American Experience Season 18
S18 E01Oct 18, 2005
Two Days in October Oct 18, 2005 "Two Days in October" recalls two 1967 events -- a Vietcong ambush and a violent antiwar demonstration at the University of Wisconsin -- that together marked a turning point in America's Vietnam tragedy. The ambush, on Oct. 17, killed 64 of the 142 U.S. troops attacked, and showed, maybe for the first time, that the war might not be winnable. And the protest, a day later against Dow Chemical Co., is believed to be the first antiwar demonstration to turn violent.
S18 E02Nov 1, 2005
Race to the Moon Nov 1, 2005 "Race to the Moon" chronicles Apollo 8, the first voyage to the moon. "It was an event beyond all other events," says Walter Cronkite of the December 1968 mission, which laid the groundwork for the first lunar landing seven months later. Cronkite and author Andrew Chaikin put the flight into context; astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders and their wives recall it firsthand. Says Lovell of seeing the lunar landscape, "We were like three kids looking into a candy-store window."
S18 E03Nov 15, 2005
Las Vegas: An Unconventional History (1): Sin City Nov 15, 2005 The story of the gambling mecca is told via news clips and reminiscences. Part 1 of 2
S18 E04Nov 16, 2005
Las Vegas: An Unconventional History (2): American Mecca Nov 16, 2005 News clips and reminiscences tell the story of the gambling mecca, from a dusty railroad town to a leading tourist attraction. Part 2 of 2
S18 E05Jan 24, 2006
John and Abigail Adams Jan 24, 2006 An engrossing portrait of the second U.S. president and first lady, costars Simon Russell Beale and Linda Emond. Included: the friendship (and enmity) between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (James Barbour), who both died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; the Adamses' “great love story”; their bouts with depression; his troubled presidency. Interspersed are comments from historians.
S18 E06Jan 31, 2006
The Nuremberg Trials Jan 31, 2006 A gripping study of the groundbreaking prosecution, which began Nov. 20, 1945, as Nazi Germany's leaders were held accountable for war crimes, infamously blamed on "following orders." Profiled are Hermann Goering, the lead defendant, and Robert Jackson, the U.S. prosecutor. Also: comments from Walter Cronkite, who covered the proceedings; events leading to the trial, which had 21 defendants and eight judges; footage of concentration camps.
S18 E07Feb 7, 2006
Jesse James Feb 7, 2006 A striking profile of the outlaw (1847-82) is told through reenactments, comments from historians and archival photographs. The hour traces James' life from age 16 to his death at 34 (he was shot in the back), and includes his years as a Southern guerrilla fighter, bandit and killer.
S18 E08Feb 26, 2006
Hijacked Feb 26, 2006 A look at the coordinated hijacking of four jetliners in 1970 by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which blew up the evacuated planes in Jordan. Included: the militants' use of civilians to further their goals.
S18 E09Mar 22, 2006
Eugene O'Neill Mar 22, 2006 An absorbing profile of the esteemed playwright (1888-1953). Included: excerpts from his plays are performed by Al Pacino, Zoe Caldwell, Christopher Plummer, Vanessa Redgrave, Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson. Also: comments from Tony Kushner, John Guare, Sidney Lumet and Jason Robards. Plays include “The Iceman Cometh” and “Long Day's Journey into Night.”
S18 E10Apr 11, 2006
The Boy in the Bubble Apr 11, 2006 The absorbing story of David Vetter (1971-84), who had severe combined immunodeficiency and lived inside a sterile plastic chamber for 12 years. Included: comments from his mother, Carol Ann Vetter Demaret; and from doctors, who discuss their feelings about the use of the plastic chamber. Also: examinations of the boy's birth and his death, which occurred following a bone-marrow transplant from his sister.
S18 E11Apr 25, 2006
The Alaska Pipeline Apr 25, 2006 The history of the Alaska Pipeline, which was built in the 1970s to transport oil across 800 miles of pristine wilderness, from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Included: the 1968 discovery of the largest oil field in North America at Prudhoe Bay; the battle between Native Americans and the government over the land the pipeline would cross; environmental concerns; and construction of the pipeline itself, which employed 78,000 people and cost more than $8 billion.
S18 E12May 9, 2006
Annie Oakley May 9, 2006 An on-target profile of the sharpshooter (1860-1926) who was “the first American woman ever to become a superstar.” Included: Oakley, at 15, winning a shooting match with future husband Frank Butler; achieving stardom with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show; filing libel suits against a number of newspapers for reporting that she was a drug addict; teaching thousands of women to shoot, while opposing women's suffrage.
S18 E13May 23, 2006
The Man Behind Hitler May 23, 2006 A profile of Joseph Goebbels (1897-45), who helped launch Hitler's rise to power. Kenneth Branagh provides voice-over readings of Goebbels' personal diaries. Included: footage from German archives tracing Goebbels' life; how Goebbels continually stage-managed his life and reinvented himself from his early days as a radical “popular socialist” to his death.