Modern Marvels

Mount Rushmore

Season 1, Ep 4, Aired 2/11/96
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  • Episode Description
  • Towering over the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore was the vision of Gutzon Borglum, a combative and fiercely talented young sculptor. To elicit public support for his dream, Borglum whipped American patriotism into a frenzy, finally securing the financing he needed to embark on the creation of his awe-inspiring monument. Over the course of 15 years, 350 men poured their sweat into Borglum's vision, using drills and explosives to chisel Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt into the massive granite cliff. Here is the controversial history of this unorthodox masterpiece, including the remarkable design specifications, the tragedies and setbacks that marred its construction, and the awe it inspires to this day.moreless

  • Cast & Crew
  • Harlan Saperstein

    Narrator

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (1)

    • 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.

    Notes (1)

    • 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

    Trivia (4)

    • The U.S. government took the Black Hills from the Sioux Indians illigally in 1877. Though a settlement was awarded by the Supreme Court in 1980, the Sioux have refused the money, still hoping to regain their land.

    • If one of the Presidents were scaled to his head on Mt. Rushmore, he would be 465 feet tall.

    • Today, the National Environmental Policy Act provides strict guidelines for assessing the environmental impact of a project like Mt. Rushmore. One expert's opinion: after a five to ten year study, the application would be denied.

    • Gutzon Borglum's father was a Mormon, simultaneously married to two Danish sisters. Gutzon's mother left the marriage four years after her son's birth.

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