History Detectives

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Tuesday 9:00 PM on PBS Premiered Jul 01, 2003 In Season

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  • Web Extra: Wes on Fakes

    Clip

    8/14/12

    History Detectives host Wes Cowan talks about fakes and explains what happens when fake or stolen artifacts turn up his auction house.
  • Titanic Picture Frame, Woolworth Signs, Nazi Spy Toys

    Clip

    8/7/12

    In this episode, was this picture frame was crafted from wood from the Titanic, the Lusitania, or neither? Were these Woolworth signs at the 1960 Winston-Salem lunch-counter sit-ins? And, for 70 years the owner of these toy soldiers has wondered if the father of his childhood friend was a Nazi spy.moreless
  • World War II Patch: Bird of War

    Clip

    7/31/12

    A Louisiana man received a military style foot locker filled with papers that apparently belonged to a World War II airman, Lionel B. Potter. Also inside were two patches embroidered with an evocative symbol: a bird in the clouds dropping a bomb. Is this a unit insignia? He'?s turned the investigation over to Wes Cowan. Were these patches used in World War II? Who made them and why?moreless
  • War Spoils of a Peace Chief

    Clip

    7/31/12

    Family lore says that George'?s great, great-uncle Taylor fought alongside General Custer at the Battle of Washita. Peace Chief Black Kettle of the Southern Cheyenne, lost his life in the confrontation. Taylor returned from the war with an Indian neckpiece and leggings, which he said belonged to the chief. George asks Wes, could the family legend he knows so well actually be true?moreless
  • Marshall House Flag

    Clip

    7/31/12

    Gale Bay finds a swatch of red fabric in an envelope labeled '?relics.'? She also has a letter from her great-great grandfather Ira Wilson, about a slain commander, Col. Ellsworth. Ellsworth was the first Union officer killed in the Civil War, shot at as he took down a confederate flag near the White House. Gale asks Gwen to find out if this red fabric came from the flag that cost the Col. his life.moreless
  • Clint Blackas Book of Rogues

    Clip

    7/24/12

    Fifteen years ago, country music star Clint Black received a crumbling, faded scrapbook as a gift from his wife. The cover reads '?1909'? and inside Clint found hundreds of clippings for lost and wanted men from the early 20th century. Clint asks Elyse to find out the purpose behind this book and more about the Sheriff who used it.moreless
  • Bettie Page And The Forbidden Pinup

    Clip

    7/24/12

    Sorting through a suitcase filled with 1950s educational slides, our contributor found a color negative of 1950s pin-up model Bettie Page, whose uninhibited style earned her the name '?Queen of Pin-ups.'? '?Pin-up King'? Irving Klaw supposedly destroyed most of his pin-up photos during a wave of 1950'?s censorship. If this is one of Klaw'?s photos, how did it survive?moreless
  • Web Extra: Empire State Building Plane Crash, Eyewitness

    Clip

    7/23/12

    Eyewitness, Gloria Pall recounts the day in 1945 when a B-25 bomber flew into the Empire State Building.
  • Bob Dylan's Fender Stratocaster

    Clip

    7/17/12

    Is this the guitar that changed music? Two History Detectives dive into the provenance of a Fender Stratocaster that the owner claims was used by Bob Dylan at his legendary 1965 plugged-in performance at the Newport Folk Festival. Be sure to tune in to the History Detectives season premiere on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET.moreless
  • Beatles Autographs

    Clip

    7/17/12

    Two South Carolina brothers have a pair of Beatles autographs -- a menu signed by John Lennon and a publicity photo signed by Ringo Starr -- they collected in 1964, the year the Beatles first visited America. The brothers have cherished these autographs for years but aren'?t sure if they are real. Tukufu Zuberi takes on the challenge of determining whether these autographs are genuine or forged.moreless
  • Frank Zappaas Lost Collage

    Clip

    7/17/12

    A life-long art collector spotted a striking piece in a South Carolina thrift store, a graphic collage of percussion instruments, intrigued by the signature '?FZ.'? His research led him to an intriguing possibility: Rock and Roll legend Frank Zappa. Gwen Wright meets with friends and biographers of Zappa to see if she can find out whether Zappa made this collage.moreless
  • Ford Roadster

    Clip

    8/20/07

    Discover what has been Tukufu's favourite mystery after 10 seasons of History Detectives. Tukufu got the chance to drive a 1932 Ford Roadster in this investigation from Season five.
  • Gold Ship

    Clip

    9/6/04

    Discover Elyse's favourite investigation location after 10 seasons of History Detectives. This investigation from Season two took Elyse to Alaska to investigate a sunken Gold Ship.
  • Season 10 Preview

    Clip

    The History Detectives are back for a tenth season of fascinating investigations. They scour the country for clues and piece together the stories behind some intriguing historic finds: Bob Dylan'?s electric guitar that revolutionized Rock '?n Roll, a piece of the B-25 that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945, Clint Black'?s 1909 book of wanted posters and more.moreless
  • Web Extra: Clint Black

    Clip

    After History Detectives helped country star Clint Black investigate the mystery of his rogue book, he treated us to a special performance of The Code of the West. Watch the full performance here.moreless
  • Our Colored Heroes, Valley Forge Map, Transistor Radio, Club Continental Card

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 9 - 10/9/12

    What are the details behind the heroic acts pictured in a poster about two African-American soldiers in World War I? Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) helps find the answer. Then, is this a hand-drawn map of Valley Forge that George Washington used during the American Revolution? And does a Tucson man own one of the first transistor radios ever made? Finally, after 70 years, a Washington man wonders whether a business card ties his father to Prohibition-era underworld crime.moreless
  • Colored Heroes, Valley Forge Map and a Transistor Radio

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 8 - 10/9/12

    In this episode, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer helps us find the details behind the heroic acts pictured in a poster about two WWI African American soldiers. Then, do we have a hand-drawn map of Valley Forge that George Washington used during the American Revolution? Finally we investigate an early first transistor radios ever made and a business card'?s link to Prohibition-era underworld crime.moreless
  • Vietnam Diary, Bootleggeras Notebook and a Hollywood Ledger

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 6 - 10/2/12

    In this episode, can History Detectives return the diary of a fallen North Vietnamese soldier to that veteran'?s family? Then, a notebook full of recipes for large volumes of liquor makes an Indiana man wonder if his rich uncle was a Prohibition-era bootlegger. And what can an old ledger tell us about how Hollywood treated Native American actors?moreless
  • Titanic Frame, Nazi Spy Toys, Woolworth Sign

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 5 - 8/7/12

    HISTORY DETECTIVES steps into a family dispute: Was this picture frame crafted from the staircase banister of the Titanic, the Lusitania or neither? Then Tukufu Zuberi wonders whether Woolworth signs were part of the scene at the 1960 Winston-Salem lunch-counter sit-ins. For 70 years, toy soldiers have haunted their owner with a question: Was the father of his childhood friend a Nazi spy? Then, a journal full of liquor recipes makes another man wonder if his uncle was a prohibition bootlegger.moreless
  • Bird of War, Lincoln Oath and War Spoils of a Peace Chief

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 4 - 7/31/12

    In this episode we investigate an evocative symbol of a bird dropping a bomb. Did these patches belong to a World War II unit? Then, Gwen connects a swatch of tattered red fabric to a pivotal moment in U.S. Civil War history. And, did this neckpiece and these leggings once belong to Chief Black Kettle, long known as a Cheyenne Peace Chief? Finally, did President Lincoln actually sign this oath?moreless
  • Clint Black's Book of Rogues, B-52 Empire State Building

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 3 - 7/24/12

    We take a deeper look into Country Music singer Clint Black's Book of Rogues. Could this chunk of molten metal be part of the B-25 that crashed into the Empire State building?

  • K.K.K. Records, Civil War Pistols, James Jamerson

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 2 - 7/24/12

    Tukufu makes an intriguing discovery while researching a 1920s album by "All K.K.K. Records." Can we trace these Civil War era pistols to the family of the officer who purchased them? Did Motown great James Jamerson feed hisMy Girlbass line through this Ampeg Amp?

    moreless
  • Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Frank Zappa

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 1 - 7/17/12

    Season 10 of History Detectives takes on Rock 'n Roll. Is this the Bob Dylan guitar that changed rock music forever? Are these autographs from the Beatles' Miami concert? And, did Frank Zappa create this collage?

    moreless
  • Dylan Goes Electric, Beatles Autograph & Frank Zappa Collage

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 26 - 7/17/12

    In this episode, Elyse Luray and Wes Cowan investigate whether they have found the long-lost electric Fender Stratocaster Bob Dylan plugged in at the 65'? Newport Folk Festival. Tukufu Zuberi tracks down some treasured Beatles autographs allegedly signed for two brothers in Miami Beach. And Gwendolyn Wright investigates the little-known artistic side of musical iconoclast, Frank Zappa.moreless
  • Club Continental, St. V-Day Massacre, Society Circus Program

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 24 - 9/27/11

    Our Prohibition Era episode: Why does our contributor's father have a Club Continental business card? What did Fred Nicolls do for this glitzy LA underworld night club? Then was this shotgun used in the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre? And why was FDR on the celebrity list for this Society Circus benefit?moreless
  • Japanese Cane, Revolutionary Telescope & I.W. Baker's Gold Rush Hype

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 18 - 7/26/11

    In this episode, can the Japanese characters carved into this cane unlock the mystery of a family's past in a World War II relocation camp? Elyse Luray tries to trace an unusual wooden telescope to its Revolution-era ancestor. And Wes Cowan explores a story of California Gold Rush hype in the form of an unusual drawing.moreless
  • Top Secret Drone, Roosevelt's War Club & Clara Barton Letter

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 17 - 7/19/11

    In this episode, Elyse Luray investigates a propeller that may be from a WWII-era drone aircraft. Then, an inscribed, wooden club appears to be a gift to Teddy Roosevelt. Tukufu Zuberi find out who gave him this club, and why? And Eduardo Pagan follows the trail of a letter and learns about Clara Barton's humanitarian work during the Civil War.moreless
  • Civil War Letters, Aviation Fabric & Negro Romance Comic

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 16 - 7/12/11

    This episode fills in the moving story behind letters from a Civil War soldier to his brother and his desire to lead an African American unit. Then, Tukufu Zuberi sets out to identify the source of a piece of fabric with signatures of Charles Lindbergh and helicopter inventor Igor Sikorsky. Finally, did black artists create the 1950's comic book, Negro Romance?moreless
  • The Spear That Stoked the Civil War

    Clip

    7/5/11

    Wes Cowan looks into whether this antique spear weapon was part of abolitionist John Brown's notorious Harpers Ferry raid. Our contributor bought the spear, or pike, from an antique shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio where John Brown is known to have lived. Follow Wes on the trail to the blacksmith who forged the weapon over 150 years ago and the ground at Harpers Ferry where the battle took place.moreless
  • History Detectives

    Full Episode

    S 8 : Ep 5 - 7/19/10

    A four-inch square of fabric tells the story of one of America’s first barnstorming pilots.
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