This year is Illinois 150th year of statehood. This nostalgic sesquicentennial tribute presents some of the Prairie State's leading citizens, as well as show-business personalities who have been associated with the state.
Among the stars are Jack Benny, Dave Garroway, Bob Hope, Mahalia Jackson, Mercedes McCambridge, Burr Tillstrom (with puppets Kukla and Ollie) and the original Benny Goodman Trio (Goodman, Gene Krupa and Teddy Wilson). The host is Steve Allen, who composed the program's score.
Also appearing are Senator Everett Dirksen (who offers a dramatic recitation) and Charles Percy, former Senator Paul Douglas, Gov Otto Kerner, Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley, writer Mark Van Doren, architect R.Buckminster Fuller, balladeer Win Stracke, writer-broadcaster Studs Terkel, former FCC head Newton Minow and Adlai Stevenson III. Heard via recordings: the late Adlai Stevenson and poet Carl Sandburg.
Filmed almost entirely on location, the program covers Illinois from end to end, visiting the pulse points of the present and historic sites sacred to its heritage,