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American Experience Season 27 Episodes

9 Episodes 2015 - 2015

Episode 1

Ripley: Believe It or Not

Tue, Jan 6, 2015 57 mins

A profile of Leroy Robert Ripley (1890-1949), aka Robert L. Ripley, the man behind the famed "Believe It or Not!" franchise, which began as a comic strip before expanding into radio, film and TV.

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American Experience, Season 27 Episode 1 image

Episode 2

Klansville USA

Tue, Jan 13, 2015 57 mins

The rise of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina during the 1960s is recalled. In 1963, Bob Jones Sr. started the state's chapter for the racist organization, and grew its membership to more than 10,000 within three years. Included: remarks from sociologist David Cunningham, whose book "Klansville, USA" the documentary is partially based on; historians David Cecelski and Gary Freeze; the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok; and journalist Patsy Sims, author of "The Klan."

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Episode 3

Edison

Tue, Jan 27, 2015 117 mins

A profile of inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931), whose achievements include a long-lasting incandescent light bulb. Included: remarks from Neil Baldwin ("Edison: Inventing the Century"); Leonard DeGraaf ("Edison and the Rise of Innovation"); Ernest Freeberg ("The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America"); Lisa Gitelman ("Thomas Edison and Modern America: A Brief History With Documents"); Paul Israel ("Edison: A Life of Invention"); and inventor Nathan Myhrvold.

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Episode 4

The Big Burn

Tue, Feb 3, 2015 57 mins

The story of a 1910 wildfire that devoured more than three million acres across the Northern Rockies, including the conditions that led to it and its impact on the fledgling U.S. Forest Service as well as the nation's fire policy. Included: remarks from journalist Timothy Egan, whose "Big Burn" book inspired the documentary; environmental historians Char Miller and Al Runte; author Steve Pynes ("Year of the Fires"); and Charles E. Williams (Buffalo Soldiers National Museum).

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Episode 5

The Forgotten Plague

Tue, Feb 10, 2015 57 mins

The battle against tuberculosis, the deadliest killer in history, is chronicled. Long thought to be hereditary, by the start of the 19th century the illness had killed one in seven of all the people who had lived up until that point. Fresh air and a pristine environment was believed to be the cure, which led to the development of such cities as Colorado Springs. After the 1882 discovery that it was contagious, however, a new approach took root: the segregation of the sick via sanatoriums.

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Episode 6

Last Days in Vietnam

Tue, Apr 28, 2015 117 mins

A look at the chaotic final days of America's involvement in Vietnam, when U.S. diplomats and military operatives worked to evacuate as many South Vietnamese allies and friends as possible, and often through unsanctioned and makeshift means, while the North Vietnamese army closed in on Saigon.

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Episode 7

Episode 7

Tue, Jul 14, 2015 60 mins

The 1977 NYC blackout, which began the night of July 13th and concluded the next day, is recalled. Seven million people lost power; more than 1600 businesses were looted; more than 3700 people were arrested; and firefighters battled more than 1000 fires. It wasn't a complete nightmare, however: Impromptu block parties broke out; Upper East Side residents enjoyed candlelit dinners on their roofs; and patrons of the Windows on the World restaurant in the World Trade Center received free champagne.

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Episode 8

Episode 8

Mon, Sep 14, 2015 120 mins

Part 1 of 2. The life and legacy of Walt Disney (1901-66), featuring archival footage from the Disney vaults; scenes from his greatest films; remarks from biographers and historians; and insights from animators, artists and designers who worked with him.

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American Experience, Season 27 Episode 8 image

Episode 9

Episode 9

Tue, Sep 15, 2015 120 mins

Conclusion. The life and legacy of Walt Disney (1901-66), featuring archival footage from the Disney vaults; scenes from his greatest films; remarks from biographers and historians; and insights from animators, artists and designers who worked with him.

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