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Here are some previous Think Tank programs that may be of interest.

The Western: America’s Story, Part Two  (aired 8/10/2006)
Scholars are divided over American’s fascination with the Old West. Some say the Western film is more flawed and less heroic than movie audiences assume. Others say the films reflect the real hardship and courage of Nineteenth Century America. What do Westerns say about American life? And what do they say about our changing view of history and heroes?

The Western: America’s Story, Part One  (aired 8/3/2006)
The Great Train Robbery, considered by many historians to be the first Western film, premiered a century ago in 1903. In the years that followed, generations of filmmakers turned again and again to the stories from the frontier--the conquest of Indian land, the California Gold Rush, the expansion of the transcontinental railroad and all of the other tales of rugged individualists settling a wild land. Did Hollywood’s silver dreams reflect fact or legend? What do Westerns tell us about America?

Miss Manners: Why Manners Matter  (aired 3/2/2006)
It’s said that Americans have lost their manners, that they are coarse and vulgar, and that such behavior ultimately corrodes our society. This happens whether such behavior occurs in politics, in business or in our personal lives. Today’s guest argues that manners still matter. Has America lost its manners?

Irving Berlin’s America, Part II  (aired 12/29/2005)
From Ragtime to Swing and from Broadway to Hollywood, Irving Berlin’s music defined American songwriting for more than half a century. Songs like "God Bless America," "There’s No Business Like Show Business," Cheek to Cheek" and "White Christmas." Fully half of his eight hundred and ninety-nine published tunes went on to become hits. Two hundred and eighty-two reached the top ten on the popular charts; thirty-five went to number one. Berlin’s music reflects an almost instinctive understanding of the culture and the early events of what has been called "the American century." His songs capture the heart of small town America and the brass of Broadway. Who was Irving Berlin? What is there about his music that still stirs and unites Americans?

Irving Berlin’s America, Part I  (aired 12/22/2005)
Irving Berlin pulled himself up from poverty on New York’s Lower East Side to become America’s most famous and enduring songwriter. Born Israel Baline in Belarus, then part of the Russian empire, on May 11, 1888, he immigrated with his family to America at age five and later taught himself rudimentary piano while working as a singing waiter in a bar and brothel in New York’s Chinatown. By age twenty-three, he was the wunderkind of Tin Pan Alley with more than two hundred hit songs and hundreds more to come--songs like White Christmas, Easter Parade, and God Bless America. Who was Irving Berlin, and what does his music say about America?


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