Modern Marvels

Season 1 Episode 4

Mount Rushmore

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Feb 11, 1996 on The History Channel
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Episode Summary

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
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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • 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.

    • 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

    • ALLUSIONS (0)