1966: Remembering An Ominous Suburban Portrait

When CBS profiled the suburban community of Webster Park, outside of St. Louis, few in the neighborhood realized how their culture would appear to outside observers.
March 7, 2006, 8am PST | David Gest
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"On a late winter night [in 1966], CBS News held up a mirror to the prideful face of Webster Groves, Missouri -- 'six square miles of the American dream,' as the network proclaimed -- and very few people liked what they saw. Inexplicably, the passage of time has done little to diminish the anger and embarrassment."

"...CBS identified Webster Groves as the quintessential upper-middle-class slice of mid-America in which to delve into what sixteen-year-old high-school juniors really thought about their community, their school and their future. A nine-member crew shot twenty-eight hours of footage in order to unearth, as narrator Charles Kuralt...put it, 'youthful rebellion and dissatisfaction.'"

"What [CBS] found instead -- or what they chose to show after three months nestled amid the shaggy trees and century-old homes -- was a Babbitt-like conformity, rigid and overbearing parents, an insular and soulless class and a callous indifference to the minuscule number of 'negroes' in the community."

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Published on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 in St. Louis Riverfront Times
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