American Experience: Season 18 (2005 - 2006)

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Season 18
American Experience

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 17, 2005

The pressures to pull out of Vietnam reach a crucial turning point as a Viet Cong ambush nearly eradicates an entire American battalion and a student protest in Wisconsin turns suddenly violent in this historically probing installment of the American Experience series based on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Davis Maraniss' book They Marched into Sunlight. With public opinion already divided over the grueling war, the historical events that unfolded in the fall of 1967 left a nation shaken, and forever changed the lives of the soldiers fighting in a far-away land, their worried parents back home, the students who saw that war was not the answer, and the police officers and administrators who struggled to gain control over a situation that was rapidly spiraling into chaos.

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Air date: Oct 31, 2005

Filmmakers explore the historical 1968 lunar mission that laid the groundwork for man's first steps on the moon in this hour-long documentary that originally aired as part of PBS Television's American Experience series. On December 24, 1968, the space race came to a head as Apollo 8 entered lunar orbit. The journey of Apollo 8 was not only significant as the first manned mission to the moon, but also because it provided the public with their first live look at the lunar surface as audiences across the nation sat glued to their televisions. Now, with this release, modern viewers can revisit the groundbreaking journey to the moon in this documentary that places the Apollo 8 mission in a historical perspective by showing the significant impact that it had in the development of the American space program.

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Air date: Nov 14, 2005

Part 1 of two. "Las Vegas: An Unconventional History." The story of the gambling mecca is told via news clips and reminiscences. Narrated by Michael Murphy.

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Air date: Nov 15, 2005

Conclusion. "Las Vegas: An Unconventional History." News clips and reminiscences tell the story of the gambling mecca, from a dusty railroad town to a leading tourist attraction. Narrated by Michael Murphy.

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Air date: Jan 23, 2006

Discover the important roles that John Adams and his wife Abigail played in the founding the United States as historians David McCullough, Joanne Freeman, and Joseph Ellis offer an intimate portrait of the marriage that helped to shape a nation. They say that behind every great politician is a great woman, and though John Adams (Simon Russell Beale) was a natural born leader, his wife Abigail (Linda Emond) was his greatest political ally. A loyal wife and trusted advisor, she was always present as a supporter and a confidant. By drawing on correspondences between the couple from when John was in Philadelphia working in the Continental Congress and serving as America's first ambassador to England, screenwriter Elizabeth Deane presents a side of their relationship that's often left out of the history books, but still remains a crucial chapter in the history of America.

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Air date: Jan 30, 2006

Relive the gripping events of the tribunal that gave birth to the trial procedure paradigm for decades of state criminal cases as rare archival materials and firsthand accounts combine to offer a compelling account of the historical Nuremburg trials. When former head of the Nazi Air Force Hermann Goring and other surviving members of the Nazi elite went on trial on November 20, 1945, the world watched with bated breath to witness the outcome of the groundbreaking case. Charged with the murder of millions of innocent civilians and set before the world to face judgment, the Nuremburg Trials offered a brief glimmer of justice to those lives had been affected by Hitler's atrocities, and in this release history buffs are afforded a closer look than ever before at the trial that held the attention of an entire planet.

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Air date: Feb 6, 2006

This edition of the documentary series American Experience charts the life of infamous American outlaw Jesse James and the series of famous crimes he committed with the help of his brother, Frank.

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Air date: Feb 27, 2006

The contrasts between an event that changed the face of terrorism and an act of terrorism that changed the face of the world are explored in director Ilan Ziv's documentary detailing the September 1970 hijacking of five commercial airliners by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Unlike the hijackers of September, 11, 2001, the PFLP was not a religious extremist group, but a group of secular Marxist Leninists looking to call attention to a plight that they felt was being ignored by the masses. Though in the end three of the airliners were spectacularly blown up by the militant Palestinian organization, none of the nearly 600 passengers taken hostage were actually killed. Now, more than three decades after the tense events that braced a nation, award-winning producer Ziv conducts interviews with the PFLP, the masterminds behind the attacks, as well as journalists who covered the events, and passengers and crew members of the flights to offer a compelling snapshot of a time in history when innocent civilians became unwilling pawns in the global game of terror.

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Air date: Mar 27, 2006

The compelling life story of America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright comes to the screen in a documentary featuring scenes performed by Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Liam Neeson, and Vanessa Redgrave, and originally produced as part of PBS's American Experience series. Despite intense family drama and raging inner turmoil, Eugene O'Neill persevered to emerge as a world-class talent through such acclaimed works as +The Iceman Cometh and +Long Day's Journey Into Night. In transcending the traditional documentary form to truly examine O'Neill's character in great detail, filmmakers offer a revealing meditation on loss, redemption, and the high cost that artists are forced to pay in life. Excerpts from O'Neill's plays performed by some of the greatest actors of their generation prove that, even after his death, O'Neill continues to influence and inspire.

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Air date: Apr 10, 2006

The cutting edge of modern medicine gets a closer look in an American Experience docuemntary detailing the life of young David Vetter - also known by the masses as "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble." His short life confined to just twelve consolidated years, Vetter's brave battle sparks controversy when some claimed that it was the haste of doctors that condemned the handsome boy to a life they would argue wasn't truly worth living. As a terrified young couple struggles valiantly to save the life of their precious child, viewers will find themselves faced with some of the most difficult, and heart-rending ethical questions in modern science.

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