Winner 1994

American Playhouse: Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City

KQED, San Francisco, California, A Propaganda/Working Title Production for Channel 4 Television, London, UK

Based on Armistead Maupin’s rich narratives, this six-hour miniseries depicts the gaudy excesses in San Francisco before AIDS with courageous frankness and buoyant humor. As has happened before, it took outside organization to help Americans understand their own culture and legacy. In this case, that organization was England’s progressive Channel 4, which undertook the production for American Playhouse and PBS after years of false starts. In the hands of director Alistair Reid, the words of writer and co-executive producer Richard Kramer and the superb acting talents of a terrific ensemble headed by Olympia Dukakis, Tales of the City chronicles the short-lived age of innocence and blissful ignorance. At the same time, it celebrates the hope and optimism of a time which now seems so long ago. For a miniseries which moves beyond nostalgia and which stretches the boundaries of television drama, a Peabody to American Playhouse: Tales of the City.