid to the Firing Line Broadcast Records Posted Online

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Cover of a publicity handout, 1967
Cover of a publicity handout, 1967

A guide to the paper documents in the Firing Line broadcast collection is available online. The program transcripts, photographs, administrative files, and other paper materials, which fill nearly 200 boxes, provide rich context and supporting documentation for the 1,500 videotaped episodes of Firing Line that are also in the collection.

William F. Buckley Jr. hosted Firing Line on television from 1966 to 1999. The show is a window on twentieth-century American culture, politics, and television; one can see such guests as Ronald Reagan, Clare Booth Luce, Barry Goldwater, Malcolm Muggeridge, David Susskind, and Hugh Hefner discuss topics as varied as liberalism, religion, Alger Hiss, feminism, and the U.S. presidency.

The manuscript materials in the collection provide a behind-the-scenes view of the production process. Background files on the speakers and individual programs are available to flesh out individual episodes, which are described online in a searchable database.

Buckley placed the Firing Line broadcast collection, including videotapes, transcripts, photographs, and other material, at the Hoover Institution Archives in 2002. The videotapes are being cleaned, stabilized, and transferred to modern video formats. DVDs of selected programs are available on amazon.com, and program transcripts are gradually being added to the online database.