American Masters: Season 21 (2007)

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Season 21
American Masters

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Episodes

Air date: May 2, 2007

The 21st-season opener profiles folksinger Peter Seeger, whom the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines calls a "living testament to the First Amendment." Spiced by archival photos and film, the bio features comments from Seeger, Maines, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, plus family members. Included: Seeger recalls Woody Guthrie; the Weavers and their blacklisting; Seeger's role in the 1960s folk-music revival, the civil-rights movement and anti-Vietnam War protests; and cleaning up the Hudson River.

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Air date: Jul 11, 2007

A profile of Les Paul, who developed the solid-body electric guitar and helped pioneer multitracking. Born in 1915, Paul went on to jam with jazz greats Louis Armstrong and Art Tatum; back Bing Crosby; and (with wife Mary Ford) sell millions of records in the 1950s. Included: performance footage; and comments from Les Paul, Jeff Beck, Tony Bennett, Ahmet Ertegun, B.B. King, Steve Miller and Bonnie Raitt.

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Air date: Jul 18, 2007

One of the best-respected artists of his generation, David Hockney is well known for his paintings, prints, and portraits, but he's also developed a reputation as a set designer for some of the world's leading opera companies. A passionate enthusiast of classical vocal music, Hockney's interest in opera has helped to transform the visual aspect of how the pieces are presented, from his bright use of color to his insistence on making lighting cues an integral part of his design. However, there's also an irony to Hockney's success in opera -- at the age of 67, Hockney began losing a significant amount of his hearing, which would not only impact his ability to create for a medium that has earned him so much acclaim, but rob him of his ability to appreciate the music that means so much to him. David Hockney: The Colors of Music is a documentary which examines the artist's unique approach to set design, how the music informs his life, and his feelings as he becomes aware each design project could well be his last.

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Air date: Jul 25, 2007

A profile of naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851), whose influential "Birds of America" featured portraits of 435 birds; and whose name, in the early 1900s, would be used by a group of bird lovers who formed the National Audubon Society and hoped to stop the killings of birds for their plumes. This documentary explores Audubon's personal and public lives, which includes being jailed for bankruptcy; and dining at the White House. Included: excerpts of letters he wrote to his wife.

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Air date: Sep 12, 2007

Hollywood music consultant Bruce Ricker teams with filmmaking legend Clint Eastwood to take an intimate look at the life and career of beloved crooner Tony Bennett. Utilizing Eastwood's interviews with the octogenarian vocalist and rare performance footage as a sturdy foundation, Ricker's documentary lovingly illustrates how Bennett has influenced American music and culture for over more than sixty years..

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Air date: Sep 19, 2007

Anjelica Huston narrates this profile of Jose Clemente Orozco (1883-1949), a political cartoonist who became one of the leading artists of the Mexican mural renaissance of the 1920s and '30s, and whose work inspired President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fund artists during the Great Depression. Among the works viewed: the fresco "Prometheus"; the 24-panel "Epic of American Civilization"; and "Dive Bomber and Tank," which features six interchangeable panels.

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Air date: Oct 29, 2007

When cartoonist Charles M. Schulz's first "Peanuts" comic strip was published back in 1950, few could have foreseen the cultural phenomenon that would eventually form around a series of simple line drawings featuring children flying kites, kicking around a football, and being cruel as kids can be. Fifty years and 18,977 comic strips later, no one could deny that Schulz had somehow managed to tap into that innocent, sometimes worrisome child that dwells within us all. Though it all, Schulz remained a mind-mannered comic who was prone to self-doubt, much like his iconic, forever young protagonist Charlie Brown. In this film, director David Van Taylor speaks while Schulz's family, friends, and colleagues in order to offer a well-rounded look at the enigmatic man whose childlike wonder and wisdom touched countless lives.

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Air date: Nov 5, 2007

A profile of comedy legend Carol Burnett, who entertained viewers each week from 1967 to 1979 with her eponymous sketch-comedy show; and branched into serious drama with such fare as the teleplay "Friendly Fire." Included: clips from her classic series and "The Garry Moore Show," which helped launch her career. Also: comments from Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, who costarred in her TV series; Julia Andrews; and Tracey Ullman.

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