For immediate release
November 12, 1998
NPR REVISITS 1978 JONESTOWN TRAGEDY
Exclusive NPR Webcast of Legendary Documentary "Father Cares" Marks 20th Anniversary of Mass Suicide/Murder
WASHINGTON, DC — On Wednesday, November 18, NPR will mark the 20th anniversary of the Jonestown tragedy with an exclusive webcast of the award-winning documentary Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown. The entire 90-minute program, which first aired on NPR stations to international acclaim in 1981, will be available at NPR Online at www.npr.org. This is the first full presentation of the documentary since its original broadcast 17 years ago.
Also, on November 17, the eve of the Jonestown anniversary, NPR's All Things Considered® will feature selections from Father Cares, as well as an interview with Jonestown survivor Deborah Layton.
Culled from nearly 900 hours of audio tape left behind by Peoples Temple leader Rev. Jim Jones — pronouncements, conversations and testimonials from Jones and his followers — this stunning documentary helps explain the mystery of the mass suicide and murder that led to the deaths of 913 men, women and children. The tapes, seized in Guyana by the U.S. government, were later acquired by author James Reston, Jr. under the Freedom of Information Act and made available to NPR's Noah Adams.
Father Cares received an overwhelming response from listeners and critics when it first aired in 1981. One critic placed it on a pedestal next to Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast. The New York Times described Father Cares as "quite simply one of the greatest achievements in the history of broadcasting." It swept nearly every major broadcasting award, and was the first American radio documentary to win the Prix d'Italia, Europe's most prestigious broadcasting prize. Father Cares was produced by Deborah Amos (now of ABC News), written by Reston and Adams and narrated by Adams.
National Public Radio®, a membership organization of 604 public radio stations across America, is radio's leading provider of high-quality news, information and cultural programming. NPR is the producer and distributor of such noted programs as Morning Edition®, Weekend Edition®, Performance Today ® and Car Talk®.