Big Blue Marble


Long before the ability to make friends globally via the World Wide Web was possible, there was a simple television show that focused attention on the planet in which we live and the variety of diverse people that call it their home. Big Blue Marble was an innovative and educational kid’s show well before its time, and it’s remembered by many a former kid.

Created by Henry Fownes, Big Blue Marble debuted on PBS in 1974 and offered a view of the planet Earth in all her glorious splendor. Broadcast in many countries around the world besides the United States, this half-hour show with a magazine format focused on exotic cultures and events spanning the globe. And it did its part to bring all of these cultures just a little closer by encouraging young viewers to become pen pals with kids in other countries. Some of the relationships initiated by this show continue to this day.

Big Blue Marble ran for nine seasons on PBS, and was the recipient of a prestigious Peabody Award in 1975, as well as numerous Emmy awards. An album was released by A&M Records in 1974 that contained music from the show, including that catchy theme song that still resides in the memory banks of many a former viewer.

If you remember watching Big Blue Marble in your youth, we’d love to hear any memories you’d like to share in our comments section.

10 Responses to “Big Blue Marble”

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  1. David says:

    I don’t remember Big Blue Marble ever being on PBS (and if it were, it was pretty late in the show’s run), but I do remember that it was originally on syndicated commercial TV (without commercial interruption, IIRC). The show started out with a theme entirely different from the above video (in that it was a bouncier tune). The one in said video, which was much slower in tempo, had the original theme’s opening line, “The earth’s a big blue marble when you see it from out there,” only at the beginning during the opening credits, whereas it ended with that line at the end of the closing credits. That theme premiered in the show’s sixth season–and fifth full season (1978-79).

  2. Hi my name is Cheli Lopez and I’ve been searching for Big Blue Marble for years. When I was 10 years old, I joined Big Blue Marble! I loved it so much and it was a great experience for me, meeting all these people and learning about their cultures. I had 20 pen-pals from all different countries and I still communicate with some of them to this day (and I’m 45 years old now). It’s so amazing how they put this program together because, without it, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet those special people.

  3. Gigi Hall says:

    I never missed an episode. Children today would greatly benefit from this show.

  4. Shannon says:

    I used to narrate some of the episodes that were set in Spanish speaking countries. I remember one episode about “pantomime” and one about “paraskiing”.

  5. Debbie says:

    I remember “The Big Blue Marble” being on PBS. I remember the theme song being a little slower. I still sing that song from time to time.. The into also had kids from around the world saying hello in their home language. I just found the theme song as I remember it:

    I even remember some of the ways to say it. It has stuck with me all these years and I am in my 50’s now. The closing credits had kids from around the world saying goodbye as well.

  6. Terrell Prude', Jr. says:

    I remember this show very well. One of the episodes featured a young Russian boy. This was when I was about nine or ten years old. Since this was during the Cold War, I was surprised that someone from the Soviet Union would be featured. I even wondered, “will they (the Big Blue Marble people) get in trouble if they get caught over there?”

    This Russian boy over in the “land of the enemy” was about my age. He rode go-karts, even participated in local go-kart races. I really wanted a go-kart at that age, so I especially enjoyed this episode. His life looked remarkably like mine, just with a Russian accent. He wanted the same things I did, to have fun, have friends, avoid homework (that one’s universal, I think!), and just be a kid. How could this boy be “the enemy”? Answer: he wasn’t. He was just a boy, like I was. Made me wonder why our countries were fighting against each other, why we were taught to hate “those Commie bastards, they’re all Commie bastards”.

    It is now decades later, and to this day, I remember that boy. The episode helped to cement my long-lasting belief that people are people, no matter where you’re from, no matter what color your skin, no matter what language you learned first. The Earth really is a Big Blue Marble…and it’s also a Pale Blue Dot. I still often wonder why we fight against other people so much like us–and we are so much alike–so, I guess that idealistic ten-year-old is still here, even now.


  7. Hakim Amir says:

    Hi, i’m Hakim from Malaysia. Big Blue Marble has enabled me to be pen-pal with a girl from Sweden way back in 1982. I am now 45 and next winter, I plan to take my family to Sweden for a winter holiday and I look forward to finally meet my pen-pal, whom I still keep in touch to this very day. It will be emotional, I am sure. TQ Big Blue Marble

  8. Scott says:

    I grew up absolutely loving this show. We need more like it these days. I credit it with expanding my horizons and giving me a lifelong interest in other cultures. I wish there was a Big Blue Marble for my kids.

  9. Flora Augustine says:

    Hi. I got 2 pen friends, one from Iraq and another from Malta through this programme. True, this programme has encouraged understanding between different people of different countries and cultures way way before there is the World Wide Web. I have forgotten about Big Blue Marble until I became a teacher and wanted my students to write letters introducing themselves to new friends far far away.
    Is Big Blue Marble still on?



  1. […] its offspring, not the female? Bet you didn’t know that). I’ll be the one who watches Big Blue Marble and ponders who else is out there, somewhere across this vast planet of ours, all those different […]

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