In the fifties. on CMQ Television, Channel 6 in Cuba, there was a short educational program focused on moral and civic issues, led by Father Jaime Aldeaseca, a priest of Spanish origin, which was transmitted every Sunday evening after the news.
The television program was sponsored by “Rodriguez and Company,” an importer of food and Spanish products, and it included commercials for some of its products, such as “Jon Chi” rice, “Chaval” oil, and “Bola
Roja” beans. The main anchor was Maria Antonia Farias. The producer of that show was the person who is writing this.
Father Aldeaseca, a learned man, laconic, easygoing, respectful, and very professional, threw himself into the theme and contents of his lectures. It was his habit to arrive just minutes before the start of transmission (never more than 10 or 20), to Studio 17 of the FOCSA building, from where the show was aired from a modest set downstairs, and in that short time we would agree on the main aspects of the show, establishing the different cuts and camera shots that would form the production, and some other issues, aided by the ‘coordinator’ who, following my
instructions, would transmit the signal to look at one camera or the other (we always used two), and the time of each shot, in order to create a smooth production. The audio, lighting and the work of the cameramen were also coordinated in the same way.
The program started after the identification of the channel, with the image of a spinning globe on which appeared the identifying
text “AS THE WORLD TURNS.” The image then changed to a medium shot of a globe of the world (the kind used in schools) and then to a closed camera shot slowly opening and revealing Father Aldeaseca seated with the globe on the left. After saying ”good evening,” he then
announced the topic, and began his discussion. The first half of the program (which in total ran for 27 minutes) was performed in a way that the speaker could gain mobility, until the central commercial. After the commercial the lecture continued until the end, closing again on the real globe, and then a quick cut to the initial image of the spinning globe on which were superimposed the end credits, both artistic and technical.
This was a completely live transmission, sent directly over the air, with only the pauses noted above. Once the transmission ended and the
channel commenced with other programming, Father Aldeaseca waited for us in the studio, and after we left the production booth he met us and shook hands in farewell to all of us the producer, musical director, sound technician, lighting director, studio inspector etc. He would have previously shaken hands with the people inside the studio–presenter, coordinator, assistant, camera operator, audio and lighting staff, etc. His tall figure, dressed all in black, then walked out the large door and disappeared onto the ramp of Studies 17 and 19 onto 19th Street.
So every Sunday, it rained, thundered and lightning. The
program aired until early January of ’59, when it became increasingly difficult to continue,even though this was never a political program. Father Aldeaseca discussed civics and morality in his lectures, and politics could not be avoided, even if through nothing more than inductive thinking or interpretation of those who saw and heard it. With the disappearance of the show, I lost contact with Father Aldeaseca. Later I learned that he had a similar program on a Miami TV station, and much later, that he had died. “As the World Turns” united us on many Sunday nights in the Cuba of the 1950s. The cultured priest, who by clear spoken, easy communication (even through the small screen), added his bit to the civic and moral education of many Cubans, including this writer, will always remain in my memory and my heart.