The unofficial OUR WORLD Episode Guide

Our World was a documentary-style series hosted by Linda Ellerbee and Ray Gandolf that premiered on ABC in 1986. Each week's hour-long episode was devoted to "a kaleidoscope of the sights, the sounds, the emotions" of one year from the latter part of the twentieth century.

By using a judicious mix of interviews, news footage, photos, and witty narration, the program had the polish of a one-time special rather than a weekly series. Amazingly, the show's producers were able to locate and interview many past newsmakers long before you could simply "Google" someone on the web. The news footage, which almost always fit perfectly with the topic at hand, was no doubt the result of hours of painstaking research.

To describe each episode as merely "covering" a year's worth of events is a disservice to the show's writers and their considerable talent. Each program began with a theme (see titles below) and then proceeded to support that theme throughout the program. For instance, in "Duels In The Sun: Campaign 1952," the theme of duels is portrayed not only between presidential candidates, but also among Olympic athletes, countries in the Korean War, and the movie industry's struggles against television.

If you've read any of Ellerbee's work, you can easily spot her influence on the show: acerbic comments sprinkled throughout, pithy observations, and no-nonsense reporting style. You would not find Ellerbee engaging in any superfluous banter with her co-host. Even the set, as it were, reflected a Spartan sense of style. The hosts sat on stools in a soundstage that was draped with artifacts and mementos from the year being covered. Voiceovers were used between commercials and during the end-credits to relate even more facts, keeping wasted air time to a minimum. The opening sequence used understated computer animation that still holds its own twenty years later, and rousing symphonic theme music was written by Bill Conti of Rocky fame.

The show aired opposite the immensely popular Cosby during the 1986-1987 season, which may help explain why the show did not reach the audience it deserved. I suspect that ABC, unable to counter-program  the competition, commissioned Our World from the news division as a relatively low cost time filler and received much more than they expected. Unfortunately, few shows have come close to the quality, entertainment, and educational value of Our World.


(This guide is a work in progress, and corrections/additions will be forthcoming)


Episode Title

Air Date


Summer Of 1969

Sep 25, 1986


Winds Of Change: Winter 1968



Up Against The Wall: August-October 1961



40 Days In Spring 1970

Oct 23, 1986


Halloween 1938



Speaking Out: Summer 1963



Duels In The Sun: Campaign 1952



All Shook Up: Autumn 1957



13 Days In October 1962



Period Of Adjustment: Fall 1946



One Day: April 12, 1961



Breaking Barriers: 1954

Nov 6, 1986


Worlds Apart: Summer 1939



A Crowded Room: Fall 1949



Autumn 1956



Between The Lines: Summer 1972



Pursuit Of Power: Fall 1973



Secrets & Surprises: The Fall of 1948



Inner Struggles: Fall 1975



Together and Apart: 1943



Cover Stories: May 1960



Liberation Summer: 1944



Long Winter, Short Spring of 1952-1953



Dangerous Assumptions Spring 1953



Fear and Frustration: Winter 1952



Gone With The Wind: The Making Of A Classic, 1939