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S6 Ep6
Yehudi Menuhin: A Family Portrait
Yehudi Menuhin had one of the longest and most distinguished careers of any violinist of the twentieth century. The child of recent immigrants, Menuhin was born in New York in 1916. By the age of seven his performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto had found him instant fame. As a teenager he toured throughout the world and was considered one of the greats long before his twentieth birthday.
Premiered: 8/12/1991
S16 Ep5
Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records
American Masters Executive Producer Kantor recalls, “The documentary film community is reeling from the loss of Bruce Sinofsky. I can’t think of a filmmaker who doesn’t admire his work. Brothers’ Keeper was not a film for American Masters — it was, however, a film for the ages. If you haven’t seen it, get ahold of it now — it’s definitely in the top 10 of great American documentary films.”
Premiered: 11/28/2001
S2 Ep7
The Negro Ensemble Company
Negro Ensemble Company
Prior to the 1960s, there were virtually no outlets for the wealth of black theatrical talent in America. Playwrights writing realistically about the black experience could not get their work produced, and even the most successful performers, such as Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen, were confined to playing roles as servants.
Premiered: 9/14/1987
S17 Ep1
Willie Nelson: Still is Still Moving
Willie Nelson
He’s been instrumental in shaping both country and pop music, yet his appeal crosses all social and economic lines. Sometimes he’s called an outlaw, though from Farm Aid to the aftermath of September 11, from the resurrection of a burned-out courthouse in his own hometown to fanning the flame of the Olympics, it is Willie Nelson who brings us together.
Premiered: 10/2/2002
S14 Ep2
Norman Rockwell: Painting America
Norman Rockwell thought of himself first and foremost a commercial illustrator. Hesitant to consider it art, he harbored deep insecurities about his work. What is unmistakable, however, is that Rockwell tapped into the nostalgia of a people for a time that was kinder and simpler.
Premiered: 11/24/1999
S16 Ep3
Richard Rodgers: The Sweetest Sounds
Richard Rodgers’ contributions to the musical theatre were extraordinary, and his influence on the musical theatre of today and tomorrow is legendary. His career spanned more than six decades, and his hits ranged from the silver screens of Hollywood to the bright lights of Broadway, London and beyond. He was the recipient of countless awards, including Pulitzers, Tonys, Oscars, and Grammys.
Premiered: 11/4/2001
S9 Ep1
Will Rogers: Rediscovering Will Rogers
Will Rogers
H.L. Mencken called him “the most dangerous writer alive.” Damon Runyan dubbed him “America’s most complete document.” And Franklin D. Roosevelt credited him with bringing his fellow Americans “back to a sense of proportion.” He was a ranch hand, rodeo rider, vaudeville performer, film star, columnist and author, radio personality, pioneer of aviation, and tireless master of ceremonies.
Premiered: 11/30/1994
S4 Ep8
Mort Sahl: Shaping Laughter
In his trademark V-neck sweater, with the day’s newspaper tucked under his arm, Mort Sahl has satirized — and entertained — presidents from Eisenhower to Clinton. He revolutionized the world of stand-up comedy with a fresh combination of political awareness, fearless criticism of the government, and a willingness to draw on personal experience.
Premiered: 9/18/1989
S6 Ep10
Waldo Salt: A Screenwriter's Journey
Waldo Salt
Nineteen thirty-eight was a fateful year for Waldo Salt. It was the year the young screenwriter saw his first screenplay, “THE SHOPWARN ANGEL,” produced by Joe Mankiewicz, with a cast featuring James Stewart, Margaret Sullivan, and Walter Pidgeon. It was also the year he joined the American Communist Party, the start of an affiliation that would cause him to be plucked from the brink of fame.
Premiered: 5/1/1992
S16 Ep1
Samuel Goldwyn: Samuel Goldwyn
Sam Goldwyn
Sam Goldwyn’s name is synonymous with the American movie from its beginnings through its golden age. Goldwyn’s story is a pioneer story, a folk story, a movie fantasy that came true; it is a story about creativity, ambition, money, drive … about a time in America when there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Premiered: 10/7/2001
S5 Ep4
Martin Scorsese Directs
Martin Scorsese’s uniquely versatile vision has made him one of the cinema’s most acclaimed directors. He is the most important living American filmmaker—one whose relentless search for the furthest emotional reaches of his genre have led him to the center of the American psyche.
Premiered: 7/16/1990
S2 Ep6
Maurice Sendak: Mon Cher Papa
Best known for, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, Maurice Sendak has spent the past fifty years bringing to life a world of fantasy and imagination. His unique vision is loved around the globe by both young and old. Beyond his award-winning work as a writer and illustrator of children’s books, Sendak has produced both operas and ballets for television and the stage.
Premiered: 8/31/1987
S7 Ep1
Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time
In the 1960s, Paul Simon’s moving lyric “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was an anthem for a generation. With Art Garfunkel he made moving testaments to the times, fusing folk and rock music. In the 1980s he pioneered a popular cross-cultural music that brought South African musicians into mainstream America. Recently, Simon finished his most ambitious project yet — “The Capeman,” a Broadway musical.
Premiered: 3/8/1993
S4 Ep9
W. Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult
The war in the South Pacific, a country doctor in Colorado, victims of industrial pollution in a Japanese village — all of these were captured in unforgettable photographs by the legendary W. Eugene Smith. No matter where, what, or whom he was shooting, Smith drove himself relentlessly to create evocative portraits that revealed the essence of his subjects in a way that touched the emotions.
Premiered: 9/25/1989
S14 Ep7
The Source: The Story of the Beats and the Beat Generation
When Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs met in New York City in the 1940s, they had no intention of starting a social revolution. According to Ginsberg, “We were just trying to propose our own souls to ourselves.” In the midst of post-war conservatism, these young writers had become disenchanted and were experimenting with new forms of communication.
Premiered: 5/31/2000

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