Stories from My Life in Public Television

Ron Hull

280 pages
17 photographs


October 2012


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

October 2012


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Born in 1930 in “Diddlin’ Dora’s” establishment on the banks of Rapid Creek and carried by the Madam herself to a social worker at the Alex Johnson Hotel in Rapid City, Ron Hull was destined from the outset to live an interesting life. And interesting it has indeed been, at the very least. A well-known and much-loved figure after six decades in television, Hull sets out in Backstage to tell his story—from playing a bellhop in a junior class play in South Dakota (and meeting his “real” mother backstage) to initiating the American Experience series for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Before he even owned a television set, Hull produced a military TV show at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. But it wasn’t until he got a job in public broadcasting in Lincoln, Nebraska, that he truly found his medium. Hull has a lifetime of fascinating anecdotes to tell: working as a producer and director, encountering celebrities like John Wayne and William Shatner, befriending famous Nebraskans like writers Mari Sandoz and John Neihardt and actress Sandy Dennis, moving to Saigon in 1966 to bring television to embattled Vietnam, and working in Washington as director of the program fund for the CPB. Through it all, though, Hull’s story is a tribute to his adopted Nebraska, a celebration of the people—stars and unsung heroes—he’s known, and a moving memoir of the dramas of life, large and small.

Author Bio

Ron Hull (1930–2023) was senior advisor to Nebraska Educational Telecommunications and professor emeritus of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


"The author does an amazing job at bringing you into his life, though all of the interesting twists and turns that have made this man into the truly unique individual that you can see that he is. . . . This was a great book that I would highly recommend to one and all."—Christopher Lewis, Dad of Divas

"Possessing a remarkable memory, and with attention to detail, Hull takes us on an intimate pilgrimage. . . . Ron's personal journey echoes a line from Nebraska's Willa Cather: 'The end is nothing; the road is all.""—Leta Powell Drake, Lincoln 55 Plus

"Hull's book takes us on a nostalgic ride through the founding days of public television."—Paul Hammel, Omaha World Herald

"For Hull, the performing arts and mass media have always been tools of self-discovery, and his memoir reminds us of television's latent educational and connective power."—Chris Rasmussen, Nebraska History

"Ron Hull's Backstage: Stories from My Life in Public Television sums up the incredible journey of a man who has loved, with heart and soul, the mission and impact of a philosophy and medium known as public television."—Daniel L. Schiedel, Great Plains Quarterly

Table of Contents

1. Where the West Begins in the Middle of . . . 
2. The Mystery in Grandmother's Trunk 
3. The Stranger in the Night 
4. The Hulls and the Kayes 
5. On Becoming a Storyteller 
6. Front and Center 
7. With Thanks to the <SC>gi</SC> Bill 
8. Our Town 
9. We Had a Dream 
10. Shapers of the Dream 
11. My Two Friends John Neihardt and Mari Sandoz 
12. Bringing Television to Vietnam 
13. Actors, Politicians, and Airplanes 
14. Like Dragons Take to Maidens 
15. Brief and Memorable Far East Encounters 
16. Programming the Vietnamese Way 
17. Goodbye, Saigon 
18. The House that Jack Built 
19. Back to Vietnam 
20. David and Goliath 
21. The Big Time 
22. Sandy, Jean, and Phil 
23. The Gang of Seven 
24. The Missed Opportunity 
25. Exciting Times, Stimulating People 
26. Feeling the "Old Washington Squeeze" 
27. The Peace Tree 


 2013 Nebraska Book Award winner in Nonfiction Autobiography

Also of Interest