For Arch and Laree Rambeau, a desire for culture and art initially drew them to Arizona PBS. “Music is an international language,” Laree said. “That might save the world.”
Once they started watching, they were amazed by how much they enjoyed a wide variety of PBS programming.
“It’s hard not to be inspired,” Arch said. “Our Sunday evenings are devoted to it. I get the monthly schedule and asterisk all the things we want to watch.”
The Rambeaus quickly came up with a long list of favorite PBS programs, including “Poldark” (“always adventure-some”), “Grantchester,” “The Durrells in Corfu,” “Victoria,” “Les Miserables” (“that was wonderful!”), “Downton Abbey,” “Plate & Pour,” “Nova” and “American Experience.”
“And we love ‘Doc Martin,’” Laree said. “He’s a stitch. The characters are so entertaining, you just have to chuckle along the way.”
“Ken Burns programs are treasures and we look forward to his next series on Country Music,” Arch added.
“The non-fiction is just wonderful,” said Laree. “We spent hours and hours watching the Apollo 8 and 11 programs.”
This year’s Summer of Space programs were especially exciting to Arch and Laree because of a personal connection. Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, who took the famous “Earthrise” photo, became Arch’s boss at General Dynamics in the later years of his career. “I helped recruit him to be our CEO,” Arch said. “We had great rapport.”
“What was fun for us on the shows was to see Bill and his wife, Valerie as a young family, because we didn’t know them then,” said Laree.
Arch and Laree met in Lynwood, California, in the eleventh grade. “We were steadies in high school,” Arch said, “but when we decided we were going away to separate colleges — she was going to USC on a scholastic scholarship and I was going to San Diego State on an athletic scholarship for basketball — we decided we would part. If it was in the cards, then we would get back together.” Clearly, it was in the cards: the Rambeaus celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary this year.
The Rambeaus trace their fondness for PBS back to the early days of public broadcasting. “My middle son just connected with Mr. Rogers so much,” Laree said. “He was probably about six when he first watched. That was a great show — just a very nice man who had a way of connecting with children. I would watch with Mark if I was home.”
“For as much as we enjoy and continue to watch PBS, we feel that it is kind of imperative that we help,” Arch said. “When we make our donations in November, we have to think if each organization is something we want to continue to support or not. With PBS, we don’t have that problem. I’ve felt this is an imperative.”