Rob Rapley — Producer

Episodes 45

October 4, 1988

From Enrico Caruso to the ordinary San Franciscan, this film presents vivid memories of those trapped in the terrifying event of 1906. Four hundred eighty square blocks were reduced to rubble; thousands were killed, tens of thousands left homeless. Then the heroic struggle to rebuild a city from the ashes began.

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Radio Bikini

1x2
October 11, 1988

While the U.N. debated strategies for control of atomic energy, the U.S. Navy was preparing two highly-publicized nuclear tests. Seven hundred fifty cameras were shipped to Bikini to be used for a major propaganda film. Bikinians had no say about turning their idyllic island into an atomic test site. Forty years later, their home would still be too contaminated to support human life.

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October 18, 1988

As a child in 1899, Angie Debo was taken to Oklahoma in a covered wagon. She would become her state's most controversial historian -- her career threatened when she uncovered a cache of documents which proved a widespread conspiracy to cheat Native Americans out of oil-rich lands.

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October 25, 1988

A touching memoir beginning with life in a small Minnesota town and taking us through a young man's early days as pacifist. Reporting on the rise of fascism in Europe, Sevareid, as a young CBS reporter, would change his belief. Based on Sevareid's best-selling book of the same title.

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November 1, 1988

An original look through newsreels, war department films, posters and interviews with five, real-life "Rosies" about the reality of working in the defense plants during WWII, and their reactions to having to give up those jobs for returning GIs.

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A year in the life of Wyoming cowboys and the ranching families who have lived in Big Piney for six generations. Although very much the same as it was one hundred years ago -- tough, lonely, but still romantic -- ranching is now a threatened way of life.

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November 15, 1988

An intimate portrait of the Kennedy brothers and their confrontation with Alabama Governor George Wallace when he defied the courts by refusing to integrate the University in 1963. The film offers unprecedented access to the Oval Office as well as to strategy meetings held by Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

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November 22, 1988

The story of a tragic collision of two civilizations, each with startlingly different views of one another. In 1886, 5,000 U.S. troops mobilized to capture this one man and his band of followers, who by refusing to move onto a reservation, defied and eluded federal authorities.

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November 29, 1988

An updated look at the Alabama tenant families that Walker Evans and James Agee documented in their 1936 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, an American classic.

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December 6, 1988

The evolution of rhythm and blues through the careers of singers Ruth Brown and Charles Brown, from the 1940s into the 50s, with contemporary performances by both.

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The Radio Priest

1x11
December 13, 1988

Father Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest from Michigan, uses the new power of radio to become one of the first media stars; every Sunday he would broadcast his message railing against the nation's economic and social system to millions of listeners caught in the grip of the Depression.

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Hearts and Hands

1x12
December 20, 1988

The design and art of quilting yields intimate clues about the lives of 19th century women, who stitched their personal and political stories into these artifacts of history.

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December 27, 1988

The journey of Prince Maximilian, German naturalist, and artist Karl Bodmer, who explored the Mississippi River area from 1832-34, meticulously documenting in paintings and journals the landscape, plants and life of Native Americans.

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January 3, 1989

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Eudora Welty narrates the story of her own Southern childhood and early artistic development in Jackson, Mississippi. Based on her best-selling book of the same title.

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January 10, 1989

From the late 1920s through the 1960s, Robert Moses held almost total power over the landscape of New York. He built bridges, highways, Jones Beach, Lincoln Center and the United Nations, some of the most ambitious public works ever conceived, and some of the most controversial.

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January 17, 1989

A Gothic tale of sin and redemption in 19th century New England. A small town in Maine reacts to the unconventional behavior of one of its young residents, a woman named Emeline Gurney. A fascinating examination of small town mores.

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October 3, 1989

The first around-the-world air race, sponsored by the Army Air Service to prove that the airplane had a commercial future, was the ultimate test of man and machine. Four pilots took off in single-engine, open-cockpit planes; 175 days later, two remaining pilots would land where they'd begun, in Seattle.

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Demon Rum

2x2
October 10, 1989

Prohibition's effect on Detroit, Michigan, the first major American city to "go dry," where smuggling liquor across the Canadian border became the second largest indusry in town. A humorous, wild tale related by residents who lived through this national experiment which lasted from 1920 to 1933.

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October 17, 1989

Lise Yasui explores three generations of her Japanese-American family - from their immigration to Oregon in the early 1900s through their imprisonment in internment camps during World War Two.

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October 24, 1989

Born into slavery, she became a journalist and newspaper owner in Memphis, and was radicalized following the lynching of three friends. Her crusade against lynching led to death threats, but she bravely continued for the rest of her life to call for an end to sexism and racism.

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October 31, 1989

All lingering 19th-century notions of the romance of battle were replaced by the terrible reality of 20th-century mechanized warfare. At Verdun, the French lost 300,000 men; at the Somme, the English lost one million. Against this setting, America reluctantly sent its boys to fight. The wrenching and heroic accounts of U.S. soldiers and nurses who served in the closing battles of the bloodiest war of the century.

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November 7, 1989

There is hardly a city, town or village without a baseball diamond. More than a game, baseball is a tradition, rite of passage, an enduring passion, a code for understanding the culture. A wry, philosophical essay on what makes baseball the great American pastime.

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November 14, 1989

Affluent, handsome, light-skinned and blond, he could pass for white. But his message about "economics and jobs" would make him one of the most charismatic black leaders in the 20th century. A U.S. Representative for 25 years, he pushed through social legislation, but his relish for money and fast living eventually led him to political ruin.

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November 21, 1989

They started selling watches. Then Richard Sears and Alva Curtis Roebuck started a revolution -- a "wish book" that made life on the farm a little easier and put consumer goods within reach of every American. A story of entrepreneurial triumph as well as an affectionate portrait of America from the 1890s through the 1920s.

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December 5, 1989

The first major battle for wilderness preservation erupted over the building of Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite National Park in 1906. On the one side were the purists who argued that wildlands were to be left as God made them; on the other, those who believed in the wise management of natural resources. President Roosevelt, an ardent conservationist, was caught between the two.

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December 12, 1989

Bascom Lamar Lunsford was a pioneer folklorist who in the 1920s began a campaign to preserve mountain music and dance. He dignified what was known as "hillbilly music." Knocking on doors of local banjo pickers and fiddlers, listening to their songs, he amassed an extraordinary repertoire, recorded for the Library of Congress and started the first folk music festival.

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December 19, 1989

Before WWII, San Francisco's Chinatown was a separate world, closed to outsiders, ruled by rigid homeland customs. But in the 1930s, second generation Chinese Americans defied cultural tradition to pursue their passion for American music and dance. They started careers as "Chinese Fred Astaires" and "Chinese Frank Sinatras" in one of the city's famous Chinatown night clubs, Forbidden City.

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January 8, 1990

The tale of mavericks whose risk-taking, sweat and dreams changed an American industry. Starting with Spindletop, the first Texas gusher in 1902, rare archival film and interviews with pioneering oilmen are set against a contemporary story of a modern "wildcatter," gambling to find his fortune in yet another narrow hole in the Texas earth.

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Men and women, black and white, risked their lives to carve an elaborate network of escape routes out of slavery in the mid 1800s -- trails and backroads, safehouses, river crossings and night trains leading as far north as Canada. Disguises, secret rendezvous and special codes were used to guard the identity of "conductors" and their fugitive "passengers." But flight to free territory didn't guarantee freedom; fugitives could be hunted down and returned.

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January 29, 1990

A stunning film portrait of Yosemite National Park. The film's narration is taken from using the 1851 diary of the first expedition of soldiers into the sacred valley home of the Ahwahnechee tribe and introduces today's hikers and campers, to whom Yosemite is a true shrine.

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February 12, 1990

Frank Popiolek was 14 when he came to America in 1911, one of 2 million Polish immigrants who made the journey. He settled in Chicago and became a barber, instilling in his family a love of the "old world" traditions and pride in their Polish heritage. A nostalgic and humorous look at how old world Chicago lives side by side with the new.

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Lindbergh

3x1
August 27, 1990

At 25, Charles A. Lindbergh arrived in Paris, the first man to fly across the Atlantic -- handsome, talented, and brave -- a hero. But the struggle to wear the mantle of legend would be a consuming one. Crowds pursued him, reporters invaded his private life. His marriage, travels with his wife and the kidnapping and murder of their first child were all fodder for the front page.

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September 10, 1990

A tribute to the twelve million people who emigrated to the U.S. between 1890 and 1920. A recapturing of the journey through Europe to seaport towns, to the arrival in New York Harbor, and into the early months of settlement from urban ghettos out into the prairies. Letters, diaries and oral interviews are used to depict one of the largest single human migrations in history.

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September 17, 1990

On July 2, 1881, Charles Julius Guiteau shot and fatally wounded President James A. Garfield in the lobby of the Baltimore & Potomac train station in Washington, D.C. As sensational as the assassination itself was, Guiteau's trial lasted over three months and became a very public battle over the meaning of insanity. Was it hereditary? Did it show on a man's face?

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October 8, 1990

He possessed a fateful combination of strengths and weaknesses that propelled him to the White House and then brought him down. One of the most enigmatic modern political figures, Richard Nixon inspired divided passions in America. From his days as a young anti-Communist crusader to the president who astounded the nation with his foreign policy initiatives in China and the Soviet Union, and finally, his resignation in the face of impeachment, Nixon was a tragically insecure man with a bold vision. At the center of American politics for more than 25 years, he continues to arouse both anger and admiration.

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October 15, 1990

He possessed a fateful combination of strengths and weaknesses that propelled him to the White House and then brought him down. One of the most enigmatic modern political figures, Richard Nixon inspired divided passions in America. From his days as a young anti-Communist crusader to the president who astounded the nation with his foreign policy initiatives in China and the Soviet Union, and finally, his resignation in the face of impeachment, Nixon was a tragically insecure man with a bold vision. At the center of American politics for more than 25 years, he continues to arouse both anger and admiration.

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October 22, 1990

He possessed a fateful combination of strengths and weaknesses that propelled him to the White House and then brought him down. One of the most enigmatic modern political figures, Richard Nixon inspired divided passions in America. From his days as a young anti-Communist crusader to the president who astounded the nation with his foreign policy initiatives in China and the Soviet Union, and finally, his resignation in the face of impeachment, Nixon was a tragically insecure man with a bold vision. At the center of American politics for more than 25 years, he continues to arouse both anger and admiration.

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November 5, 1990

Few events shocked America more than the news in 1957 that Russia had launched the first satellite. It was an assault on our national pride, even a threat to national security. Using news reels, commercials, television shows, government films, and science fiction movies, the film presents a uniquely impressionistic history of the early years of the Space Race.

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November 12, 1990

In the summer of 1940, as the German Luftwaffe began its assault on England, 10,000 British children were sent on a perilous sea voyage to safe havens in the United States. There, they forged life-long relationships with their "adopted" families, relationships that changes lives and attitudes on both sides of the Atlantic.

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November 19, 1990

In 1929, while the stock market was rising, there were few critics. It was a "New Era" when everyone could get rich. But it was a small group of bankers, brokers and speculators who by manipulating the stock market grew fabulously wealthy. The film captures the unbounded optimism of the age and the shocking consequences when reality finally hit on October 29th.

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The Iron Road

3x10
November 26, 1990

A tale of high adventure, enormous human effort and engineering brilliance. On May 2, 1869, when the last railroad spike was driven, bells in the churches of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Omaha and St. Louis rang in celebration. Six years in the making, the transcontinental railroad captured the imagination of the nation, symbolizing unification of the country after five years of Civil War.

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December 10, 1990

Of all the alphabet agencies of the New Deal, none captured the public's imagination like J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. During the years 1930-39, the crime problem was frightening and real, however exaggerated by the FBI. Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Pretty Boy Floyd and Bonnie and Clyde were public enemies; G-men the public heroes.

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Los Mineros

3x12
January 21, 1991

The story of Mexican American miners -- "los mineros" -- whose pitched labor battles, beginning with the first strike in 1903, shaped the course of Arizona history. It was only in 1946 that the two-tier wage system for whites and Mexicans was abolished. The film recounts the rise and fall of three small towns -- Superior, Clifton-Morenci and Sonora -- where the mining of copper ore dominated the lives of all the inhabitants.

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Coney Island

3x13
February 4, 1991

Before there was Disneyland, there was Coney Island. By the turn of the century, this tiny spit of New York real estate was internationally famous as the world's most remarkable carnival of delights, offering everything from the bawdy to the surreal. The hot dog was invented here; so was the roller coaster.

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February 18, 1991

Eugene Dennis fled to Moscow to avoid indictment and prison for his work for the American Communist Party in the late 1920s; his wife Peggy and 18-month-old son soon followed. In 1935, they were reassigned to America but ordered to leave behind their five-year-old who spoke only Russian. A second son, born in America, offers an honest and touching examination of the lives of his parents, whose political beliefs tore the family apart.

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