Biography

Rick Sebak has a way of quickly capturing the essence of a place and its people. His newest documentary, "Sandwiches That You Will Like," will delight viewers, tickle their memories, tempt their taste buds and, in the process, convince them to contribute to public television.

Prior to "Sandwiches," Rick's most recent special for PBS was "A Flea Market Documentary," a sort of travelogue and an extended conversation with people across the country about the joys of shopping in open-air markets.

His latest local program, "Pittsburgh A to Z," recently won a Judges' Merit Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters.

Rick's "A Hot Dog Program" (June 1999) and "Great Old Amusement Parks" (July 1999), were received with both critical and popular acclaim. They carried on the style established in Rick's earlier PBS programs, "An Ice Cream Program" (May 1996) and "Shore Things" (July 1996).

PBS stations around the country continue to rebroadcast these programs because audiences respond so favorably to the quirky blend of Americana, places and personalities.

In 1990, Rick converted one of his local specials into a national program for PBS:" Our Neighbor Fred Rogers." A documentary about the life and work of Mister Rogers, narrated by David Hartman, this program won a 1991 CINE Golden Eagle.

In 1988, he produced and narrated a program titled "Kennywood Memories," about the Pittsburgh amusement park that's been recognized as a National Historic Landmark. The program won many awards, including the Ed King Memorial Award for Outstanding Broadcast Journalism and the Golden Quill for Best Documentary. Although local in origin, it has been shown in over 100 markets on PBS stations.

Before coming to WQED, Rick worked for 11 years at the South Carolina Educational Television Network in Columbia, South Carolina. His work there included the award-winning documentaries "Shag," about the official state dance of South Carolina, and "The Slightly Wacky Aussie Doco," a travelogue about Australia.

NEW! Sandwiches That
You Will Like

It's America between two slices of bread! It's a fast-cut, slightly goofy celebration of some great sandwiches at some very interesting places from Pennsylvania to California.

Have a pastrami in New York City. Sample a Maid Rite "loosemeat" in Iowa, a St. Paul in St. Louis, and a chipped ham "Slammer" in Pittsburgh. How about barbecued brisket in Texas? Or Italian beef in Chicago? Try a muffuletta and several shrimp and oyster po-boys in New Orleans. And see why folks in Buffalo go for beef-on-weck while people in Louisville love a Hot Brown.

Even when much of America seems "all the same," you can still find some distinctive, delicious differences in lots of cities, and this documentary takes you to some outstanding eateries where lobster rolls are amazing, where falafel is fabulous, and where peanut-butter-and-jelly is always at the top of the menu.



The Critics' Choice

New York Post:
"If you're familiar with the work of filmmaker Rick Sebak, you already know the trip will be delightfully evocative and fact-filled."

The New York Daily News:
"Rick Sebak is not a filmmaker. He's a brainwasher. He's a brainwasher because you can't watch one of his effervescent films without having a very strong urge to follow in his footsteps and experience firsthand the place he presents so compellingly."

The Washington Post:
"Sebak hasn't got as much attention as 'Civil War' and 'Baseball' filmmaker Ken Burns, but he has produced an impressive array of scrapbook documentaries..."

USA Today:
"Serving as his own narrator, Sebak is an enthusiastic, affectionate collector of American eccentricities."

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Rick's Other National Shows

A Flea Market Documentary is an all-American celebration of open air shopping across the country, of the unusual people and the enticing things that can be found in parking lots, fairgrounds, drive-ins, sidewalks, and wherever else someone has posted a sign saying "Flea Market." It's amazing old stuff, great salespeople, the ancient tradition of the open-air market, and the possibility of finding a bargain, all uniting shoppers across the nation.

>> A Flea Market Documentary

A Hot Dog Program is an all-American celebration of those fabulous and phenomenally popular little sausages in their soft little buns. Whether you like your dog with mustard and sauerkraut, chili and cheese, or with the "works," this program is sure to please.

>> A Hot Dog Program

Great Old Amusement Parks celebrates some of the pre-Disney parks like Whalom Park in Massachusetts and Oaks Park in Oregon, Pennsylvania's idyllic Idlewild and Ohio's spectacular Cedar Point that are still thriving, as well as a few of the classic parks that are gone. The one-hour special takes you on old wooden roller coasters, vintage bumper cars and many other cool classic rides. We look at some amusing history and discover what's special about these amazing parks that bring people together and keep them coming back.

>> Great Old Amusement Parks

An Ice Cream Show is a somewhat wacky celebration of America's favorite dessert, taking viewers to places around the U.S., from Vermont to Hawaii, to better understand our affection for this flavorful treat. An Ice Cream Show mostly features small ice cream shops where they take great care with the "product." We meet many ice cream lovers -- from makers and eaters to collectors and cone-makers. We stop at lots of unforgettable places, including Bassett's in Philadelphia, Matsumoto's in Haleiwa, Carl's in Fredericksburg, Robin Rose's in Los Angeles, and Four Seas in Centerville, Mass.


For more on All-American Documentaries contact Pat Taormina at 412-622-1584 or ptaormin@wqed.org.

Rick Sebak Audio: Listen to two Sebak interviews at Ann Online.

Hot Dog Review: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Rick's hot dog show.

Sandwiches: Myriad recipes for a hand-held meal.

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