Nikita Khrushchev Nikita Khrushchev

He scared the bejeesus out of Americans with his nuclear-war cry, "We will bury you!" But when Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev visited the United States in 1959 he was much more of a pussycat than an evil Commie dictator.

During his cross-country tour, Khrushchev charmingly posed for photos, patted babies on the head and ate his first hot dog, even though we all feared he might someday incinerate us with his arsenal of H-bombs. The fearless leader was even feted at a swank Hollywood luncheon with superstars Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in attendance.

PBS's American Experience will track Khrushchev's bizarre trek in Cold War Roadshow (Tuesday, Nov. 18, 9/8c), a one-hour documentary that offers fascinating insight into the human side of our chilling face-off with the U.S.S.R. Notes journalist Peter Carlson, who is among those interviewed in the program: "The whole era of the 1950s was like a strange combination of I Love Lucy and thermonuclear war."

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