Modern Marvels

Wednesday 10:00 PM on The History Channel
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 18 : Ep 22

    Amazing Job Countdown

    Aired 9/21/13

  • S 18 : Ep 61

    Modern Marvels: Mega Food Countdown

    Aired 8/27/12

  • S 18 : Ep 60

    Mega Weapon Countdown

    Aired 7/30/12

  • S 18 : Ep 59

    Mega Machine Countdown

    Aired 7/24/12

  • S 18 : Ep 17

    Alaska

    Aired 2/27/12

  • Cast & Crew
  • Max Raphael

    Narrator

  • Will Lyman

    Narrator

  • Harlan Saperstein

    Narrator

  • Greg Stebner

    Narrator

  • Beau Billingslea

    Narrator

  • Photos (1)
  • show Description
  • According to the History Channel, this show first aired in January of 1995, but it was released on VHS in 1994. It was probably on another network before the History Channel was formed in January of 1995.

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (328)

    • Narrator: 1933, the Depression, a nation desperate for work. The answer: build a dam, a gigantic dam on a scale that amazes even today. Now a saga of power, the Grand Coulee Dam, on Modern Marvels.

    • Narrator: Once the tallest building in the world. A symbol of American power to the world. A source of inspiration for a weary nation and a magnet for the imagination. The story of the Empire State Building is the flamboyant story of New York itself, now on Modern Marvels.

    • Narrator: An impossible dream, connecting two oceans by digging a canal through dense jungle and savage heat, poisons snakes and malarial mosquitoes. It killed tens of thousands, it costs billions, it nearly toppled a government, but in the end it was a technological triumph that touched every aspect of our modern lives. The Panama Canal, next on Modern Marvels.

    • Narrator: The idea preposterous, the plan: carve a national monument out of the solid Black Hills of South Dakota. The motivation: part tourism, part patriotism, part egotism. The result: a stunning monument to four American visionaries by a man as energetic and contentious as the country he loved. Now, sculpting Mount Rushmore, here on Modern Marvels.

    • Narrator: The plan was daring, to unite a nation with 1700 miles of track across untamed wilderness, over snow capped peaks and through solid rock. Two rival workforces in a great race to link the American continent, each facing deadly obstacles and titanic challenges of engineering. Now: The Transcontinental Railroad, on Modern Marvels.

    • Narrator: Some people say architecture is frozen music, that to appreciate a structure you must listen to its silent song. The Golden Gate Bridge has many songs, a chorus of stories which speak of determined people who conquered overwhelming odds. The Bridge spans a finger of ocean a mile wide and five miles long called the Golden Gate, linking the spanse of the Pacific to the San Francisco Bay. It is a barren stretch, where 2 and half million cubic feet of cold water flush from the bay every second. On either shore rugged cliffs conspire to form a gigantic wind tunnel, whipping ships with 60 mile an hour gusts most of the year. Many times the area is shrouded in a creeping cocoon of dense fog making navigation treacherous. At the beginning of the 20th century, the idea of spanning this ominous gap could only be a madman's dream, but the alarming growth of San Francisco, combined with the desperation of hungry men, and the arrogance of industry, to initiate the most ambitious suspension bridge ever. It would take four years and cost tens of millions of dollars to erect the 88 thousand tons of steel and concrete. No one was certain the project would ever succeed, everyone understood that death and disaster could be a part of the price. Yet the people of San Francisco were ready to accept major sacrifices to bring this dream to life. Because this bridge did more than span troubled waters, it held aloft the promise of the future.

    • Narrator: In 1981 Space Shuttle Columbia was the first shuttle launched into orbit and it returned there again and again over the next 22 years. But on February 1st, what seemed to be another successful mission came to an abrupt end. Columbia broke up and fell to Earth, claiming the lives of all seven astronauts on board. Questions are being asked about what went wrong and if the disaster could have been averted. Yet the fact remains, the space shuttle program revolutionized how we send humans to space. Now a look back at the development of the Space Shuttle, on Modern Marvels.

    • Narrator: Dogged by delay and predictions of failure. Its construction took the lives of at least 40 workers. It killed its creator and destroyed the health of his son. Its history is a dramatic clash of dirty politics and true love, its living legacy is one of unprecedented utility and lasting beauty. Now: The Brooklyn Bridge, on Modern Marvels.

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    Notes (513)

    • Herbert Hoover (archival footage) Franklin D. Roosevelt (archival footage) L. Vaughn Downs Assistant Project Manager Hu Blonc Former Editor, "Wenatchee World" Craig Sprankle Bureau of Reclamation Steve Sanchez Dispatcher Executive Producer: Bob Jaffe Writer: Andy Thomas Producer: Andy Thomas Coordinating Producer: Tim Busa Senior Producer: Jeff Scheftel Creator: Bruce Nash Producer: Bruce Nash Narrator: Harlan Saperstein Music: Scott Page-Pagter Music: John Valentino Editor: Andy Thomas Camera: Geoff Schaff Online Editor: Brian Pete Archival Footage Consultant: Ted Troll Re-Recording Mixer: Wayne Cook Show Accountant: Lynn Marchionno Production Assistant: Victoria Waters Production Assistant: Denise Agard Production Assistant: Nathan Wilson Graphics: Ron Clark Graphics: Art F/X Post Production: Premore, Inc Post Production: Midtown Post Valage Special Thanks: Woody Guthrie Foundation Harold Leventhal Harry Fox Agency Tony Batty David Walsh Bill Merlin Steve Tekosky Michael Singh David Mack Dr. John Dracup Stephen Gilford "Pastures of Plenty" "Grand Coulee Dam" Copyright Ludlow Music, Inc. Written & Performed by Woody Guthrie Executive in Charge: Mel A. Bishop 1993

    • Brendan Gill Author & Preservationist Irwin Cantor Structural Engineer Joe Carbonelli Construction Worker Lydia Ruth Director of Public Relations Robert Sobel Architect Jack Brod Tenant since 1931 Laura Fries Director of Observatories Robert Tinker General Manager 1947-1985

    • Executive Producer: Bob Jaffe Writer: Andy Thomas Producer: Andy Thomas Senior Producer: Jeff Scheftel Co-Writer: Jeff Scheftel Coordinating Producer: Tim Busa Producer: Bruce Nash Creator: Bruce Nash Editor: Andy Thomas Architectural Consultant: Linda M. Eklund Camera: Peter Goodman Online Editor: Brian Pete Archival Footage Consultant: Ted Troll Re-Recording Mixer: Wayne Cook Sound: Matthew Cahill Music: Scott Page-Pagter Music: John Valentino Show Accountant: Lynn Marchionno Production Assistant: Victoria Waters Production Assistant: Adam Goldstein Production Assistant: Denise Agard Production Assistant: Nathan Wilson Graphics: Ron Clark Art F/X Post Production: Premore, Inc Post Production: Midtown Post Valage Special Thanks: Helmsley - Spear, Inc Emery Roth & Sons The Cantor Seinuk Group P.C. Howard J. Rubenstein Assoc., Inc Association For A Better NY American Institute of Architects Port Authority of NY & NJ Beth Rubenstein Sandra Parsons Rick Decroix Virginia Dzurinko Michael Jordan-Reilly Dennis Barrow Martin Loft Ralph Jacobs Ed Koch Parter In The Law Firm Bryan Cave, LLP Executive In Charge: Mel A. Bishop Produced by: Actuality Productions, Inc 1994

    • On August 15-19, 2005, The History Channel had a New York City week, where they had shows about New York. This was one of them. Ed Koch hosted three of them (Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, and New York Bridges). David Dinkins hosted the other two (Statue of Liberty and The NYC Subway).

    • The original air date for this episode is up in the air. I found a site which said it was from 1994.

    • Originally broadcast in 1993.

    • Commentators: Robert Dill Canal Construction Worker Steven Tekosky Environmental Attorney Capt. Roger Knight Princess Cruises

    • James Popovich Archivist, National Park Service Howard Shaff Co-Author, “Six Wars at a Time” Dr. William O. Farber University of South Dakota Dan Wenk Superintendent, Mount Rushmore Orville Worman Mount Rushmore Worker Don Clifford Mount Rushmore Worker Glen Bradford Mount Rushmore Worker William A. Burkett Hearst Contest Winner Mike Pflaum Chief Ranger, Mount Rushmore Executive Producer: Bob Jaffe Writer: Andy Thomas Producer: Andy Thomas Coordinating Producer: Tim Busa Senior Producer: Jeff Scheftel Co-Writer: Jeff Scheftel Producer: Bruce Nash Creator: Bruce Nash Narrator: Harlan Saperstein Archival Footage Consultant: Ted Troll Camera Operator: Geoff Schaff Editor: Andy Thomas Online Editor: Brian Pete Audio Mixer: Paul Feenstra Music: Scott Page-Pagter Music: John Valentino Production Assistant: Victoria Waters Production Assistant: Nathan Wilson Production Assistant: Denise Agard Graphics: Ron Clark Graphics: Art F/X Post Production: Premore, INC Post Production: Midtown Video Special Thanks: The Library of Congress National Park Service United States Department of the Interior Rushmore-Borlum Historical & Cultural Center Charles Nauman Dr. and Laura Pankratz Todd Epp Peter Egart Gary Keller Michael Singh Eric Jerstad Rick Decroix Executive in Charge: Mel A. Bishop

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    Trivia (1715)

    • The Grand Coulee Dam was the first man made structure to exceed, in volume, the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

    • The Grand Coulee Dam was enough concrete in it to lay a 16 foot highway from new York City to Seattle to Los Angeles and back to new York.

    • The Empire State Building is one of the greatest lightning rods ever built. Allegedly, when conditions are right and the 86th floor is surrounded by static electricity, if you kiss someone, fire will fly from your lips.

    • There are 6500 windows in the Empire State Building. All get cleaned twice a month. Window washers qualify for "combat pay."

    • There was a price to pay for rushing construction on the Empire State Building: fourteen men died. The Chrysler Building, built more slowly, lost only one worker.

    • The architect of the Empire State Building could not attend the dedication of the building. Instead, he sent a telegram from his ship en route to England. "One day out and I can still see the building."

    • The Steel used in construction of the Empire State building came from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was still hot when they unloaded it from the trains in New York City.

    • When John Stevens addressed his workers, he inspired them with this speech: “There are three diseases on this isthmus: yellow fever, malaria and cold feet. And the worst disease of all is cold feet.”

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    Allusions (3)

    • The Tacoma Narrows bridge is probably the most dramatic engineering failure of all time. It was nicknamed "Galloping Gertie" after its opening because of how the span moved in the wind. Ultimatly, the motion lead to its collapse on Novemeber 7, 1940 and its dramatic end was caught on camera.

    • Still images from the Star Trek tv series are used in this episode.

    • Show Sub-topic: (None)
      The Texas A&M [Aggie] Bonfire was an annual tradition since 1909 (back when it was a military academy.) It started out as a pile of junk burned the night before the football game against University of Texas. Legand has it if the fire burns into the wee hours of the morning, A&M will win its game. By 1999 the bonfire had become an elaborate stucture aimed at building leadership and teamwork among the students.

  • Fan Reviews (15)
  • Deeply informative

    By andrewgresock, Oct 25, 2013

  • Very Interesting.

    By gracielove, Nov 09, 2012

  • Hot & Spicy

    By Cleofus, Jul 03, 2012

  • mordern marvels is a really good history show about all kinds of things.

    By cube2k8, May 07, 2010

  • One of the best shows on television

    By RealSparticus, Nov 14, 2008

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