After two years of anticipation, BCI members in the United States were at last treated to "The Secret World of Bats" on CBS television, May 29, 1992. The hour
-long Survival Anglia documentary was the result of over a year of filming around the world with BCI's Merlin Tuttle as science advisor [BATS, Summer 1990]. The program was viewed in over 7 million households, which is considered a high number for a nature film. The response was overwhelmingly positive and undoubtedly will have major impact in ensuring a better future for American bats.
Since completion of the documentary in 1990, it has aired in Australia and throughout Europe, garnering numerous awards. These include the Prix de l'Image (program with the greatest imagery and impact) at the 8th International Television Science Broadcast Festival in Paris, France in 1991, the Great Prize at the 9th Nature and Environment International Film Festival in Grenoble, France in March, and five awards, including Best of Category in a TV Documentary, at the Missoula Wildlife Film Festival in April.
Members in at least 20 cities were disappointed when local stations pre-empted the documentary in favor of nationally syndicated special programming or sports events. The documentary eventually aired in some of these areas at a later hour. Calls and letters to local station managers may prompt rescheduling. Further disappointment resulted when CBS policy precluded BCI from advertising in several major cities to solicit new members.
Despite these unanticipated setbacks, the documentary immediately increased membership by more than 10 percent and continues to generate a large volume of information requests. We greatly appreciate the many members who invited friends to watch the program; your efforts helped BCI to grow and expand its influence.
For those who missed the United States debut of this outstanding film, and for those who would like to share it with others, it is now available on VHS videocassette through the BCI catalogue.