Modern Marvels - Season 10

Wednesday 10:00 PM on The History Channel Premiered Jan 01, 1995 In Season


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Episode Guide

  • Guns of Infamy
    Guns of Infamy
    Episode 72

    The guns used in historical events get attention in this episode.

  • Engineering Disasters 5
    Examines some of the most notorious engineering failures of recent years and asks what went wrong and what we learned from them. We take viewers to the southern coast of Louisiana, where a misplaced oilrig caused an entire lake to be sucked into an underground salt mine; review the 1972 Buffalo Creek dam disaster; revisit the Exxon Valdez oil spill; see how radio and TV antenna towers collapse with alarming regularity; and look at the collision of two California icons--freeways and earthquakes!moreless
  • FBI's Crime Lab
    FBI's Crime Lab
    Episode 66
    Modern Marvels explores the expensive, high-tech facilities the FBI uses at Quantico.
  • Toys
    Episode 65
    All aboard the nostalgia express as we take a trip through the past to enjoy toys of our youth--the ones we can't forget and those that some of use never gave up! This is the real toy story! We take a look at five categories of boys' toys and see what relationship they have had on the development of young minds; talk with collectors of antique and specialty toys; and visit companies that make electric trains, Matchbox Cars, GI Joe action figures, and LEGO Bricks, among others.moreless
  • The Berlin Wall
    The Berlin Wall
    Episode 64
    During the Cold War, the Berlin Wall stood as a forbidding barrier in an embattled world. Erected in August 1961, the Wall system stretched 103 miles through and around Berlin, locking in 1.3-million people. 261 died trying to get over, under, around, and through it. We review the daunting devices within the Death Strip--one of the deadliest obstacle courses ever--and the ingenious ways people ran it. When the Wall fell with a thud in 1989, its pieces became souvenirs or were recycled for new roads.moreless
  • Egyptian Pyramids
    Episode 63
    Constructed as tombs for the ancient pharaohs, over 100 pyramids remain in Egypt. Built during a span of well over 1,000 years, they stand as cultural and engineering marvels of staggering proportions. But many things about these monuments, including the exact methods used to construct them, remain tantalizingly obscure. Travel back in time as we investigate their evolution--from the earlier mastaba to the Step Pyramid, Bent Pyramid, and of course, the magnificent necropolis at Giza.moreless
  • Technology Of Kitty Hawk
    Two brainy bicycle makers...a remote North Carolina moonscape...and an impossible dream. On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright took wing at Kitty Hawk and flew--as none before had--unraveling a complex problem that had defied history's most inventive minds, from Leonard da Vinci to Edison. How did these high-school dropouts from Dayton, Ohio do it? Experts at the controls of full-scale replicas explain how they worked--or didn't--and historians recount the brothers' heated arguments.moreless
  • Tailgating
    Episode 61
    At stadiums nationwide, thousands of football fans come together to show team spirit, eat incredible food, and join the community of tailgating. We journey around the U.S. to legendary tailgating colleges like Penn State, the University of Miami, and Louisiana State University, and visit the home-team parking lots of the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles. We taste the food, revel with spectators, and reveal the evolution of tailgating--from horse and buggy to tricked-out RV.moreless
  • Extreme Gadgets
    Extreme Gadgets
    Episode 60
    Join us for an exploration of the technological innovations that have made extreme sports a reality. The world's best extreme athletes, designers, manufacturers, and engineers explain and demonstrate why the gadgets, gear, and technology of these sports have captured the public's imagination and revolutionized the sporting industry. Sports covered include surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, in-line skating, street luge, wakeboarding, sport climbing, BMX biking, and sky surfing.moreless
  • The Technology of Lewis and Clark
    Planning, craftsmanship, improvisation and sheer determination contribute to the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • ET Tech
    ET Tech
    Episode 58
    In 2003, with Mars closer to Earth than it had been in 60,000 years, scientists launched three life-seeking planetary landers. If the long journeys prove successful, all should be hard at work on the Red Planet's surface by January 2004. NASA's Spirit and Opportunity and the European Space Agency's Beagle 2 represent the pinnacle in the history of the search for extraterrestrial life. Leading scientists, who believe life may exist beyond Earth, explain skepticism about ETs having visited Earth.moreless
  • Extreme Trucks
    Episode 57
    Hop into the cab for the ride of your life as we examine extreme trucks, including: a jet truck that can travel 300 mph; the Baltimore Technical Assistance Response Unit's mobile command truck; a garbage truck with an articulated arm; a concrete pumper truck with telescoping boom and pumping mechanism; and a 4-wheel-drive truck that can convert from mower to street sweeper to backhoe to snow blower in mere minutes. Learn how SWAT, bomb squad, HAZMAT, and crime scene specialty trucks are built.moreless
  • Shipyards
    Episode 56
    Shipyards are waterside construction sites where some of the largest tools ever built help create the biggest machines on earth.
  • PT Boat
    PT Boat
    Episode 56
    Pound for pound, the Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats were WWII's most heavily armed fighting boats. Screwed and glued together on a hull made of wood, these 50 tons of fast fighting fury were hated by the Japanese who nicknamed them "The Devil Boats of the Night". With their three powerful marine engines and speedboat designs, they took on the enemy at close quarters with greater frequency than any other type of surface craft--from firefights with coastal barges to protecting the invasion fleet at D-Day. And they attacked the enemy from the freezing seas of the Aleutian Islands to the treacherous waters of the South Pacific. Using unique archive film, reenactments, and extraordinary interviews, here is the story of how this wooden wonder struggled for early recognition, but through the brilliance of its design, daring of its missions, and courage and sacrifice of its crews would play a major part in WWII.moreless
  • Inviting Disaster 4
    Inviting Disaster 4
    Episode 55
    Based on the popular book, this episode explores historical building collapses--from ancient pyramids to the Cathedral at Beauvais to Kansas City's Hyatt Regency--and demonstrates that clear warning signs often existed, but were ignored. We also examine the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York. Author Jim Chiles believes that designers and engineers must better prepare for all potential disasters--by understanding existing risks, they can prepare for the unknown, like terrorism.moreless
  • Inviting Disaster 3
    Inviting Disaster 3
    Episode 54
    No program better symbolizes human mastery of machines than does the space shuttle. But the breakups of Challenger and Columbia revealed the program is tragically flawed. Based on the James Chiles's book Inviting Disaster, we look at the 1930 crash of the R-101, a dirigible which, much like Challenger, was rushed into flight and met with disaster, and the Hindenburg, whose 1937 explosion ended dreams of commercial flights for an entire industry. Will the shuttle program go the way of the dirigible?moreless
  • Inviting Disaster 2
    Inviting Disaster 2
    Episode 53
    The amazing machines of human invention most often do our bidding with uncomplaining proficiency. But when they go wrong, they exact a terrible wage. In August 2000, the Russian submarine Kursk glided through the depths of the Arctic Sea. But the demands of the Cold War had planted the seeds of disaster in this great ship--118 men would pay with their lives. Their deaths would bring about an enormous step forward in Russia's evolving democracy. Based on James Chiles's book Inviting Disaster.moreless
  • Panzers
    Episode 52
    German tanks revolutionized military doctrine. Their speed and tactical usage, backed up by the Luftwaffe, helped create the Blitzkrieg (lightning war) that stormed over Europe and dominated battlefields.
  • The Luftwaffe
    The Luftwaffe
    Episode 51
    Goering's well-trained fliers fill enemy pilots with dread.
  • Inviting Disaster #1
    They make our lives more comfortable, more rewarding, and more secure. They are the magical machines that have brought us to the edge of the new frontier of limitless possibilities. But it is a hinterland filled with dangers and demons of our own creation. Based on the popular book Inviting Disaster by James Chiles, in this episode we explore the nuclear nightmares of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.moreless
  • 10/15/03
    In the land of Mardi Gras, jambalaya, and zydeco, exits an engineering marvel called the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway that seems to go on forever. Two ribbons of concrete span the largest inland body of water in Louisiana, and at nearly 23.87 and 23.88 miles long, these two spans form the world's longest automobile bridge. At midpoint--12 miles out--water surrounds travelers who are unable to see either shoreline. The bridge is so long, it actually transverses 1/1000th of the earth's circumference!moreless
  • Smart Bombs
    Smart Bombs
    Episode 48
    Precision-guided munitions, smart bombs were the media buzz of the first Gulf War and a major military and political driving force of the second. But their apparent sudden celebrity is deceptive. The history of smart bombs goes back to World War I and includes an ingenious, if eccentric, group of inventions and a cast of characters that boasts a Kennedy and a president of General Motors. Join us for the underground history of smart bombs, and a glimpse into the future of precision weapons.moreless
  • Machu Picchu
    Machu Picchu
    Episode 47
    The engineering marvel Machu Picchu sits perched on a ridge in the Peruvian Andes. Originally built by the Incas, this magnificent structure remains a mystery. Was it an observatory? Pleasure retreat? Fortress? This program presents the most current theories.
  • Terror Tech: Civilian
    Inventors create cutting-edge technology to keep civilians safe.
  • Overseas Highway
    Overseas Highway
    Episode 45
    A spectacular roadway nearly 120 miles long, the Overseas Highway links mainland Florida with the Florida Keys, and contains 51 bridges, including the Seven-Mile Bridge. A boat was the only mode of travel from Miami to Key West until oil tycoon Henry Flagler completed his railroad line in 1912. After a 1935 hurricane destroyed 40 miles of track, the scenic highway was built using Flagler's bridges. A $175-million refurbishment that ended in 1982 resulted in today's remarkable Overseas Highway.moreless
  • Space Shuttle Columbia
    Combination rocket, spacecraft, and airplane, the space shuttle is the most complex vehicle ever built. Long before it ever flew, the shuttle was nearly scuttled due to political pressures, technological challenges, and cost overruns. The program not only overcame these challenges, but opened space to an international community of scientists, explorers, and dreamers. This is the story of the Columbia, the first shuttle to fly outer space, from inception to tragic demise in January 2003.moreless
  • Landmines
    Episode 43
    A major battlefield weapon since the American Civil War and the stuff of nightmares ever since, the civilian toll from landmines remains immense. Inflicted by an enemy that can't be seen, landmines are littered throughout 64 countries, making life a game of Russian roulette for two-thirds of the world's poorest nations. Featuring an interview with Jerry White, co-founder of Landmine Survivor's Network, who lost a leg due to a landmine in Israel.moreless
  • Metal
    Episode 42
    They constitute the very essence of the modern world; the cadence of our progress sounds in the measured ring of the blacksmith's hammer. From soaring skyscrapers and sturdy bridges to jet planes and rockets, metals play a key role. Our journey begins before the Bronze Age and takes us into the shiny future when new metal structures--engineered at a molecular level to be stronger, lighter, and cheaper--shape human progress, as they have since man first thrust copper into a fire and forged a tool.moreless
  • Aircraft Carrier
    Aircraft Carrier
    Episode 41
    U.S. aircraft carriers did not sink under the barrage of kamikaze assaults.
  • Bullets
    Episode 40
    From "safe" bullets that stop hijackers but leave aircraft unscathed to bullets that chain-saw through steel and "smart" bullets computer-programmed to hit a target, this explosive hour examines the evolution of bullets from origin in the 1300s--stones and round lead balls shot from iron and bamboo tubes. Lead balls ruled until 1841 when a conical-shaped bullet changed ammo forever. We learn how to construct a modern cartridge, and at pistol and rifle ranges view demonstrations of modern firepower.moreless
  • 8/12/03
    New technology counters the threat of terrorism.
  • Police Guns
    Police Guns
    Episode 38
    Police represent a thin blue line protecting ordinary citizens from hardened criminals. We'll look at the vast array of weapons that police officers across America have wielded for over 150 years in their endless fight to maintain law and order.
  • Military Movers
    Military Movers
    Episode 37
    Military planners move millions of soldiers and tons of cargo halfway around the world and into the thick of action.
  • Nature Tech: Tornadoes
    Meteorologists track and study tornadoes.
  • Terror Tech: Military
    There is a new technological race afoot, and the goal is to protect against terror attacks. While countless devices are aimed at the consumer market, the military is also, and obviously, a major player in this field, commissioning a host of new technologies and machines to detect imminent attacks and protect soldiers and first responders from the nearly limitless array of threats they may face.moreless
  • Nature Tech: Tsunamis

    Tsunamis are analyzed.

  • Loading Docks
    Loading Docks
    Episode 34
    Loading docks serve as the connecting point between products coming from the factory to reaching store shelves.
  • Convertibles
    Episode 33
    Topless, unobstructed--the convertible completely transforms the driving experience and unlike any other car, sets the driver free. During this face-paced hour, experts highlight the history of the world's most dynamic car design and the essential quality that makes it so unique. From the very first convertible design in 1915 to modern-day marvels of retractable hardtops, we peer under the hoods to see why the convertible remains the car that everybody wants, but only a few are bold enough to own.moreless
  • Car Crashes
    Car Crashes
    Episode 32
    In the mid-1960s, the US lost an average of 55,000 people yearly to car crashes. Since then, the number of cars on the road has doubled, but fatalities have decreased by nearly a third. The dramatic reduction is the culmination of research and development that led to safer roads and cars and quicker emergency response. But car-crash technology's future involves removal of its biggest threat--human drivers! Find out if computers and radar can prevent everything from fender-benders to pile-ups.moreless
  • 4x4
    Episode 31
    In this full-immersion journey through the world of maximum off-roading, learn what it's like to blow the carbon out of your system as we trace the history of the four-wheel drive vehicle. From the annual Baja 1000-mile race to the Paris-to-Dakar rally, off-roading has become an international sport for motorized thrill seekers. Drive along in your Jeep, dune buggy, Hummer, or SUV for this high-adrenaline, fun-filled romp as we see why 4x4s go where no one has gone before!moreless
  • 7/16/03
    For decades, the sound barrier loomed as an impenetrable wall against manned flight that buffeted planes with shock waves as they approached the speed of sound. Scientists thought the barrier couldn't be breached--until the development of jet technology and rocket fuel at the end of WWII. This is the dramatic story, told through the eyes of many who were there, of the work leading up to October 10, 1947, when 24-year-old test pilot Chuck Yeager smashed through the sound barrier in a Bell XS-1 aircraft.moreless
  • Logging Tech
    Logging Tech
    Episode 29
    When Paul Bunyan cried "Timber!", he never foresaw today's cutting-edge, controversial industry that feeds a ravenous, lumber-crazy world--a world striving to protect nature while devouring it. Come into the woods to see how he-men and hi-tech combine forces to topple 4-billion trees annually; journey to 19th-century America, when lumberjacks cut a legend as large as the timber they felled; and travel with a tree from stump to sawmill and learn its non-wood uses--from aspirin to film to toothpaste!moreless
  • Nature Tech: Tsunamis
    Large-scale displacement of seabed sediment causes giant water walls.
  • The Exterminator
    The Exterminator
    Episode 27
    The exterminator is man's last defense against pesky critters and creepy crawlers. Modern Marvels traces the history of this noble occupation, from its humble beginnings, to its importance during the Black Plague all the way to today's high-tech…
  • Engineering Disasters 4
    Engineering disasters can result in personal tragedy, national humiliation, and economic ruin. But buried within their wreckage lie lessons that point the way to a safer future. The fire at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel, the collapse of Seattle's Lacey V. Murrow Floating Bridge, the car that spurred creation of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the flaw that grounded the first commercial jet are among the engineering disasters that led to improvements in design and safety.moreless
  • More Engineering Disasters
    Throughout history the same builders and engineers that paved man's path out of the caves and into the modern world also caused some of mankind's worst disasters. Often a huge calamity is traced back to a tiny cause, insignificant in itself, but triggering a domino effect. We'll revisit notable disasters and search for probable causes.moreless
  • Gunslingers
    Episode 25
    During America's western expansion, a new breed of man arose--the gunslinger. Sometimes he wore a badge, sometimes he was an outlaw. But he always had a gun at his side, and the urge to step to the edge and pull the trigger. Wild Bill Hickok, Jesse James, Wyatt Earp--see how, the weapons these men carried, etched the gunmen's existence into American history.moreless
  • Distilleries
    Episode 24
    From water and mash...still...vat...barrel and bottle--the distilling of alcoholic spirits is a big business and near-sacred religion. Its acolytes eye the color, swirl the glass, inhale the bouquet, sip, then ponder their ambrosia. What's your pleasure? Bourbon, Scotch, Rum, Gin, Vodka, or Tequila? We trace the history of distilling from the one-man/one-still tradition to the Voldstead Act of 1920 that devastated American distilleries to the mega-sales and high-volume distillery of today.moreless
  • Dangerous Cargo
    Episode 24
    Toxic traffic is everywhere! An average of 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials hit our highways and railways daily. From Wild West wooden crates filled with explosives to HAZMAT containers of nuclear waste, we shadow dangerous cargo. We ride shotgun on a hazardous material shipment that's tracked by satellites; hunt down the hush-hush "ghost fleet"--trucks carrying classified government materials; and board a Con-Air flight moving another kind of nasty stuff--dangerous felons!moreless
  • High Voltage
    High Voltage
    Episode 23
    Look closely at those tall metal towers that span the country and you might see tiny specks climbing up the soaring steel like spiders on an enormous web. Meet the courageous linemen who erect, string, and repair 250-foot high electrical transmission towers, working with energized power lines that can carry up to 765,000 volts!moreless
  • Exterminator
    Episode 22
    They have been here for longer than us, and there are many, many more of them. They buzz, skitter and fly, chew, gnaw and occasionally draw blood. Lumped under the broad category of pests and vermin, they are one of the constant enemies in man's battle to maintain dominion over house and home. And the strongest weapon we have is THE EXTERMINATOR. MODERN MARVELS® traces the evolution from the simple pest-control measures employed by ancient farmers to the high-tech arsenal of poisons, baits and traps deployed by the "Orkin Man" and his colleagues today. This inside look at the multi-billion dollar pest-control industry includes flights with mosquito exterminators in Florida, ride-alongs with cockroach killers in Los Angeles (the city where these prehistoric survival specialists pose the greatest problem), and an inside look at how the New York City Department of Health attempts to contain the rats that outnumber the city's 8 million human residents. The weapons in this war have become increasingly high tech, and the foot soldier--the exterminator--has become ever more sophisticated and ecologically aware.moreless
  • Torture Devices
    Torture Devices
    Episode 21
    For more than 3,000 years, emperors and generals, dictators and police, criminals, clerics, and even medical doctors have created and used a vast array of torture devices--everything from the ancient Greeks' Brazen Bull, which slowly barbecued the victim, to the elaborate mechanical apparatuses of the Spanish Inquisition. A medical doctor who specializes in victims of torture reveals how the human body responds to their use--from the earliest excruciating contrivances to the more modern.moreless
  • Harley-Davidson
    Episode 20
    A while back, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy--today, there are Harley restaurants, a clothing line, even a Harley Barbie! Examine this American success story that began in 1903 when four men--the Davidsons and William Harley--launched a motorcycle marketing wonder from a Milwaukee shed.
  • Tank Crews
    Tank Crews
    Episode 19
    During WWII, American tank crews duked it out with Nazi Panzers in a high-explosive duel to the death. The German tanks had thicker armor and better guns than the mainstay of the U.S. armored forces, the M-4 Sherman. For many crewmen, the Sherman lived up to its nickname as a steel coffin. But what the tanks lacked in firepower and protection, the crews made up for in guts and good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity. We'll meet some of these armored warriors from WWII.moreless
  • T-34: Russian Victory
    Stalin enlists the ideas of an American engineer to develop one of the most formidable tanks in history.
  • MiG 15
    MiG 15
    Episode 17
    The MiG 15 was one of the 20th century's most feared high-performance weapons. When it first appeared in 1950, its high speed, lightning maneuverability, and intense firepower outclassed everything in the sky. During the Korean War, when Soviet MiGs engaged with America's F 86 Sabre jets, they finally met their match and a new era in air warfare had begun. Features exclusive interviews with MiG fighter pilots who flew against US pilots and the nephew of the founder of the MiG Design Bureau.moreless
  • Secrets of the Acropolis
    With the aid of 3-D animation, Modern Marvels explores the history and the construction of the Acropolis.
  • U.S. Guns of World War II
    An examination of the weapons that battled through surf and snow, dense jungle and choking dust...the guns of the American GI. Though WWII introduced instruments that pierced the dark and weapons that released the power of the atom, the infantryman's guns were designed decades before--but in dependability they were unequaled.
  • Ball Turret Gunners
    Ball Turret Gunners
    Episode 15
    In war, certain missions demand the most and constitute much of the legends of bravery. Journey back to the Second World War when fearless airmen manned the B-17's belly guns--glass bubbles that at any moment could become their coffin. The ball turret gunners called their work "flying the ball", others called it crazy!moreless
  • Machine Guns
    Machine Guns
    Episode 14
    A machine gun puts the power of 20 men into the hands of one. We review the history of the machine gun from the first Gatlings in the Civil War to today's high-speed automatic rifles.
  • Coal Mines
    Coal Mines
    Episode 13
    Coal--the fuel responsible for more than half the electricity used daily. We unearth the amazing technological advances that have led to today's extremely efficient methods--from ancient techniques to the simplistic bell-pit method, from drift mining, surface mining, and strip mining to modern longwall mining, when a massive machine extracts an entire wall of coal in seconds. We go underground with miners in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming, and also address environmental concerns.moreless
  • Titanic Tech
    Titanic Tech
    Episode 12
    Welcome aboard the luxury liner Titanic, the world's largest ship and pride of the White Star Line. Watertight compartments and a steel-plated hull render it all but unsinkable. Nearly every technological breakthrough of the previous 50 years is employed onboard, providing comfort and safety for passengers and crew. But none of this will matter on April 15, 1912, when the ship bears down on an iceberg on her maiden voyage, sinking within hours with more than 1,500 lives lost. Learn the details of her construction and how the achievements of technology may have masked her vulnerabilities.moreless
  • Black Hawk: Night Stalker
    The Black Hawk remains the world's most advanced twin-turbine military helicopter.
  • 3/18/03
    Made up of soldiers and civilians, scientists and specialists in an enormous variety of fields, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was created over 200 years ago by Congressional mandate to respond, in peace and war, to the nation's engineering needs. The world's premier engineering and research and development agency, the Corps has blown up, excavated, grated, dredged, and remolded the shape of our continent as we pushed to expand the nation and harness the forces of nature!moreless
  • Non-Lethal Weapons
    Non-Lethal Weapons
    Episode 9
    They stun, debilitate, immobilize--providing police and peacekeepers with options other than shouting or shooting. From the ancient caltrop--a multi-pointed contraption hurled by foot soldiers into a horseman's path--to sting-ball grenades, electrical shock devices, and sound, light, and energy weapons, we examine non-lethal weapons that disperse crowds and take down criminals. And in a whiff of the future, we see why the government thinks stink bombs might prove useful in the war against terror.moreless
  • Bullet Trains
    Bullet Trains
    Episode 8
    Traveling between 135 and 190 miles per hour with an astonishingly high safety record, bullet trains can be found throughout Europe, Japan, and on the U.S. eastern seaboard. How high-speed trains are propelled is rooted in fundamentals that haven't changed since the first electric trolleys appeared in the 19th century. We see how scientists are looking at new alternatives to electricity, including magnetic levitation that can move passenger trains 345 miles per hour and beyond!moreless
  • Mackinac Bridge
    Mackinac Bridge
    Episode 7
    Until recently, the Mackinac Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. One of the top engineering marvels of the 20th century, the bridge spans the 4-mile wide straits of Mackinac, where Lakes Huron and Michigan come together. The Mighty Mac connects the pastoral northern mainland of Michigan with the state's heavily forested Upper Peninsula and stands as a testament to the dreams, determination, and hard work of a small few who created a true masterpiece of modern engineering.moreless
  • Twin Towers of the East
    Rising almost 1,500 feet high, the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia were named the world's tallest in 1996 by the Council on Tall Buildings. Connecticut architect Cesar Pelli blended traditional Islamic motifs with the modern skyscraper to create a beacon to the new Asia. Join us as we tour this gateway to the East, an engineering marvel involving experts from around the globe and the determination of Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad to transform his country into a 21st-century power.moreless
  • Alcan Highway
    Alcan Highway
    Episode 5
    In the world of road making, THE ALCAN HIGHWAY is a feat worthy of comparison to the legendary byways of ancient Rome. Stretching 1,500 miles from British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska, the Alcan traverses incredibly difficult and hostile territory, crossing the Canadian Rockies, raging rivers and dense forest. Remarkably, it was built in just eight months. MODERN MARVELS® ventures back to the uncertain days of World War II to tell the story of the Alcan's construction. Fearing a Japanese invasion of Alaska, the military brass decreed that a better connection between the remote territory and the lower 48 states was essential, and the Alcan was the solution. Through the recollections of workmen and extensive photos and footage taken all along the route, THE ALCAN HIGHWAY documents how 11,000 soldiers--nearly 4,000 of them black--bulldozed their way into engineering history.moreless
  • Booby Traps
    Episode 4
    All it takes to set off a booby trap is an unsuspecting victim lifting, moving, or disturbing a harmless-looking object. Booby traps continue to worry law enforcement; made from easily acquired items, information detailing their construction and needed materials are accessible through the mail--anonymously! And unlike a land mine, they can be anywhere. We detail the history of booby traps--from the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Greek, and Romans to the Middle Eastern crisis and the War on Terrorism.moreless
  • Ice Road Truckers
    Ice Road Truckers
    Episode 3
    During the harsh winter of Canada's Northwest Territory, remote villages and work camps are cut off from the world. To keep them supplied, a tenacious group of long-haul truckers drive their rigs over hundreds of miles on ice roads cut across the surface of frozen lakes. Sometimes the ice cannot support the heavy rig, and driver and cargo plunge through the ice and sink to the bottom. Hitch a risky ride along with the Ice Road Truckers as they drive headlong into bone-chilling danger.moreless
  • Castles & Dungeons
    Castles & Dungeons
    Episode 2
    Some of the most imposing structures ever built, medieval castles withstood both bloody assaults and the test of time. Designed like machines with nearly every architectural detail devoted to defense, castles represented the perfect fusion of form and function. Journey back to that unruly era as we examine the complexity of their construction and the multipurposes they served--homes to kings and nobles, economic centers, courthouses, treasuries, prisons, and torture chambers.moreless
  • Trans-Siberian Railroad
    It's the longest, most expensive and complicated railroad ever built. Ordered by the Tsar in an effort to save his empire and unify his country at the twilight of the 19th century, the Trans-Siberian Railroad nearly tore Russia apart. Intended in part for defense, the railroad provoked a war, crossed great lengths over treacherous terrain, and encountered logistical and economic failures. Ironically, "enemies of the state" built the railroad--men sentenced to hard labor in Siberian prisons.moreless