American Experience

Trivia, Quotes, Notes and Allusions

Quotes (206)

  • Narrator: (on the aftermath of the quake) What no one yet realized that morning was that the greatest tragedy of San Francisco was yet to unfold. The shock had snapped gas mains and toppled chimneys. Fifty fires had started almost simultaneously.

  • Chief Kilon Bauno: An American came to Bikini and said he was the most powerful man in the world. He said he wanted to drop a bomb on Bikini. He said America wanted to use Bikini and we would have to leave.

  • Lola Weixel (wartime worker): Men were sold a bill of goods, that their skills were so hard to learn. In fact, they could be learned quickly.

  • Narrator: To try and capture the 39 Apaches, (General) Miles put 5,000 men in the field. That was one-quarter of the entire regular Army of the day.

  • Jerry Wexler (record producer): It was all about making money. It wasn't black or white. It was green.

  • Prince Maximilian (narrated from journal): It is incredible how much the original American (American Indian) race is hated and neglected by the foreign usurpers.

  • Eudora Welty: A sheltered life can be a daring life as well...for all serious daring starts from within.

  • Robert Moses (archival footage): Those who can...build. Those who can't...criticize.

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Notes (288)

  • The first Executive Producer for American Experience and one of its founders was Judy Crichton, coming to PBS from a career at CBS. Crichton died in October 2007.

  • This episode marks the beginning of the PBS series, though earlier productions such as the acclaimed Vietnam: A Television History series and Eyes on the Prize would later be re-packaged as a part of the American Experience broadcast schedule.

  • This film contains no narration and instead interweaves footage produced by the U.S. Military with interviews of former residents of Bikini Atoll.

  • Prior to broadcast, this episode was nominated for an Oscar as Best Documentary and for the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award. The film was produced by Robert Stone and Crossroads Production Company.

  • This program was criticized by some as highlighting the observations of a regional reporter and passing them off as academic authority. Debo was 98 years old at the time of broadcast.

  • This episode won an Emmy Award for Writing in a Documentary.

  • Connie Field was nominated for a 1982 BAFTA award for this film. It was produced though her company Clarity Films, Inc, and has no narration - instead told by the voices of five women who worked in industry during WW II.

  • This acclaimed program had been broadcast before the American Experience series began and was later incorporated into the series' first season line-up.

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Trivia (248)

  • The seismic event on the San Andreas Fault that produced the earthquake caused over 21 feet of displacement in some areas and is estimated to have released the energy of six million tons of TNT.

  • The United States relocated approximately 200 Micronesian residents from Bikini Atoll before Hydrogen bomb testing began.

  • Angie Debo was prevented from joining the faculty of many universities and turned her talents to documenting Native American struggles as a writer instead.

  • Sevareid began his observations of the American experience through journalism during his youth in North Dakota.

  • Production levels at many industrial plants actually increased noticeably after women replaced the male workers who had gone to war.

  • This installment concludes with scenes of cowboys who use ATVs and motorcycles to perform many aspects of their job, the motorized vehicles being more economical than horses in the modern world.

  • The Apache Indians suffered greatly from Mexican persecution as well as that from the United States.

  • The project of covering the lives of three white sharecropping families was originally envisioned as a magazine article.

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Allusions (2)

  • This installment takes its name form Sevareid's book of the same name.

  • The title of this documentary alludes to Rudyard Kipling's short story The Man Who Would Be King, a fictional account of a British soldier who aspires to rule a large territory in colonial India.