Ken Burns

This grandma had a fascinating tale of lives saved


Yes, Ken Burns sometimes tackles sweeping subjects -- world wars, Prohibition, baseball and such. But he can also help break out small slices, individual heroes. One such tale is recounted in an excellent documentary that reaches PBS on Tuesday (Sept. 20); here's the story I sent to papers:

 

By Mike Hughes

Amid California beauty, Jackie Robinson found racism and triumph


Sure, we kind of assume that a Ken Burns documentary will be richly crafted, with depth, intelligence and emotion. But Burns' latest -- "Jackie Robinson," Monday and Tuesday (April 11-12) on PBS -- is particularly good. Burns, 62, and Rachel Robinson (Jackie's widow), 93, talked to reporters about it; here's the story I sent to papers:

(Very interesting TV
story on the “Jackie Robinson” PBS mini-series, Monday and
Tuesday)

"Cancer" resonates rich emotions from the filmmakers


"Cancer" isn't your usual Ken Burns film. It does have the richly human history that we expect from Burns, but it also has long (and, sometimes, painful) visits with current cancer patients. It's a hybrid, partly spurred by the deep personal histories of some of the people involved. The film airs Monday (March 30) through Wednesday (April 1) on PBS. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

"Central Park Five": A rush to judgment; a slow exoneration


Yes, cable is still wrapping up its big week. Tonight (Sunday, April 14), National Geographic starts its richly detailed "The '80s" (see previous blog) and Showtime starts a new season for its lush "The Borgias."

Soon, however, it will be PBS' turn. "Central Park Five" on Tuesday is a compelling portait of a rush to judgment. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

In one of New York's darkest moments, a
single mindset seemed universal.

"The Dust Bowl": A potent look at a dark decade


"The Dust Bowl" is everything you expect from a Ken Burns documentary -- intelligent, passionate, beautifully crafted. Here's one of the stories I sent to papers; right after this, there's a box and then a second story, viewing that dark decade through the eyes of one former cowboy kid:

 

By MIKE HUGHES

For a decade, dust storms in the
American mid-section blackened farms, destroyed crops, ruined lives.

Growing up amid dust and dismay


What was it like to grow up amid the dark dismay of the Dust Bowl? This story tells it from the viewpoint of a former Colorado kid, now a retired teacher at 88. It's one of two stories I sent to papers about Ken Burns' "The Dust Bowl," Sunday and Monday (Nov. 18-19) on PBS. The other story and the box should be right above this one:

 

By MIKE HUGHES

He was a cowboy kid on the Colorado
prairie, living the only life he knew.

Growing up amid dust and dismay


What was it like to grow up amid the dark dismay of the Dust Bowl? This story tells it from the viewpoint of a former Colorado kid, now a retired teacher at 88. It's one of two stories I sent to papers about Ken Burns' "The Dust Bowl," Sunday and Monday (Nov. 18-19) on PBS. The other story and the box should be right above this one:

 

By MIKE HUGHES

He was a cowboy kid on the Colorado
prairie, living the only life he knew.

"Prohibition": Ken Burns toms himself


Ken Burns seems to keep topping himself. "Prohibition" -- Sunday through Tuesday on PBS -- is another masterpiece. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

For 14 noisy years, Americans had their
social experiment. They banned alcohol; they turned collectively
sober.

Well, not quite. Even leaders found
ways to duck the law: