Before World War II, downtown Champaign was humming every Saturday night, with dances on the rooftop of Robeson's department store, movies at the Virginia and Orpheum theaters, and a counter packed with people sipping sodas at Vriner's fountain. Before television, and before the automobile removed people's lives from downtown areas, Saturday nights were glamorous and special, something people looked forward to the whole week, according to the documentary, "Whatever Happened to Saturday Night?" The program will premier at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 9, and will be repeated at 9:30 p.m. Feb. 11 on WILL Channel 12. Produced by the UI department of journalism's student documentary unit, the program examines the changing nature of American Saturday nights. The film won a regional Emmy for 1994 College TV Production from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Two past documentaries by UI student journalists - on drinking on campus and date rape - also won regional Emmys. Unlike the past issue-oriented films, this documentary puts a mirror to a social institution, said Jerry M. Landay, professor of broadcast journalism who teaches the documentary course. Landay said he's been teaching students how to use TV as a slate to tell important, meaningful and relevant stories. Most teaching stories are told now by corporations, he said. "They used to be told by parents, churches, schools and community elders," he said. "My hope is that the storytellers we've taught in documentary form will help bring storytelling back to where it belongs - on public television and produced by people who have something to tell, not something to sell."