This series explores the stories behind historic sites, artifacts and tall tales told in cities across the country, with the help of an inquisitive team of fact-finders with an uncanny talent for uncovering the truth.
Pretty Boy Floyd Handgun/Paul Cuffee Muster Roll/Pop Lloyd Baseball Field (#210Z) Duration: 55:46 STEREO TVG
* Pretty Boy Floyd Handgun - A man in La Verne, California, owns a vintage Colt automatic handgun, which family legend suggests once belonged to the Depression-era desperado, Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd. According to the legend, Floyd gave the gun to the contributor's uncle who had served as the lookout for "Pretty Boy." To find out if the story behind the gun is true, Wes Cowan travels to California, Oklahoma and Missouri. In the process, he discovers why gangsters became heroes to the rural population of the Midwest and reveals the true story behind the dramatic rise and fall of a man who ranks alongside Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger as one of the most colorful bank robbers in American history.
* Paul Cuffee Muster Roll - A Las Vegas man owns an old Continental Armymuster roll issued by the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, in July 1780. Among the 16 men listed is "Paul Cuffee." The contributor wants to know if this could be evidence of an unknown episode in the life of Cuffee, a remarkable African American who was a whaling captain, shipbuilder and early advocate of the "Back to Africa" movement. HD uncovers a dramatic story of African-American achievement in the years surrounding the Revolutionary War.
* Pop Lloyd Baseball Field - Why was a baseball field in Atlantic City, New Jersey, named after an African-American ballplayer in a time of intense racial tension? HD goes to the park to unearth the explanation. John Henry "Pop" Lloyd was one of the greatest athletes of his time. A famed shortstop in the Negro Leagues throughout the first three decades of the 20th century, Pop was honored with a field in his name in 1949. What was the reasoning that led to this unlikely honor in a time of blatant prejudice and racial division?
Episode #1009H Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG
HD tells four stories of our nation's beginning. First, Eduardo Pagan starts with a simple bill of sale for a 17-year old "negro girl" and learns how young Willoby's life unfolds from being property to owning property. Then Gwen Wright traces a powder horn from a muddy Minnesota field to a military captain in Massachusetts during the American Revolution. Elyse Luray asks what role a handwritten score played in making "The Star Spangled Banner" our national anthem. Finally, notes in a 1775 almanac show how conflicting loyalties strained family ties during the Revolution.
Rock Music (#1001H) Duration: 54:16 STEREO TVPG
Elyse Luray and Wes Cowan investigate whether they have found rock's Holy Grail, the long-lost electric Fender Stratocaster Bob Dylan plugged in at the '65 Newport Folk Festival, changing rock 'n' roll forever. Tukufu Zuberi tracks down some autographs allegedly signed for two brothers in Miami Beach during the Beatles' legendary 1964 "British Invasion" tour of the United States. Finally, Gwendolyn Wright investigates a $5 thrift store find and unearths a little-known artistic side of musical iconoclast Frank Zappa.
- KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 6, 2014 -- 12:00am email reminder
Space Exploration (#801H) Duration: 55:16 STEREO TVPG
This episode launches into space for an exhilarating hour exploring the excitement, promise and ingenuity that fueled America's foray into space exploration. First, detective Tukufu Zuberi tracks a scrap of metallic Mylar that could be one of America's early satellites - balloons - in the segment "Satelloon." Then, in the segment "Moon Museum," Gwendolyn Wright investigates the audacious notion that Andy Warhol's art may be on the moon. Finally, in the "Space Boot" segment, Elyse Luray tries on a jury-rigged ski boot with a magnetic metal brick bolted to the bottom that may be one of the first prototypes for a NASA space boot.
Episode #1003H Duration: 54:16 STEREO TV14
Host Elyse Luray floors country music singer Clint Black with the information she uncovers about his turn-of-the-20th-century book of wanted posters. Then, can Eduardo Pagan link a chunk of molten metal to the B-25 Bomber that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945? Did HD find a slide of Bettie Page, "Queen of Pinups," that somehow escaped the censorship of the 1950s? Finally, a six-foot metal bar tells the story behind the original iconic Hollywood sign.
- KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 20, 2014 -- 12:00am email reminder
3-D Cuban Missile Crisis/Amos 'n' Andy Record/Women's Suffrage Painting (#501Z) Duration: 55:22 STEREO TVG
* 3-D Cuban Missile Crisis - A woman in Portland, Oregon, has a portable projection screen that may have helped save the Free World. It came her way with a letter stating that in 1962, it was borrowed from a club of 3-D photography enthusiasts in Dayton, Ohio, to show President John F. Kennedy the aerial spy photos that helped him resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis. Is it possible that, as the world faced nuclear Armageddon, the US Air Force turned to an amateur club to help identify Russian missiles? HD visits Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and learns how the world's first supersonic photo-recon aircraft was rigged with 3-D cameras to improve its view of Cuba's camouflaged missiles. Wes Cowan leads HD to Dayton, Washington, DC, and Portland to pursue the case of this unassuming screen that may have played a role in preventing World War III.
* Amos 'n' Andy Record - A man in Lakeland, Florida, purchased at a flea market an aluminum record with the words "Amos 'n' Andy" hand-written on its label. He is eager to learn whether this is a rare early recording of the old-time radio series. At the peak of its success, 40 million listeners - a third of America - tuned in to "Amos 'n' Andy" six nights a week, making it the longest-running and most popular radio program in broadcast history. Its creators, Correll and Gosden, were white men who made a career of impersonating blacks for comic effect. In New York City, host Tukufu Zuberi uncovers a complex portrait of 1930s race relations and the emerging power of the mass media in American popular culture.
* Women's Suffrage Painting - 20 years ago, a woman from League City, Texas, bought at a garage sale what appears to be a watercolor painting. Pictured is a trumpeting herald on a horse, and printed are the words "Official Program Woman Suffrage Procession Washington DC March 3, 1913." The contributor wants to learn if this image is the original for that program and what role it played in securing women the right to vote. The investigation sheds light on the day before Woodrow Wilson's presidential inauguration, when as many as 8,000 women descended on the steps of the US Capitol, marching for suffrage. National media accounts testify to the galvanizing effect the spectacle had on the public. Remarkably, though, the event was organized in just nine weeks. In the suffragettes' rush to define their image, who was the illustrator they turned to? In Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC, host Gwen Wright searches for the mystery artist whose work helped culminate the 72- year battle for women's suffrage.
Episode #1004H Duration: 54:10 STEREO TVPG
What does the evocative symbol of a bird dropping a bomb mean? Did two patches with the symbol belong to a World War II unit? Then, Gwen Wright connects a tiny swatch of tattered red fabric to a pivotal moment in US Civil War history. Did a neckpiece and leggings once belong to Chief Black Kettle, known as a Cheyenne Peace Chief? Finally, did President Lincoln actually sign this note?
- KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 27, 2014 -- 12:00am email reminder