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Joint Minneapolis-Moscow TV Program Announced

October 25, 1985

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Plans for a children’s television program to originate simultaneously from Minneapolis and the Soviet Union on Dec. 2 were announced Thursday by Gov. Rudy Perpich.

The project, Minnesota-Moscow Children’s Space Bridge, will be dedicated to the spirit of Samantha Smith, the Maine schoolgirl who became an international goodwill emissary when she visited the Soviet Union in 1983. Miss Smith, 13, was killed in a plane crash in August.

Perpich’s office said the program was announced in Moscow by Boris Semtonev, director of the foreign relations department of the Gosteleradio, the Soviet broadcasting division.

Perpich said he suggested the idea in November when he headed a Minnesota trade mission to the Soviet Union.

David Speer, president of Padilla and Speer Inc., a Minneapolis public relations company, said there was no response from the Soviets until after Miss Smith’s death.

″It really is the spirit of Samantha Smith that unlocked this program,″ Speer said.

Miss Smith was invited to visit the Soviet Union after she wrote a letter to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov.

The 90-minute program will begin at 12:15 a.m. EST, and at 9:15 p.m. in Moscow. It will originate simultaneously from the Children’s Theater in Minneapolis and from Gosteleradio’s Ostankino Concert Hall in Moscow.

The show will include segments from the musical play ″Peace Child,″ featuring children from both countries as well as an exchange of non-political questions between the youngsters.

The play tells the story of Soviet and American children becoming friends and helping the peace process through a widescale program of educational and cultural exchanges.

David Woollcombe, president of the Peace Child Foundation, said the play would be simultaneously translated for both audiences.

The show also will feature appearances by Stas Namin Group, one of the Soviet Union’s leading rock bands, and by Soviet singing star Ludmilla Sentsina.

The Moscow host will be Vladimir Pozner, who has made frequent appearances on U.S. network news programs. The Minnesota host will be Don Shelby of WCCO- TV.

Although Minnesota is the official co-sponsor of the program, Perpich said the estimated $50,000 required for the its share of the cost would be raised from private sources.

The program will be distributed by KTCA-TV via the Minnesota Public Broadcasting network and transmitted to 180 public broadcasting stations in the United States.

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