Series Blog

Archive for New Films

Rebuilding Radio Clinic


Radio Clinic was one of the 1,616 stores looted during the 1977 Blackout in New York City. In the days after the blackout, the chances of Radio Clinic’s survival looked pretty grim. In the wake of a large-scale disaster the precipitous event might be over; the fires put out and the hurricane waters receded. But for the small business owners whose stores were destroyed, the fight to survive was just beginning. Jen Rubin, the daughter of Radio Clinic's owner, writes about her father's experience after the Blackout.

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Walt Disney Comes to American Experience in September


American Experience is very excited to announce a project that our Executive Producer Mark Samels has had in the forefront of his mind for years. A four-hour biography of Walt Disney will premiere on PBS this September (see the preview and the press release below), before which we will share a huge collection of stories, images and factoids on our social media pages and our web site. Watch the preview! 


Vietnam: 40 Years On


Forty years after the fall of Saigon, debate continues concerning the reality on the ground in Vietnam in 1975. Below are two varying accounts written by Jim Laurie and Stuart Herrington, both of whom were in Saigon in April 1975. At the time, Laurie was a reporter for NBC News, and Herrington was a captain in the U.S. Army. Both men were interviewed for and appear in the film Last Days in Vietnam, which played in theaters nationwide in 2014 before premiering on PBS April 28, 2015. Read both posts here


The Worldwide TB Epidemic


The move to suburban living and the development of active public health programs have reduced the burden of tuberculosis -- a serious, sometimes fatal infectious disease of the lungs -- in many affluent countries. Many of us, however are not so lucky and are still faced with the ugly specter of TB which was so eloquently portrayed in the recent American Experience documentary, The Forgotten Plague.

Why is the “Forgotten Plague” still such a threat outside of the US and Europe? Read more...


The Fire of 1910 - Why It Still Matters


Never in recorded United States history has there been anything to match the fire of 1910. For its size, its ferocity, its impact, nothing comes close. Over the course of a weekend, 3 million acres were burned -- an area equal to the size of Connecticut. Several towns were leveled, and about 100 people were killed, as well.

But beyond the astonishing numbers about timber blown down in hurricane force winds, and temperatures at the peak of the firestorm touching 2,000 degrees, the fire stands out for another reason. As a nation, the United States had never tried to organize a large force to fight a wildfire. It was done in 1910, and the lessons, and consequences, are with us still.

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Inventing a Light Bulb, Innovating an Electrical System: Thomas Edison and the Transformation of Invention


The name Thomas Edison has become synonymous with invention and his most famous invention, the electric light bulb, has become a familiar symbol for that flash of inspired genius traditionally associated with invention. In part the light bulb's symbolic value comes from its obvious role as a visual metaphor of the "bright idea." But this symbolism also arises from its association with Thomas Edison -- the electric light as the greatest invention of the world's greatest inventor. The "electric light," however, was no single invention emanating from an inspired genius. Instead it was a complex network of inventions produced by teams of researchers working under his direction in the world’s first true invention laboratory. As he invented the system of electric lighting, Edison simultaneously reinvented the system of invention.

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