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Frames of Reference; Bruce and Babe

Part of New Television Workshop.


Dubbed from A2-05712. Original date 5/15/79.

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Frames of Reference
Bruce and Babe
Program Number


Series Description

“Frames of Reference” was a series that began circa 1978. Half-hour shows were produced to showcase commissioned and already created works. It was around this time that the focus of the Workshop shifted, to concentrate more heavily on creating works for broadcast. During its time, “Frames of Reference” was the focus of the Workshop’s national arts programming effort. In an attempt to raise funds and foster collaboration, Workshop personnel approached and visited several public television stations nationwide. The major collaborative relationship was with WGBH’s “sister station,” WGBY (Springfield, Mass.). Among the featured artists were Meredith Monk, Remy Charlip, Trisha Brown, and Peter Campus. In 1981, “Frames of Reference” was packaged and offered to PBS, during what is known as “flex time” and was broadcast by WGBH, WNET (New York), and WGBY (Springfield, Mass.). “Frames of Reference” ended as a series ca. 1983, because of a lack of funding. Series release date: 1978

Program Description

In “Bruce and Babe,” New England filmmaker Bruce Cronin and the star of several of his works, Babe Sargent, travel to Warner, N.H. to screen one Cronin's films. Cronin assumes the role of narrator, describing his career and showing highlights from several works. In “The Game,” an early black-and-white film, young boys playing dodge-ball are interrupted by still images of soldiers. In “16 Summit Street,” a woman comes face to face with a man’s bloody visage in this send-up of the horror film genre. “The Wild Goose” features Babe as a feisty nursing-home inmate, teasing his fellow inmates, who nonetheless rejoice at his attempt to escape, and cheer him on as he is pursued by nurses. In “Henry Phipps Goes Skiing,” Babe plays a worker in a show factory who wins a three-day skiing trip to nearby Snowflake Lodge. The film follows his antics and pratfalls as he tumbles through ski slopes and cocktail parties. While Cronin and Sargent take a humorous approach to the presentation of these works, their audiences’ appreciation of them is fully evidenced by the response to their screening in Warner. “Bruce and Babe,” written and directed by Cronin, takes the form of an autobiographical documentary.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Motion pictures--Production and direction
Documentaries and factual works
Film and Television
Bruce Cronin (Producer)
Sargent, J. W. (John W.) ()
Connolly, Daniel ()
Viertel, John ()
Connolly, Dorothy ()
Graves, Midge ()
Chicago: “Frames of Reference; Bruce and Babe,” 05/15/1979, GBH Archives, accessed April 20, 2024,
MLA: “Frames of Reference; Bruce and Babe.” 05/15/1979. GBH Archives. Web. April 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Frames of Reference; Bruce and Babe. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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