Cities of the Underworld

Season 1 Episode 13

Underground Bootleggers

1
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jul 23, 2007 on The History Channel
6.5
out of 10
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Episode Summary

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Underground Bootleggers
AIRED:
100 years ago Portland, Oregon was a city full of vice, considered the most dangerous port in the world. It was a place where you could get drugs or booze or wake up trapped in a cell beneath the earth.
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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This was the first episode that was actively bad.

    1.0
    This was the first episode of this extraordinary series that was actively bad.



    The subject was "Underground Bootleggers," and even if we employ the broadest possible definition of "bootlegger," the available on-topic material was apparently rather thin. As a consequence, perhaps as much as 1/3 of the episode's running-time is taken up with irrelevant filler, such as a tour of Portland's present-day sewer system, and a look at the new system presently being constructed, none of which had any relevance to the topic at hand, and none of which was particularly interesting, either.



    Some of the on-topic material was no better. The notion, for example, that the so-called "Shanghai Tunnels" of Portland were used to Shanghai men onto ships in port, which provided the most dramatic moments of the episode, has been called into question by local media in Oregon. If the producers of "Cities of the Underworld" were aware that this was considered a controversial notion in some quarters, they failed to mention it in the episode itself.



    The insistence, presumably by the History Channel, that Don Wildman, the new host of the program, mimic as closely as possible the wardrobe, mannerisms, and vocal stylings of previous host Eric Geller continues to wear on this viewer.moreless

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  • QUOTES (1)

    • Don Wildman: At the turn of the 20th Century, America was home to one of the most dangerous, vice filled cities in the world, Portland, Oregon. Today it's among the country's most desirable places but it secretly harbors an underworld darker than you could possibly imagine. Whether its trap doors used to kidnap unsuspecting victims, the eerie recesses of a drug utopia, the lost stash of the city's bootlegging queen or even an illegal underground fight club, Portland has more dark corners than any medieval dungeon, and danger looms around every corner. The sins of Portland's past are alive and well, they're just buried beneath the surface.

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