The Great American Birthday Party on July 4, 1976


On July 4, 1976, ABC News and Harry Reasoner, ran day long coverage of America’s Bicentennial events. Lucky for us, someone in 1976 owned a Betamax and decided to record it so that nearly 40 years later we could watch it. Here is a part 1 of the coverage, all parts include original commercials and bumpers. You can click-through at the end to get to part 2 if you are enjoying it (which you will).

Highlights from Part 1 include remote coverage from San Francisco, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York City (with Ted Koppel) — Not bad for a 10 minute clip.


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2 thoughts on “The Great American Birthday Party on July 4, 1976

  1. This is awesome! Great find!
    As a kid, the 1976 Bicentennial July 4th was a HUGE deal in my 8 year old life.
    It seemed that all of 1975 and half of 1976 was a big build-up for the US’s 200th celebration on July 4th.
    I lived in NJ then so there was a big emphasis on America’s Colonial Period in school- as it probably was in all the original 13 Colonies States- which included our grade staging a “living museum” on NJ Colonial life which was visited by kids from other schools.
    I had grandparents living high up in an apartment building on Staten Island, NY which afforded us a great view of the parade of ships on the Hudson River during Operation Sail on July 4th, 1976.
    There was a new 25ยข quarter circulated to commemorate 1776-1976 and the U.S. $2 bill was reissued because it featured Thomas Jefferson on the front and a depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the back.
    And the U.S. postal stamps! Lots of those issued to commemorate Colonial America and the Bicentennial.
    Go look at the ’74-’76 department store catalog pages for home furnishings and decorations at and you’ll see that there was a push to merchandise on the Bicentennial Spirit as well.
    Yep, take it from me, back in 1976 tri-corn hats were all the rage…again.

  2. For crying out loud, to get an understanding of how big a deal this was, look at that set built for Harry Reasoner just for this day!

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