KRWG-TV picks up locally made ‘Pláticas’ documentaries
Starting this week, KRWG-TV will broadcast a series of televised pláticas, or “talks,” featuring the rich and unique oral histories of some of the Mesilla Valley’s most illustrious residents and produced right here in Las Cruces.
Produced by PRC productions in association with the Mesquite Historic Preservation Society – which first began holding these public chats some years ago – “Pláticas” presents the true stories of some of Las Cruces’ earliest settlers and founding families, told by their descendants carrying down the oral tradition of storytelling.
“Pláticas” is composed of 12, 27-minute episodes, each featuring interviews along with photos and, when available, archival film footage, giving a true-to-life look at the Las Cruces of yesteryear.
The idea for this series of discussions first began in 2012 during the Land of Enchantment’s yearlong centennial celebration as a way to preserve the history, legend and human drama of the city’s earliest residents, along with the rapidly disappearing art of oral storytelling.
“It’s no secret that oral histories are becoming a thing of the past as technology makes the recording of important moments so much easier,” said PRC Productions head and “Pláticas” producer Troy Scoughton, Sr. “But what about the stories from the past? Somebody has to preserve those wonderful stories of life on the frontier, the obstacles that were overcome and some of the greatest moments of human survival, straight from the mouths of the people closest to them. These are stories that must be told.”
Episodes of “Pláticas” will air at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays and again at 10:30 p.m. Saturdays.
For its premiere episode, “Pláticas” tells the story of the Mesilla Valley as seen through the eyes of the late Clarence Fielder, who was born and raised in Las Cruces, graduated from New Mexico State University, served in the Korean War, where he received the Purple Heart and Silver Star commendations, and taught history for more than 30 years. A unique second episode features Fielder again, speaking at a public Q& A session. This second episode will air at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, and at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16.
Episode 2 of “Pláticas” (Jan. 21 and 23) gives a rare glimpse into the earliest days of Las Cruces and the life of Daniel Milton Reade, as told by his great grandson, historian Dean C. Reade. The elder Reade came to Las Cruces with the California Column in 1862, where he became a rancher, businessman and, when times required him to do so, a lawman – a position most notable in that, after legendary outlaw Billy the Kid was tried and convicted in Mesilla, Reade was a member of the posse who escorted The Kid to hang.
Episode 3, titled “Escorting the Kid” (Jan. 28 and 30) continues the story from episode 2. Dean C. Reade is joined by David Wood and George Olinger, descendants of the now-famous posse that escorted Billy the Kid from Mesilla to Lincoln, detailing the harrowing trip in which every precaution was made to ensure The Kid was indeed delivered to his final destination.
Episode 4 (Feb. 4 and 6) features the memories of Las Cruces and a view of the many changes it’s seen over the past 50 years, as seen through the eyes of former head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at NMSU, World War II veteran and author Robert “Bob” Wisner.
The large and illustrious Torres family is the subject of episode 5 (Feb. 11 and 13). Spend time with nine siblings born and raised in Las Cruces between 1930 and 1950, the children of Angel and Carmen Torres, residents of Las Cruces’ historic Mesquite District. What were some of the changes southern New Mexico went through during these turbulent times? Find out from a few of those who lived it.
Lifelong Las Crucens David and Charles Lucero discuss growing up in the Mesilla Valley as homeowners and entrepreneurs in a time before urban renewal changed the face of Downtown Las Cruces in episode 6 (Feb. 18 and 20). Navigate the changes through the eyes of those who experienced them firsthand, and get a better understanding about what the current Downtown restoration is all about.
Episode 7 (Feb. 25 and 27) introduces Ernestina and Victory Gallegos, the mother-son entrepreneurs and owners of Nopalito’s Restaurant for more than 50 years. Originally opened by Ernestina and husband J.R. Gallegos, Nopalito’s is still considered one of the finest New Mexican restaurants in the Southwest, but the story behind its foundation is even more amazing.
Episode 8 (March 3 and 5) features Johnny and Isabel Flores, beloved fixtures in Downtown Las Cruces who have been playing music in the city center for more than 40 years, during which time they have seen a multitude of changes, good and bad. Get a firsthand look at what Las Cruces was, and how it came to be the city we know today.
Bill Greenberg is the focus of “Pláticas” episode 9 (March 10 and 12). Though only a Las Cruces resident for six months during World War II, Greenberg’s mark on the history of the area cannot be understated. A bombardier navigator who received special training at Deming Air Base in 1944, Greenberg flew training missions over six bombing targets in the Sierra de Las Uvas Mountains north and west of Las Cruces. His memories of this turbulent time shed light on the Mesilla Valley’s place in world history.
Episode 10 (March 17 and 19) goes back in time to the founding of Las Cruces through a lecture by Daniel Villa, published author and professor in the Department of Language and Linguistics at NMSU. From the Doña Ana Bend Colony Land Grant in 1840 to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1948, the establishment of property ownership in southern New Mexico came about in ways no other American state can claim.
Switching things up, “Pláticas” episode 11 (March 24 and 26) features the iconic Rio Grande Theatre. Originally established in 1926, the Rio Grande Theatre has undergone many changes in the ensuing decades, none more notable that the restoration of the historic landmark by the Doña Ana Arts Council from 1998 to 2005. Catch up with the people who brought the dream back to life in this special episode dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the theater’s renovation.
Closing out season one of “Pláticas” is episode 12 (March 31 and April 2) featuring J. Paul Taylor. Few have had the impact of community leader, educator, legislator and benefactor J. Paul Taylor, who was born and raised in Las Cruces but whose influence has been felt throughout the state and beyond. Filmed just days after his 93rd birthday, this episode documents more than a century of life in the Mesilla Valley through the eyes of a native son.
For more information on PRC Productions and its “Pláticas” series, visit www. prc- productions. com.