American Masters

The Day Carl Sandburg Died

About the Film

Carl Sandburg was, as he said it, ‘The Eternal Hobo.’

For much of the 20th century, Sandburg was synonymous with the American experience, a spokesman on behalf of ‘the people.’ One of the most successful writers in the English language, Sandburg was a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner for his poetry (Cornhuskers, 1918, and Complete Poems, 1950) as well as part of his six-volume Lincoln biography (Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, 1939). He was also a groundbreaking journalist, folk song collector, children’s storyteller, political organizer and activist, novelist, biographer, and captivating performer. Yet, after his death, Sandburg’s literary legacy faded and his poems, once taught in schools across America, were dismissed under the weight of massive critical attack.

‘The Day Carl Sandburg Died’ features original interviews with Sandburg’s daughter Helga Sandburg Crile, his grandson John Carl Steichen, as well as Pete Seeger, the late and great Studs Terkel and Norman Corwin, poets including Ted Kooser, Marc Kelly Smith and Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Grammy-winning musician Dan Zanes, Sandburg biographer Penelope Niven, Ph.D., and notable scholars share stories about Sandburg and reflect on the modern relevance of his vast body of work, including Chicago Poems (1916), The American Songbag (1927), and The People, Yes (1936).

‘The Day Carl Sandburg Died’ finds Sandburg’s life story and creative legacy as relevant and provocative today as it was in 1916 when Chicago Poems changed American writing.

The Education of Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal: The Quotable American

‘There is not one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.’ — Gore Vidal, 1925-2012 BY TOM McNAMARA In 1960, there were buttons made that read: GORE VIDAL FOR CONGRESS. That kind of red and blue, postwar colored typeface you’d see for politicians like Nixon and Kennedy–or […]

Marilyn Monroe: Still Life

Marilyn Monroe: Nude

Leif-Erik Nygards’ one photograph of Marilyn Monroe. When he met her, Nygards was an assistant to photographer Bert Stern. Following a shoot, Nygards asked if he could take just one picture for himself: he got more than he asked for. Marilyn Monroe: Still Life airs Sunday, August 5, 2012 on PBS (check local listings).

Troubadours: Carole King / James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter

About the Film

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Carole King’s landmark album Tapestry and signature song “You’ve Got a Friend,” a Grammy®-winner for both King and James Taylor, whose friendship and performance legacy was cemented at Doug Weston’s famed West Hollywood club the Troubadour. American Masters continues its 25th anniversary season with Troubadours: Carole King / […]

The Education of Gore Vidal

About Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal (1925-2012) never lacked for labels: Witty, irreverent, and shrewd, a propagandist, a truth-teller, and an agent provocateur. Dramatist, novelist, screenwriter, actor, and public debater. A troublemaker at large, poking his pen at anyone who got in his way. That’s how Vidal seared himself into the American consciousness.