An elephant herd in Namibia is observed, as the matriarch, called Knob Nose, leads eighteen other elephants through the unforgiving terrain. Also: Ginger Mauney and her veterinarian husband present their findings on the animals.
Machines that have altered modern life are examined. Included: robots to aid the handicapped; cameras that have photographed Jupiter from the Voyager spacecraft; and a computer that scans the brain to detect evidence of disease.
Gold---how it's sought, smuggled, traded and hoarded. Included: black miners in South Africa; fortune hunters searching for ancient tribal tombs in Colombia; Italian goldsmiths making jewelry; and the London gold exchange.
"Bushmen of the Kalahari," a civilization's move from the Stone Age to the present. This 1974 film documents the Bushmen's struggle to assimilate modern ways to their primitive culture, facing such obstacles as fences erected across their hunting grounds. Included: explorer John Marshall's reunion with the tribe, with whom he lived during the 1958 filming of "The Hunters," which he co-produced.
Cameras travel to Tanzania to observe colobus monkeys living in the trees of Mount Meru. The monkeys, noted for their thick black and white fur, are seen caring for their young and interacting with other animals.
A study of the positive impact beavers have on the environment: their dam building forms ponds, creating better living conditions for flora and fauna. A beaver family is seen preparing for winter, repairing spring-flood damage to the dam, and raising their offspring.
A look at eight men crossing the Sahara in sailboats. The team of sailing experts navigates the world's largest desert in three-wheeled craft that streak across the dunes at speeds as high as 60 mph, exposing their drivers to the hazards of erratic winds, uneven terrain, scarce water and extreme temperatures.
A portrait of L.S.B. Leakey includes a review of the anthropologist's work, and reminiscences by his wife, son and colleagues. Clips show Leakey at a site in Africa, and on a speaking tour shortly before his death in 1972.
Life, 8,000-feet under the Pacific, is observed on an underwater exploration. Descending in a minisub, members of this 1979 expedition set out to explore the Galapagos Rift, which harbors creatures such as 8-foot worms and Portuguese men-of-war.
Pursuing today's cowboys, men whose trade spawned the legends of the Wild West. Cameras roam fly-speck towns from Utah to California and follow cowboys who break horses, brand cattle and endure long, dreary trail drives. Included: Yaqui Indians dancing a centuries-old ritual to welcome the Easter season.
This history of the railroad industry explores the uses of trains, from transporting troops during WWII to delivering lettuce from California to New York. Also: rides aboard the Orient Express and a railway in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador.
Creatures that inhabit the mangroves of Borneo, including proboscis monkeys, beer-bellied simians adept at swimming; fiddler crabs; mudskippers, which use their fins to traverse mud; and short-clawed otters.
A look at a Hong Kong family focuses on the Leongs, whose lifestyles are a blend of the diverse influences in the British colony. From their “floating store,” the Leongs sell a variety of merchandise to ship crews in the harbor. The documentary interweaves their story with scenes of shrines, factories and schools, and uses newsreels to trace the colony's history.
“The Voyage of the Brigantine Yankee” retraces the last world voyage (1957-58) of the vessel, captained by Irving Johnson and his wife. The focus is on Yankee's South Pacific ports-of-call, including Pitcairn Island.
America's national parks, scanning the country's wilderness heritage. Included: Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park; elk herding in Yellowstone; the beauties of the Grand Canyon and the Everglades; a coral jungle off the Virgin Islands; and the grandeur of the giant sequoias.
A behind-the-scenes look at the Soviet Circus includes a stunning aerial performance in Lvov; the Soviet Union's most famous clown; and the Moscow Circus School, which annually accepts only 70 out of 1000 applicants.
A study of the Chesapeake Bay, a “recreational paradise [and] vital commercial highway” on the Atlantic coast. Included: a stop at the annual Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield (Md.), the “crab capital of the world.” Also: the effects of pollution and overdevelopment upon the area.
A study of reptiles and amphibians looks at animated dinosaur exhibits; the frog's life cycle; snakes as mystical symbols; a rattlesnake eating its kill; courtship between Alpine newts; combat among alligators and iguanas. Also: a report on the Loch Ness monster.
A document of the year spent in French Polynesia by a New Jersey family. Aspects of their new-found lives include a community fishing drive; an evening feast on roast pig; an undersea expedition to the reef; a visit to a pagan temple; and Bastille Day in the capital city of Papeete.
A look at big cats reports on four endangered species. Included: Siberian tigers, seen in a Swedish zoo; American mountain lions, seen in the Idaho wilderness; Amazonian jaguars, which trappers are driving deeper into the jungle; and Asiatic lions, observed in a forest in southwest India.
Zoos of the world are visted. Included: an insectarium in Tokyo; black-and-white tigers in Delhi; giant pandas and a drive-through preserve in London; an albino gorilla in Barcelona. Other locations include New York, Tanzania, Antwerp, Frankfurt and San Diego.