CHARM

CHARM

Consortium for the History of Agricultural and Rural Mississippi

Exhibits

Howard Langfitt WLBT "Farm Family of the Week" Exhibit

About the "RFD Televisit" Program

"RFD Televisit", sponsored by Hercules Powder Company, Monsanto, various rural electrification systems, and other companies that had an interest in the rural television market, appeared on WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi from 1954-1961. Each program included farm news, agricultural weather and some type of demonstration of an approved farming or homemaking project.

As producer of the Farm Family of the Week segment, Howard Langfitt would obtain suggestions for families to be featured from county agricultural extension agents. To be chosen as "Farm Family of the Week", families had to live within the WLBT viewing area, and also had to qualify as excellent farmers. Every Monday, Langfitt drove in a WLBT car to the home of the farm family that would be featured on Friday. Once there, he would shoot some seventy shots of the farm, family members and usually the interior of the farm home. Then he would interview the family about their farming history, methods, and challenges. From this interview, he would write the script for the segment. To produce the show on a low budget, the photographic shots were not printed; instead the images selected to be shown were "framed up" and the polarity on the television camera was reversed to show the negative frames as positives. On the day of the program, the family would come to the studio and talk with Langfitt as a part of the segment.

The Howard Langfitt Farm Family of the Week Collection comprises 373 programs represented by 342 scripts and some 17,000 images in 35 mm negative format. Most of the images are of Caucasian families, but there are some images of African-Americans working on the farm and in the homes. Thirty-eight Mississippi counties and the Louisiana parishes of Madison and Tensas are represented. In addition, two educational institutions are represented: the French Camp Academy farm and the Hinds Junior College Agricultural Department. Two meetings were the subjects of programs: a Delta Council meeting, May 26, 1961, and the Mississippi Association of Soil Conservation Districts annual meeting, undated. The Livestock Market in Jackson, Mississippi was the subject of the August 18, 1961 program.