The phrase "single-issue campaigns, the decline of civil discourse and smear campaigns against presidential candidates" sounds like something you might hear on cable news these days, but that's how Ken Burns set the scene for his newest documentary 'Prohibition.'
Burns stopped by 'Good Day New York' (weekdays, 9AM ET on Fox) to preview the three-part documentary, which chronicles the rise and fall of the 18th Amendment.
The documentary filmmaker described American pre-prohibition drinking habits as an around-the-clock boozefest. "People had booze at breakfast ... the President of the United States John Adams would take a ladle-ful of hard cider," he said. In response, the Temperance Movement was born, which relied on the "insane idea that if you got rid of drink ... everything would be alright."
Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the clever guys over there presented one of the funniest bits yet on the Jay Leno versus Conan O'Brien saga at NBC. Imagine, if you will, how Kevin Burns might document the conflagration...
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network has announced that it will be signing up with Nielsen Ratings, providing a weekly -- but not daily -- outlook on its programs. This will be a first for the network, which launched back in 1970.
When you think about it, it's truly amazing how these natural wonders have become part of our lives, even if we've never been to them. Burns covers 150 years of the parks, starting with the concept in the mid-1800s and featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Andy Garcia, Sam Waterston and others.
The cool thing about the DVD / Blu-ray sets is that you get three hours of bonus material, including a making-of featurette, Musical Journeys Through the National Parks, Contemporary Stories and Outtakes.
As one of our commenters below pointed out, this was announced awhile ago. But it was good to hear Burns talk a little about what they're going to explore in the new episode. So much has gone on in the last seventeen years, from exploding economics, new stadia, steroids, HGH, labor strife, and steroids (yes, I said steroids twice), that a tenth inning was inevitable. Unlike some of Burns' other series, which only go up to a point in history because anything after that would seem redundant -- the national parks doc, for instance, will only cover until 1980 -- Baseball was aching for an update.
Oh, and by the way, Burns' euphemism for the steroids issue was "exploring human frailties." Can't really reconcile Roger Clemens shooting 'roids into his butt with being frail, but whatever.
General Motors has made a lot of dumb decisions in their day, and three-quarters of them are still being sold to gullible car-buyers across the globe.
However, one of their biggest, boneheaded moves doesn't involve a car at all. The soon-to-be-former car manufacturing giant has announced that it's ending its 22-year run as primary sponsor for PBS filmmaker Ken Burns, and it just might end Burns' career in television as we know it.
Like who? Start with Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir. In the Ken Burns style, you can be sure to learn things about the parks that you never knew, stuff that were not in the tour books from the AAA.
You'll recall my recent post where I said Ken Burns documentary about World War II angered some in the Latino community for its lack of coverage of Latinos who fought in the war. Well, Burns apparently took the protest to heart and has decided to not only go back and retool his 14-hour documentary to include the overlooked footage, but has also hired a Latino producer to help him create the new content. The War is scheduled to hit PBS in September. The series will focus on four communities in the United States and how they were impacted by the war.
As I said in my previous post, it has to be almost impossible to make a documentary about something as substantial as World War II and not inadvertently leave some stuff out. I do think it's admirable that Burns has decided to go back and amend his documentary, but at the same time I wonder what else he may have overlooked, and whether or not more people will come forward to accuse his documentary of being incomplete. People have the right to protest, of course, but I imagine pleasing everyone is almost impossible.
War, what is it good for?
It's good for Ken Burns, we know that much. The documentary filmmaker behind the hugely popular Civil War documentary series is preparing to delve into war yet again with a new PBS documentary about World War II. Burns originaly didn't want to do another war documentary, but decided the story needed to be told while there were still people alive who fought in the war.
The War will air starting on September 17 and will be the first new series created by Burns after he inked a deal to have his work shown exclusively on PBS until 2022. The 14-hour documentary does include some swearing from soldiers who describe their time serving during the war, which means two versions of the series might be offered to stations who want to avoid any FCC problems. I would hope stations opt to show the uncensored version, since a few curse words seems perfectly appropriate when describing one's personal war experiences.
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