PBS American Masters

Wednesday 9:00 PM on PBS
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 30 : Ep 1


    Airing in 6 days

  • S 29 : Ep 4

    American Ballet Theatre: A History

    Aired 5/15/15

  • S 29 : Ep 3

    Jascha Heifetz: God's Fiddler

    Aired 4/16/15

  • S 29 : Ep 2

    August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand

    Aired 2/20/15

  • S 29 : Ep 1

    Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice

    Aired 1/23/15

  • Cast & Crew
  • Carol Burnett


  • Fran Drescher


  • James Cagney

    Himself (Archive Footage)

  • Tony Bennett


  • Dick Martin


  • show Description
  • Produced (or acquired) by Thirteen/WNET New York for the Public Broadcasting Service, episodes of American Masters are dedicated to documenting and honoring America's most notable creative artists and the inspiration behind their work. Each year a series of special broadcasts profiles a cross-section of the nation's finest artistic pioneers from the past and present.

  • Top Contributor
  • hypathio7

    User Score: 218


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (106)

    • Volker Schlondorff (director of the filmed production): Everything should be fake, except the emotions. They will be true and they'll be what we are moved by.

    • Philip Johnson: The reason these (tall) buildings go up so close to each other is because people want to be close to other people.

    • Narrator: Even when playing the fool, Chaplin could sometimes create an idea which he would return to years later.

    • Milt Hinton (jazz musician): (on Holiday's funeral) It was not the usual thing of a musician going to the bar after (another musician) is gone and having a drink. It was just dead quiet and sadness.

    • Colleen Dewhurst: (on O'Neill's acting criteria) He will not permit you to do it (act) on a tired night. There's no safety net. You just have to jump.

    • Irving Caesar (song writer and lyricist): No one took American composers seriously. Usually you had to be European...or dead.

    • Joseph Fox (Capote editor): Truman may have been conning everybody.

    • Dorothy Parker (narrated): The trouble with us is that we stayed too young too long.

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    Notes (228)

    • The first two seasons of this series are composed almost entirely of films produced either "out of house" by independent film makers or of re-broadcasts of earlier WNET PBS productions.

    • Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovitch are some of the stars on the Death of a Salesman television project that are interviewed in this first installment of the series.

    • Johnson appears thoughout this episode and discusses his architectural designs with the narrator.

    • Voices and footage in this episode include clips of Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren, Eleanor Clark, Peter Taylor, and Joan Givner.

    • Comments are included from Jackie Coogan, Alistair Cooke, Georgia Hale, and Lita Grey. The film is remarkable in showing many never-before-seen outtakes of Chaplin's scenes as well as footage of him directing.

    • The PBS broadcast of this film won an Emmy (for Outstanding Informational Special) and a Peabody Award.

    • This 1983 UK film production originally aired as three separate installments on American Masters.

    • This installment was originally produced for the BBC in 1984 and includes comments by singer Sylvia Sime, critic Leonard Feather, producer John Hammond, and band leader Artie Shaw.

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    Trivia (137)

    • Johnson became director of the architecture department of New York's Museum of Modern Art at the age of 26.

    • Losing her mother at an early age and neglected by her father, the Texas-born Porter married the first of her four husbands at the age of 15.

    • When filming his earliest productions, Chaplin and his cameraman Roland Totheroh would often build sets first and then work out plots, transitions, and camera angles on-the-spot.

    • Holiday was never able to overcome an addiction to heroin - it prevented her from adopting a child and she was found in possession of the narcotic while trying to recover from its effects in a New York City hospital.

    • In this installment, Levine compares directing an operatic production to "driving in heavy traffic."

    • Though he eventually came to represent traditional American composition, Copland's early work was considered very modern for its time.

    • Eakins was one of the few fine artists of his time to heartily accept photography as a legitimate artistic pursuit.

    • A major influence on O'Keeffe's artistic style was an instructor of Asian art named Arthur Dow whom she met while teaching in South Carolina.

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    Allusions (26)

    • Billie Holiday was nicknamed "Lady Day" by her numerous fans and this is alluded to in the installment's title.

    • The title of this installment is a derivation of the unfinished Capote novel Answered Prayers.

    • This episode takes its name from the Gish autobiography An Actor's Life for Me.

    • This episode takes its title from a published collection of Baldwin's non-fiction work named The Price of the Ticket.

    • You're the Top, from the stage musical Anything Goes is one of Cole Porter's best-known songs.

    • The title of this installment is from an oft-attributed quote of John Cage's - "I have nothing to say and I'm saying it, and that is poetry, as I see it."

    • The title of this installment is based on Einstein's book The World As I See It.

    • This episode takes its name from one of Vaughan's well-known nicknames, as well as an album she released in 1961.

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  • Fan Reviews (1)
  • A huge variety of artists are featured, along with a lot of different approaches to documentary film. Uneven over the years, but finding a formula that is getting better and better.

    By Mac-Ale, Aug 24, 2008

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