Civil Discourse: William F. Buckley Jr.'s Firing Line, 1966-1999

This is an Archive of a Past Event

This exhibition commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of William F. Buckley Jr.'s legendary television program Firing Line. With 1,505 episodes aired over thirty-three years (1966-1999), Firing Line was the longest-running public affairs show with a single host in television history. The program featured thoughtful exchanges of views between the conservative host and his guests: statesmen, politicians, journalists, economists, authors, religious figures, poets, and actors whose opinions ranged across the political and ideological spectrum. Prominent guests included Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Muhammad Ali, Allen Ginsberg, Milton Friedman, Joan Baez, and Truman Capote. 

Drawing on the rich broadcast records of Firing Line at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, the exhibition displays video, photographs, transcripts, newsletters, viewer correspondence, and publicity materials to spotlight the remarkable exchanges that kept American viewers of all political persuasions coming back every week for more than three decades.