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SNEAK PEEK: Ken Burns 'National Parks' online
July 4, 2009  | By Diane Werts
 
parks arches.jpg

UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL TV AIRINGS --

Can't wait to see Ken Burns' fall epic The National Parks: America's Best Idea? Online site PBS Video lets you watch a half-hour preview anytime. Excerpts from the 12-hour project unreel alongside interviews of Burns and collaborator Dayton Duncan discussing their take on the subject.

That same preview can be found on TV, too. PBS has scheduled additional national feeds for July 26 at 10:30 p.m. ET and July 28 at 11:30 p.m. ET -- but public TV member stations determine their own individual broadcast schedules. So it may run at another time in your area (or not at all; check local listings).

parks burns squires.jpgThe National Parks: America's Best Ideadebuts on public TV in six parts, starting Sept. 27, after six years in production. (Location photo at right shows Burns with cinematographer Buddy Squires.) With the scenic vistas offered by those 391 varied park facilities, you'd expect the widescreen high definition visuals to look amazing -- and they do, even in that little online preview window. (There's a full-screen viewing option, but blowing it up makes the streaming quality not so hot.)


Here's the official PBS description:

"The National Parks: America's Best Idea is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. As such, it follows in the tradition of Burns' exploration of other American inventions, such as baseball and jazz.

"The narrative traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years. Using archival photographs, first-person accounts of historical characters, personal memories and analysis from more than 40 interviews, and what Burns believes is the most stunning cinematography in Florentine Films' history, the series chronicles the steady addition of new parks through the stories of the people who helped create them and save them from destruction. It is simultaneously a biography of compelling characters and a biography of the American landscape."

 

2 Comments

 

Angela said:

Just wanted to comment on how glad (that's putting it mildly) that Ken Burns or anyone really good is doing this!!! I could cry when I think about the parks being destroyed for any reason. (Is there any good reason?)
I remember reading an article about the national parks in Life magazine YEARS ago. What I remember most about the article was that the park rangers do their jobs for sheer love. And it must be true because housing is often the quality of a cardboard box, and they carry AK 47's while patrolling.

Maybe this show will be my excuse to get a wide screen TV. :)
Thanks for the heads up.

Richard said:

Anything by Ken Burns is phenomenal. His baseball series is the BEST!

 
 
 
 
 
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