Its first story on its first day said a lot about what "Sunday Morning" would be like for the next quarter-century: Anchorman Charles Kuralt profiled a California lumberjack who in his off hours played the musical saw.
That's "Sunday Morning" in a nutshell: offbeat, humanistic, timely with affection for the past, and in love with Americana as well as the arts.
This Sunday at 7 a.m., CBS News' "Sunday Morning" airs its 1,295th edition. Its hour and a half will be devoted to looking back on the previous 1,294 broadcasts as this TV institution celebrates its silver anniversary.
Presiding, as usual, will be Charles Osgood (himself marking a decade as anchorman in April).
But all due tribute will be paid to the Charles who went before -- Kuralt -- for it was he who, with producer Robert "Shad" Northshield, cooked up "Sunday Morning" as the calm, informative refuge that premiered on Jan. 28, 1979.
From its first week, "Sunday Morning" looked different, with those Plexiglas panels neatly inscribed with each story topic, and its sunny trademark: the countless graphic faces of Old Sol.
In 1994, Kuralt decided to step down from the broadcast he inspired and, after 37 years, retire from CBS News. (He died in 1997.) His farewell, including some whimsical verse he penned for the occasion, will be among the segments re-aired Sunday.
Besides Osgood, "Sunday Morning" carries on with longtime correspondents Rita Braver, Bill Geist, Russ Mitchell, Martha Teichner and a stable of critics and commentators (including John Leonard, who reviews television -- a rare activity indeed on TV).
CBS wants you to know that, with this enduring formula, the broadcast's audience has increased by 400,000 viewers since last season. The mission remains: "to take you places and tell you things you wouldn't see anywhere else on television," as Osgood explains.