Press Release

                                 

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro
(Credit: Library of Congress)

PBS Offers Special Programs on the 50th Anniversary of the
Cuban Missile Crisis on October 23, 2012


CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS — THREE MEN GO TO WAR and SECRETS OF THE DEAD “The Man Who Saved the World” Tell the Dramatic, Inside Story of the Crisis

UPDATED - ARLINGTON, VA – OCTOBER 9, 2012 — Fifty years after the events that brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster, PBS will offer two new special programs about the Cuban Missile Crisis on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS — THREE MEN GO TO WAR (8:00 p.m. ET) reveals how three human beings grappled with the most dangerous two weeks in human history, when countless events outside their control threatened to ignite a nuclear holocaust that could have ended human civilization — while SECRETS OF THE DEAD “The Man Who Saved the World” (9:00 p.m. ET) reveals just how close to nuclear destruction the world really was during those dark October days and how a Russian submariner’s refusal to fire a nuclear missile saved us all.

“Some viewers will remember the days when schoolchildren practiced duck and cover drills because the threat of nuclear attack was imminent,” said John Wilson, Senior Vice President and Chief TV Programming Executive. “Others have no idea that the world came so close to World War III and mutually assured destruction. As new details about this crisis have been declassified, the 50th anniversary is a great opportunity to explore why these events happened and how war was ultimately averted.”

On October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy informed the world that the Soviet Union was building secret missile bases on the island of Cuba, 90 miles off the shores of Florida. The events of the next tension-filled 13 days, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, struck fear across the globe as the world teetered on the edge of nuclear disaster. The fate of the planet ultimately lay in the hands of three powerful men: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and U.S. President John F. Kennedy. 

CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS — THREE MEN GO TO WAR, premiering Tuesday, October 23, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), explores the roles the three iconic leaders played during some of the most dangerous moments in history, set against the human stories of ordinary men in the field, such as the first-ever interview with the Soviet soldier who shot down the U2 piloted by U.S. Air Force Major Rudolf Anderson on the worst day of the crisis. 

The film features revealing interviews with key witnesses and experts including Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet premier; Ted Sorensen, former member of the renowned Executive Committee of the U.S. National Security Council; former KGB and CIA operatives, and Captain Jerry Coffee, the reconnaissance pilot who made a split second decision to veer off course in Cuba and photograph a new type of nuclear weapon which could have annihilated invading American forces, the import of which was not realized for over 30 years. An edge-of-your-seat tale of espionage and intrigue at the highest level, CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS — THREE MEN GO TO WAR offers a fascinating perspective on one of the most harrowing times in modern history. A production of Crossing the Line Productions, the film is produced by John Murray and Siobhan Ward, and co-directed by Murray and Emer Reynolds.

SECRETS OF THE DEAD “The Man Who Saved the World,” which premieres Tuesday, October 23, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), is an intimate and intense film exploring the dramatic and little-known events that unfolded inside a Soviet B-59 submarine in the waters off the coast of Florida. While politicians desperately sought a solution to the standoff between Russia, the U.S. and Cuba, no one was aware of what was happening beneath the waves. The story of Vasili Arkhipov, the man who refused to fire the nuclear missile, was hidden for decades, only emerging in Russia in recent years. With most of the action set in a claustrophobic submarine running out of air, “The Man Who Saved the World” combines tense drama with eyewitness accounts and expert testimony about some of the most critical events in the Cold War. A Bedlam Production for THIRTEEN in association with WNET and Channel 1 Russia; executive producer for WNET is Steve Burns; coordinating producer for WNET is Stephanie Carter; and executive producer for Bedlam Productions is Simon Breen.

Funded by public television viewers and PBS.

About Bedlam Productions
Based in London, BAFTA and Academy Award-winning Bedlam Productions’ key areas of activity are feature film and documentary production. Both founder members have worked extensively for major national and international broadcast networks and film production companies, gaining critical and commercial acclaim.

About Crossing the Line Productions
Crossing the Line is a multi-award winning production company that has made films for many of the world’s leading broadcasters. Their film Broken Tail, co-produced with PBS’ NATURE series, recently won the top awards at the world’s leading wildlife film festivals in the U.S. and received two Emmy Nominations. The company specializes in wildlife, history and exploration.

About PBS

PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 123 million people through television and more than 21 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

 – PBS –

CONTACTS: 

CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS - THREE MEN GO TO WAR
Cara White, CaraMar, Inc., cara.white@mac.com; 843-881-1480

SECRETS OF THE DEAD "The Man Who Saved the World"
Donna Williams, williamsd@wnet.org; 212-560-8030 


For images and additional up-to-date information on this and other PBS programs, visit PBS PressRoom at pbs.org/pressroom.

                                 
  1. Support for pbs.org provided by: