Page, George (H.)
PAGE, George (H.)
Male. Education: Graduate of Emory University.
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), creator, host, narrator, and executive director of Nature, 1982—. Host of television films, including The Brain, 1983, Land of the Eagle, 1991, Realms of the Russian Bear, 1992, A Glorious Accident, 1993, and Jaguar: Year of the Cat, 1995. Executive producer of television films, including Picasso: A Painter's Diary, 1980, Fred Astaire: Change Partners and Dance, 1980, and The Brain, 1983.
Emmy Award, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1980, outstanding program achievement—special class, for Fred Astaire: Change Partners and Dance; since 1982 the television program Nature has been awarded two Emmy Awards for outstanding informational series, 1988 and 1989; honorary degree, Emory University, for "contribution to science education in the United States."
(Author of introduction) James Shreeve, The Other Earthlings (companion volume to Nature TV series), Macmillan (New York, NY), 1987.
Inside the Animal Mind: A Groundbreaking Exploration of Animal Intelligence, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999, published in the United Kingdom as The Singing Gorilla: Understanding Animal Intelligence, Headline (London, England), 1999.
American television producer, director, writer, editor, and narrator George Page has hosted the acclaimed Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) program Nature since the early 1980s. He is also the author of the nonfiction book Inside the Animal Mind: A Groundbreaking Exploration of Animal Intelligence. Among the television programs Page has hosted is The Brain, an eight-hour exploration of the complicated workings of the human brain. The program covered not only the mechanics of the brain, but what happens to the organ in cases of injury, disease, and medical treatment. John Leonard, in a review for New York magazine, commented, "We are made to feel wonder … and fear … as we watch this beautiful, dangerous dream machine." In a review for Science '84, Alfred Meyer referred to Page as "a sure-footed series host" and the series as "superb documentary television."
Page was also executive editor and host of the WNET-TV program Land of the Eagle, which first aired in 1991. The eight-hour series explores North America at the time of the arrival of the first European settlers; the conflict between Native American and European views of nature; and the modern state of the continent after centuries of human "dominance." Van Gordon Sauter, in a review for Variety, found the series "a joy to watch" but "unfortunately flawed" because the integration of themes into a regional format "provides jarring transitions and disjointed story lines."
Inside the Animal Mind: A Groundbreaking Exploration of Animal Intelligence is a companion volume to the three-part program produced for the PBS Nature series. In both the television program and the companion book, Page cites the work of scientists such as Jane Goodall, Donald Griffin, and Charles Darwin, and books such as Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's Hidden Life of Dogs in order to reveal the mental and emotional intelligence of animals. Using examples such as Koko the gorilla, who mourned the death of her pet kitten and was able to recognize her former pet in a photograph five years later, Page reveals that animals have an intelligence that humans are reluctant to acknowledge. The program and book assert that the assumption that animals do not have a consciousness or feel pain in the same manner as humans do has led to the ill treatment of animals through history. Praising Page for his plain-language presentation of scientific information, Los Angeles Times Book Review contributor Caroline Fraser wrote, "Page's cogent synthesis of decades of complex philosophical, psychological, scientific and ethical debate does readers an inestimable service." Howard Rosenberg, in the Los Angeles Times, called both the book and series "a fascinating journey into the animal mind en route to unexpected destinations." He concluded, "The moral questions raised by this documentary are profound."
Some reviews were less positive. In a review for the New York Times, Walter Goodman commented that while the researchers' findings were intriguing, none of the revelations regarding animal intelligence "come close to the more expansive reaches of human intelligence." John Carman, in the San Francisco Chronicle, felt the program contains "lots of unresolved science" and "keeps circling its topic without ever coming in for a landing." Nevertheless, Nancy Bent, in Booklist, called it a "marvelous look at animal intelligence." And a Publishers Weekly contributor commented on its "wide-ranging essays" written in Page's "always personable and often casual" style and noted that most readers "will welcome his surveys of this immense topic."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 1994, James Scholtz, review of Realms of the Russian Bear, p. 1470; November 1, 1999, Nancy Bent, "Up Close Animal Studies," p. 495.
Library Journal, February 15, 1993, Susan Hamburger, review of "Conquering the Swamps" (in series Land of the Eagle), p. 208; November 15, 1999, Peggie Partello, review of Inside the Animal Mind: A Groundbreaking Exploration of Animal Intelligence, p. 96.
Los Angeles Times, January 5, 2000, Howard Rosenberg, "TV Goes to the Dogs," p. F1.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 5, 2000, Caroline Fraser, review of Inside the Animal Mind, p. 1.
New Scientist, May 1, 1999, review of The Singing Gorilla: Understanding Animal Intelligence, p. 51.
New York, October 15, 1984, John Leonard, "Mother Courage," pp. 79-80.
New York Times, January 4, 2000, Walter Goodman, "How a Pigeon Can Tell a Picasso from a Monet," p. E10.
New York Times Book Review, January 9, 2000, Carol Peace Robins, review of Inside the Animal Mind, section 7, p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, August 21, 1987, review of The Other Earthlings, p. 58; October 4, 1999, review of Inside the Animal Mind, p. 58.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 9, 2000, Patricia Corrigan, "If Animals Could Talk, What Would They Say?," p. F10.
San Francisco Chronicle, January 4, 2000, John Carman, "Trying to Get into the Heads of Animals," p. B1.
Science '84, November, 1984, Alfred Meyer, review of The Brain, p. 184.
Times Literary Supplement, August 10, 1999, Deborah L. Manzolillo, review of The Singing Gorilla.
Variety, November 25, 1991, Van Gordon Sauter, review of Land of the Eagle, p. 43.
Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2000, Dorothy Rabinowitz, "From Nature to Human Nature," p. A16.
Emory Magazine, Emory University,http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_MAGAZINE/ (winter, 1995), "George Page."
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (November 5, 2003), "George Page."
Palm Digital Media,http://www.palmdigitalmedia.com/ (November 5, 2003), "George Page."*