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'America at Thanksgiving -- 1980': an electronic appetizer

Aside from morning parades, which are bound to feature Flash Gordon as well as Star War pilgtims this year, Public Broadcasting Service is offering a tasty new concoction of a live Thanksgiving show. It may prove to be the forerunner of the kind of live public-interest video that the American public will be seeing more of as commercial channels reach out toward young, innovative, independent producers to counteract the growing competition of cable TV.

It is highly original Thanksgiving Day living and breathing appetizer (or dessert, depending upon your feasting time and your time zone): "America At Thanksgiving -- 1980" (PBS, 2-4 p.m. Eastern standard time, check local listings).

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Most PBS affiliated stations will permit you to share Thanksgiving with a varied group of celebrators all over the country, at the very moment that actual celebration occurs. It will be accomplished under the guidance of executive producer Leslie Shatz, utilizing the most advanced computer conferencing techniques to contact, electronically, producers all over the country, and through the auspices of coproducer Kim Spencer, who is also director of the Public Interest Video Network. The imaginatively wide choice of celebrations may add a bit of additional color to your own traditional Thanksgiving celebration.

Starting at 2 p.m. Eastern time, here are some of the electronic, satellite-linked parties you can join to share your turkey with (electronically, that is):

A farm gathering in Mead, Neb.

A gospel church service in Tallahasse, Fla.

A fox hunt in Ipswich, Mass.

A gathering of demonstrators at Plymouth Rock, fasting to protest desecration of Indian lands.

a motorcycle club roadside picnic dinner at a service station in Cambrdige, Mass.

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Dinner at a juvenile home near San Francisco.

The actual locations will be linked together via satellite, so there will be instantaneous switching from place to place. The various parties will be able to communicate with each other as well as with the electronic host through the Electronic Information Exchange System (EIES). If some of this seems a bit unclear -- there will be on-camera explanations of the technology involved so that the American public can become more aware of the amazing possibilities which the new video technology now offers.

Happy Thanksgiving; at home and on video.

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