The radio program made a transition to television in 1953, with Walter Cronkite as the regular host. Reporters included veteran radio announcers Dick Joy and Harlow Wilcox. The first telecast took place on February 1, 1953. The final telecast took place on October 13, 1957. Originally telecast live, most of the later episodes were produced on film. One of the episodes, for instance, features actor Pat Conway (1931-1981) as James J. Corbett, the boxer who fought champion John L. Sullivan in 1892.
The program was seen again on Saturday morning on videotape from 1971 to 1972. These programs were also hosted by Cronkite. Both series were produced by CBS News.
The series also featured various key events in American and World history, portrayed in dramatic recreations. Additionally, CBS News reporters, in modern-day suits, would report on the action and interview the protagonists of each of the historical episodes. Each episode would begin with the characters setting the scene. Cronkite, from his anchor desk in New York, would give a few words on what was about to happen. An announcer would then give the date and the event, followed by a loud and boldly spoken "You Are There!"
Cronkite would then return to describe the event and its characters more in detail, before shifting the attention to the event itself, saying, "All things are as they were then, except... You Are There."
At the end of the program, after Cronkite summarizes what happened in the preceding event, he reminded viewers, "What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times... and you were there."
The 1950s edition was briefly parodied in a Merrie Melodies cartoon, Wideo Wabbit, featuring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, as Fudd's pursuit of Bugs lands him in a re-enactment of Custer's Last Stand.
The series was parodied on The Electric Company in a sketch titled You Weren't There. "You weren't born yet, you were out of town, or you just weren't paying attention," says the narrator.
From 2000 to 2005, Cronkite presented a series of essays for National Public Radio, reflecting on various key events of his life, including his involvement in You Are There in the 1950s.