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New Releases: March 2018

The Texas Archive of the Moving Image has long championed home movies as a form of public record. Local news programming is undeniably another. The cultural significance of both production types is exceedingly evident in the Tom Wright Collection, the subject of this month’s New Releases. Wright joined Beaumont’s KFDM-TV in 1985. Remaining at the station for more than 30 years, he currently serves as a news managing editor.

The collection primarily consists of select broadcast appearances by Wright. As with most local television news, the stories range in tone from lighthearted to serious. This 1986 footage unquestionably falls into the former category. In the first segment, Wright visits the home of the Harvey family, whose 19 children make it one of the largest families in east Texas. The next follows the mystery of the Minglewood peacock, with Wright gleefully making as many fowl-filled puns as possible. 

By the 1990s, Wright expanded his reporting to include more investigative work. In this three-part special report, he asks viewers to rethink the Neches River’s reputation as a polluted waterway. Speaking with Lamar University professors and government officials, Wright examines how environmental regulations drastically improved the health and water quality of the river, opening it up for safe recreational use.

Were Team TAMI to choose its favorite from the collection, however, we would surely pick this one. In this 1990s home movie, Wright directs his son Zachary Parigi to lead a tour of their Beaumont home. After a moment’s hesitation about using a microphone, Zachary effortlessly adopts the persona of a broadcast personality, humorously commenting on his life and surroundings. Lines like “Seth, he’s a Capricorn and he’s a fighter” not only provide lots of laughs but also demonstrate the unique dialect of east Texans.

Explore the entire Tom Wright Collection here.