Program Topics Index
2. GODS AND MONSTERS This program explores some of the world’s great myths with a focus on the gods and heroes who create or fight remarkable foes, both natural and invented. Whirlpools, dragons, and towering beasts are among the many challenges that humans and deities must overcome. Because these myths have become the basis for the archetypes of literature, art, and psychology, their importance to modern culture is immeasurable.
3. WILLA CATHER Willa Cather is best known for her novels of life on the Great Plains, including O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia, and in 1923, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her World War One novel, One of Ours. Cather and her family moved from Virginia to Nebraska when she was nine years old, eventually settling in the town of Red Cloud. At the age of 33, she moved to New York City, her primary home for the rest of her life. Yet it was those early years in the Great Plains that haunted her writing and she achieved recognition as a novelist of the frontier and pioneer experience. She focused on the spirit of those settlers moving into the western states, many of them European immigrants in the nineteenth century. This program looks at her writing as well as the importance of her 39-year relationship with Edith Lewis, the woman with whom--not for whom--Cather was able to create her greatest works.
4. SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: MORE THAN SHERLOCK Conan Doyle was not only a superb writer but also a prominent physician as well. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson, all considered milestones in crime fiction. But Doyle was a prolific writer and created many other wonderful characters; his works include fantasy and science fiction stories about Professor Challenger and humorous stories about the Napoleonic soldier Brigadier Gerard, as well as plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, and historical novels. This program goes beyond Sherlock and introduces you to equally striking works of fiction.
5. TRUMAN CAPOTE When Truman Capote passed away in August of 1984 he left behind an enduring--and sometimes controversial--legacy of fiction and non-fiction novels, short stories, and journal pieces. This program delves into both the light and shadows of one of America’s greatest writers.
6. RUTH BADER GINSBURG: PROFILE IN COURAGE Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ginsburg was a brilliant jurist who spent much of her legal career as an advocate for gender equality and women's rights, winning many arguments before the Supreme Court. As a member of the Court, Ginsburg received attention in American popular culture for her passionate dissents in numerous cases, widely seen as reflecting liberal views of the law. She was dubbed "The Notorious R.B.G.", and she later embraced the moniker. By the time she died in September of 2020, she was truly a household name. This program reflects on her life and on several of the landmark cases she was involved with and is meant to be an homage to one of the great judges of the past century.
7. JOHN SINGER SARGENT: PORTRAIT MAKER An American who spent most of his life in Europe, a portraitist who painted landscapes, a family man who never married, and an accomplished pianist who often entertained his sitters, John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was one of the most influential portrait painters of his time, but he is also an enigma. Despite his huge body of work--900 oil paintings, more than 2,000 watercolors and a vast number of sketches and charcoal drawings--we know little about Sargent the man. Truly international, he was acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, and was close friends with many of the leading artists, writers, actors, and musicians of his generation.
8. BIRDS: DINOSAURS AMONG US! Look up. See that bird? Guess what? It’s really a dinosaur! And have you seen recent pictures of a T-Rex or a Raptor lately? Yes, there they are: Some of the most savage killing machines Nature ever produced--covered with feathers! This program will take us on a journey through time to show how some of the great theropods (dinosaurs that walked on their hind legs) not only possessed feathers, but survived the great asteroid extinction of 65 million years ago and evolved into modern birds. We’ll explore the latest scientific research and discoveries along with photos and artist’s renderings of amazing ancient creatures that have become our airborne companions today. From their “fuzzy” beginnings over 200 million years ago to the ten thousand species that we see around us, the evolution of birds is one of the most fascinating stories in all of science. You’ll never look at a fossil, a picture of a dinosaur, or a modern bird in quite the same way again--not to mention your next turkey or chicken dinner. Who knew KFC was really serving dinosaurs!
9. GRIM(M) TALES For over two hundred years, the remarkable stories of the Brothers Grimm have fascinated and sometimes terrified us. Between 1812 and 1857, seven editions of their often dark-hued folk tales--200 stories and 11 legends--found their way into the Western consciousness. This presentation first defines what a folk tale is and then explores the meticulous research that Jacob and Wilhelm undertook to accomplish their goal of collecting significant stories from around Europe; their accomplishments have created the great archetypes for much modern literature, sociology, and psychology.
10. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD AND WILLIAM STILL This program provides an overview of the Underground Railroad with a special spotlight on William Still. Often called "The Father of the Underground Railroad," Still helped as many as 800 slaves escape to freedom during the Civil War era. He interviewed each person and kept careful records, including a brief biography and the destination for each, along with any alias adopted. He kept his records carefully hidden but knew the accounts would be critical in aiding the future reunion of family members who became separated under slavery, which he had learned when he aided his own brother Peter, whom he had previously never met before. Still worked with other Underground Railroad agents operating in the South and in many counties in southern Pennsylvania. His network to freedom also included agents in New Jersey, New York, New England and Canada. Conductor Harriet Tubman traveled through his office with fellow passengers on several occasions during the 1850s and Still forged a connection with the family of John Brown. After the Civil War, Still published his authoritative account, The Underground Railroad Records (1872), based on the secret notes he had kept in diaries during those years. His book has been integral to the history of these years, as he carefully recorded many details of the workings of the Underground Railroad. It went through three editions and in 1876 was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition.
11. CLEOPATRA: LIBERATED WOMAN This program explores the life of one of history’s most misunderstood women: Cleopatra. She married and buried 2 of her brothers, captivated 2 of the most powerful men of her time only to bury them also, and—famously—took her own life at the age of 39 with the help of an asp. A highly educated queen who took the throne at age 18, she outwitted her 10-year-old brother-husband's advisors and seduced the 52-year-old Julius Caesar by rolling herself up in a carpet and having herself delivered to his room—all before age 21. She was, simply put, the most powerful woman of her time— known for her liaisons, her masterful political skills, and for her role as mother to four. Painted by the Romans as an evil seductress, Cleopatra has more recently found redemption a couple millennia later from historians with a slightly different perception.
12. BLACK SCIENTISTS WE SHOULD KNOW Come celebrate African-American scientists whose work revolutionized the world in which we live. From Benjamin Banneker’s clocks and irrigation systems in the late 18th century to the calculations for the trajectories of space flights by Katherine Johnson in the mid-20th century, this program explores some of the accomplishments of ten remarkable men and women who should be household names. Biologist Ernest Just, the 23-year-old Alice Ball who developed a treatment for leprosy, Gladys West who created GPS systems, and Mae Jemison who was the first American Black woman in space are among the other scientists we meet.
13. AFRICAN AMERICANS IN SPACE This program introduces us to some of the remarkable African Americans who’ve helped shape America’s space program and who’ve introduced millions to the wonders of the Universe. For those who have read books like RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS or seen films like HIDDEN FIGURES, you’re well aware of the group of African-American women who helped to make the Space Race of the 1960’s and the Space Program today the success that it was and is. And if you watch science programs on television, you surely have encountered astronomers like Neil deGrasse Tyson. This PowerPoint presentation examines the lives of these trailblazers, including scientists Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan as well as astronauts Mae Jemison and Ronald McNair. Who are these adventurous women and women--and how did some of them help launch NASA into the Civil Rights revolution and into our burgeoning era of Lunar and Martian exploration?
14. TONI MORRISON Explore the life and legacy of Toni Morrison, whose best-selling work examined racial and gender identity in America — particularly the often-crushing experience of black women — through incandescent prose resembling that of no other writer in English. She was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature and the author of 11 novels as well as 5 children’s books (written with her son Slade) and several essay collections. In these turbulent times, her work is essential reading.
15. LANGSTON HUGHES AND THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE In this program, we explore the contributions of Langston Hughes, one of the most visible writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes work ranged from novels to plays. He also wrote short stories, children’s books, translations, and anthologies as well. However, his most widely appreciated pieces were his poems. After dropping out of Columbia University in 1922, he began to spend every waking moment in Harlem, supporting himself on odd jobs and writing. His writing reflected the idea that black culture should be celebrated because of its value to the fabric of America and the world. He advocated these beliefs in many of his most famous poems, including “I, Too, Sing America,” “Let America be America Again,” and “Hold Fast to Dreams.” Today, Hughes is recognized as one of the towering figures of American Literature whose accessible poetry challenges us to explore the power of diversity to create unity.
16. MARTIN LUTHER KING: THE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW Every third Monday in January, the nation pauses to remember the life and legacy of Martin Luther King. This PowerPoint presentation explores his life as well as over a dozen different facts that you may not have known about this iconic figure that help fill in the picture we have of this complex human being. For example, did you know: Besides George Washington, King is the only American-born individual to have a national holiday celebrated in his honor--a holiday fraught with controversy in many circles; that the precocious King entered Morehouse College at age 15 where he studied sociology--ordained ministry was an afterthought; or that six years before his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, the 28-year old King gave a rousing speech at the Lincoln Memorial about voting rights for Blacks that put him in the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement. Here’s a chance to delve a little deeper into the man and his legacy--and to see why his story is still so meaningful and relevant to our own lives today.
17. AND STILL WE RISE (Part 1): HARRIET TUBMAN Two Black women--one from upstate New York, one from rural Maryland--helped to reshape America. Today, as we again deal with ongoing bigotry, prejudice, and racial divides in our nation, the personal stories of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth inspire us to tap into our “better selves.” The women only met later in life, but beforehand, their often parallel lives became an inspiration and a firebrand. Tubman, born Araminta Ross, often referred to as the "Black Moses" of the Underground Railroad, dedicated her life to creating safe passages for slaves to escape to freedom and Truth, born Isabella Baumfree, worked to abolish slavery, promote equal rights for women, and eradicate the use of alcohol among men and women. Both women rose from the shadows of slavery to prominent roles of leadership, had deep and abiding faiths in a higher power to guide and protect them, recognized the power of music as a means of communication, and believed in, and acted on, their premonitions. This PowerPoint presentation delves into the lives and impact of Tubman and Truth--and the need to embrace their stories in our troubled times.
18. AND STILL WE RISE (Part 2): SOJOURNER TRUTH Two Black women--one from upstate New York, one from rural Maryland--helped to reshape America. Today, as we again deal with ongoing bigotry, prejudice, and racial divides in our nation, the personal stories of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth inspire us to tap into our “better selves.” The women only met later in life, but beforehand, their often parallel lives became an inspiration and a firebrand. Tubman, born Araminta Ross, often referred to as the "Black Moses" of the Underground Railroad, dedicated her life to creating safe passages for slaves to escape to freedom and Truth, born Isabella Baumfree, worked to abolish slavery, promote equal rights for women, and eradicate the use of alcohol among men and women. Both women rose from the shadows of slavery to prominent roles of leadership, had deep and abiding faiths in a higher power to guide and protect them, recognized the power of music as a means of communication, and believed in, and acted on, their premonitions. This PowerPoint presentation delves into the lives and impact of Tubman and Truth--and the need to embrace their stories in our troubled times. 19. BAYARD RUSTIN: A SHADOW WORLD This is the story of Bayard Rustin, a close advisor to Martin Luther King and, though unknown to many, one of the most influential and effective organizers of the civil rights movement. Rustin organized and led a number of protests in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, including the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. While Rustin’s homosexuality and former affiliation with the Communist Party often forced him to live in the shadows, King and others recognized the importance of Rustin’s skills and dedication to the movement. Today, this unsung hero is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
20. MARY ANNING: FOSSIL HUNTER Born in England in 1799, Mary Anning became a fossil hunter in her youth, discovering several important fossils off the cliffs of her native Dorset that would change the course of paleontology and would lay the foundation for Darwin's theory of evolution. Many scientists throughout Europe and America sought her consultation about prehistoric anatomy, but because she was female, she was neither allowed to pursue a career in science nor eligible to join the Geological Society of London. After more than a century of obscurity, Anning is finally being recognized for her amazing contribution
21. THE COURAGE TO BE FRIDA KAHLO Today, Frida Kahlo is recognized as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, an innovator who blended the mythic, the surreal, and autobiography into a new kind of expression. This program provides a brief overlook of her tempestuous often traumatic life and a more extensive dive into a half dozen of her most important works, pieces that help reveal why Frida Kahlo was--and remains--a truly courageous woman.
22. THE HUMAN JOURNEY: SEX IN THE STONE AGE [OUR HYBRID DNA] In 2012, geneticists made yet another remarkable discovery. Not only do many modern humans possess anywhere from 2 to 4 percent Neanderthal DNA, whole groups also bear the DNA of at least one other species, the Denisovans. A fragment of a pinky bone and a tooth twice the size of today’s average molar are the only remnants of a species of humans that we know lived thousands of centuries ago at the same time and place as Homo sapiens—and interbred with them. They are a part of us that we never knew existed. What did these fellow humans look like? And how do they fit into what we thought we knew about our biological development as a species. This program explores the long and winding road that leads to our being the only species of human out of at least thirty that is still standing—and helps explain why every one of us has a remnant of DNA from some of those other species still flowing in our blood.
23. THE HUMAN JOURNEY: MIGRATION [OH, THE PLACES WE’VE BEEN] When we Homo sapiens made our first appearance on the African plains around 200-thousand years ago, we were content to stay put. We had plenty of food, we apparently mingled somewhat peacefully with other hominins like Homo erectus, and we enjoyed a fairly contented life. But around 100-thousand years ago, things began to change: The climate in many areas of Africa began to shift, food supplies became more scarce, and our numbers dwindled. As a result, we began to trek out of our homelands in small clan groups into the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and eventually the Americas. This program takes a look at that remarkable Odyssey across the planet where we encountered Neanderthals and strange prehistoric beasts; remarkable varieties of terrain including ice-age glaciers, towering mountain ranges, and searing deserts; and novel sources of food. Because each new home left its mark on our DNA, we are now--through the wonders of genetic science--able to trace our extraordinary journey--and perhaps determine why we’re the last hominin standing. Our move from the African homeland to the four corners of the globe is truly epic and we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those brave, small bands of humans who dared to step out of their comfort zone into the unknown so many millennia ago.
24. A CHARLES DICKENS CHRISTMAS Charles Dickens has famously been called “The Man Who Invented Christmas.” Inspired by the writings of Washington Irving earlier in the 19th century, Dickens wrote five Christmas novellas between 1843 and 1848 and over a dozen short stories between 1852 and 1866. Each of these--including the perennial favorite A CHRISTMAS CAROL--helped to shape how the holiday season is celebrated in Britain and America. This program explores these wonderful flights of holiday fantasy and their lasting influence.
25. FIFTEEN HOLIDAY JEWELS Come celebrate the holidays as we explore fifteen wonderful stories that speak to the meaning of the season. Besides classics like “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, this program also looks at stories that are not as familiar but are equally moving, including “Christmas Day in the Morning” by Pearl S. Buck, “The Parakeet Named Dreidel" by Isaac Bashevis Singer, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” by Hans Christian Anderson, and other holiday gems.
26. SANTA CLAUS: THE BIOGRAPHY For untold millions of children of all ages, December not only means the Holiday Season but a talk with Santa at the local mall, a midnight visitation from him on December 24th, or watching countless movies about him on TV. What’s equally remarkable is how Santa came to be such a global presence; there’s no corner of the planet where Santa isn’t known and loved. Explore the humble origins of the real-life Saint Nicholas over seventeen hundred years ago and trace the development of his legend across the centuries, sampling treasured stories from Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
27. FOUNDING WRITERS: THE GENTLEMEN This presentation focuses on seven of America’s earliest writers, men whose work helped to forge opinions and establish how the world—and ourselves—saw the colonies and the fledgling nation. John Smith, William Bradford, Edward Taylor, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Phillip Freneau represent the broad range of literature written between 1600 and 1800.b.
28. FOUNDING WRITERS: THE LADIES For this presentation, it’s the ladies who speak: Seven of America’s earliest female writers whose letters, poems, journals, and fiction give us a picture of what Colonial and Revolutionary America was all about. Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Sarah Kemble Knight, Sarah Morton, Ann Bleecker, Judith Murray, and Phillis Wheatley represent the views of American women from 1600—1800.
29. THE REAL THANKSGIVING On the fourth Thursday of November every year, countless millions of Americans gather around the table--and the television--to enjoy a banquet, football, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s a tradition that goes back decades. But it wasn’t always so--and that’s what this program examines. We’ll look at that first sport-famished, non-Santa, un-apple-pie Thanksgiving in the early 17th century and see how that straight-forward, rather modest feast among early colonials and indigenous peoples transformed into the most widely celebrated event in our country, a day on which more Americans travel than any other holiday. We’ll explore regional traditions, folklore, music, and even a few recipes--and try to discover the “thanks” in Thanksgiving.
30. THE HAUNTED HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN Every October 31, pint-sized ghouls and goblins wander through neighborhoods knocking on doors and asking for treats . . . little do they know they're actually carrying out an ancient tradition dating back thousands of years. Discover how the "trick-or-treat" custom originated during the harvest festivals in ancient Ireland when food and sweets were used to coax the dead into remaining in the spirit world. Learn how Christianity tried to co-opt the celebration by turning it into All Saints Day but how the underlying--and sometimes controversial--dark elements of the holiday have survived. THE HAUNTED HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN takes a captivating journey through the mysterious tales behind the spookiest night of the year.
31. QUAKES, VOLCANOES, TSUNAMIS: THE BIG ONE Nearly every day, there are public service announcements on Pacific Northwest television stations regarding earthquake preparedness--and a drive down any stretch of the 101 reveals signs every few miles showing tsunami evacuation routes. In other words, we’re reminded regularly that we citizens of Washington and Oregon live in an active earthquake, volcano, and tsunami zone. This program looks at some of the major seismic and volcanic events of the last few thousand years--not only in the Northwest, but around the Pacific Rim--and helps separate fear-filled hype from science-based facts. We’ll look at the causes for earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis and how tectonic movement changes our globe across time, and explore cutting edge technology that’s being used to predict when and where the next event might occur.
32. AGATHA CHRISTIE: THE QUEEN OF MYSTERY Born on September 15th, 1890, Agatha Christie became over her 85 years the most famous mystery writer in the world. Indeed, the Guinness Book of World Records goes further and lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world's most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare's works and the Bible. Who was this remarkable woman? How did she come to write her indelible works? Why is she still such a popular literary figure? These and other questions will be explored along with a real life mystery about Christie’s dramatic disappearance in 1926 that remains substantially unsolved to this day. As the chill of autumn arrives, let’s settle in with a few good thrillers.
33. CHANGING YOUR PERSPECTIVE: FIVE WOMEN Over many years, high school and college literature classes and “Best Books” lists were dominated by male writers. This program looks at five remarkable women who have made deep inroads into the realm of fantasy and science fiction. We’ll explore each author’s life and then delve into the primary themes of these often mind-bending, mind-expanding books: Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, Octavia Butler’s KINDRED, Ursula LeGuin’s THE LATHE OF HEAVEN, Margaret Atwood’s ORYX AND CRAKE, and N. K. Jemisin’s HOW LONG 'TIL BLACK FUTURE MONTH? These are books that test us, inspire us, warn us, and unsettle us in often unforeseen ways. What women writers have altered your perspectives?
34. CHANGING YOUR PERSPECTIVE: FIVE BOOKS If you’re looking for a “meaningful” book to read, here are five prime suggestions: Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451, Toni Morrison’s BELOVED, Yasunari Kawabata’s SNOW COUNTRY, Carl Sagan’s COSMOS, and Walt Whitman’s LEAVES OF GRASS. This program gives a brief overlook of each author and the principal ideas of each book--ideas that are intended to challenge our preconceived notions and inspire our “better angels.” There will be time at the end to hear some of your “important” books. What is your most meaningful book? 35. CHANGING YOUR PERSPECTIVE: VERNE AND WELLS: FUTURE VISIONS From the 1860s until the mid-20th century, first the novels of Jules Verne, then the novels of Herbert George Wells, sparked the imaginations of untold millions of readers. Through adventure, romance, and science, Verne and Wells sought to entertain and challenge readers. This program looks at the lives of each writer and then focuses on five seminal works and their often trail-blazing ideas and themes that continue to inspire writers and scientists: TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, THE TIME MACHINE, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, and FIRST MEN IN THE MOON. What novel by Verne or Wells has sparked your imagination?
36A & 36B. WOMEN OF THE STARS: PARTS 1 and 2 In this two-part series, we look at 25 women who have changed the way we look at our planet and the Universe in which we live. Part One explores the lives and contributions of 10 women, from ancient astronomers like Hypatia of Alexandria through the remarkable women of the Harvard Observatory in the 1890s. Part Two focuses on fifteen 20th and 21st century trailblazers like Vera Rubin, Nancy Roman, Margaret Geller, and Jill Tarter whose accomplishments have truly opened up the cosmos for humankind. These two programs invite us to know better the astronomers whose ground-breaking, sky-opening work we should all know--and whose lives can inspire us--especially young women--to advance our world towards a better future.
37. WINDOWS TO NATURE Planning on a trip to a Natural History Museum? When you visit a major Museum like the American Museum of Natural History in New York, one of the highlights is the remarkable, life-like dioramas. This program explores the making of these artistic masterpieces, focusing on ten exceptional examples from The Hall of North American Mammals at the AMNH. You will experience Art, Science, and the beauties of Mother Nature.
38. EARLY MAMMALS: FROM DIMETRODON TO MAMMOTHS Take a trip back in time to visit the first, often small mammals who lived alongside the dinosaurs over a hundred and fifty million years ago. Then, Earth’s encounter with a seven-mile-wide comet 66 million years ago changed the playing field. The dinosaurs went extinct, and those diminutive mammals suddenly became the dominant players. This program explores some of those astonishing creatures--Sabre-tooth Tigers, Woolly Mammoths, giant Deer, the Camels of Oklahoma, Sloths the size of small trucks, and other fascinating animals who were the forebears of todays species, including us! 39. 15,000 BC: THIS IS YOUR LIFE Imagine what it was like: Waking up in your cave or animal-skin hut, hearing the roar of sabre-tooth tigers, the shriek of vultures, or the bellowing trumpets of mammoths. Imagine a time when the last of the Neanderthals have gone extinct and only small clans of modern humans remain, when we have to learn quickly how to deal with the untold dangers of life in the wild. This program focuses on the day-to-day life of an imaginary family living 17,000 years ago. What would their existence be like? Would it differ depending on their location--would a family in Europe have a different life in Asia or Africa? And what if our family were in the earliest waves of humans making the journey into the Americas? What dizzying array of terrors and wonders would await them? Join us and find out what your life would be like in an age when every day was quite literally a matter of life or death.
40. OUR NEANDERTHAL COUSINS Thanks to the groundbreaking work of Svante Paabo and his team at the Max Planck Institute, we now know that our Neanderthal cousins were not the ignorant, grunting cavemen that popular culture has made them out to be. Just as adaptive as Homo sapiens, Neanderthals were remarkable tool makers; they also created art, had language, performed rituals, and formed tight knit social connections. This program will explore the latest research and help to dispel our stereotypes.
41. GEORGE ORWELL Known today primarily as the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, Orwell was a brilliant journalist who wrote dozens of other books, essays, and newspaper features. This program explores his large body of work, and examines the social impact of his major works.
42. TARZAN AND CARTER: THE FIRST SUPERHEROES With the serialized publication of the first John Carter novel--Under the Moons of Mars--in mid-1912 and the first Tarzan book--Tarzan of the Apes--serialized later that same year, Edgar Rice Burroughs created the first superheroes in American literature. Nearly every DC or Marvel comic hero owes some debt to Burroughs, and this program explores the long legacy of Lord Greystoke--aka Tarzan--and John Carter and their continuing influence today.
43. THE EVOLUTION OF CHARLES DARWIN Evolution. The word still stirs controversy over 160 years after the shy English naturalist published the Origin of Species. This program explores the life of a man who overcame numerous personal obstacles--physical, spiritual, and professional--to become, reluctantly, a household name. From his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle, his work on the Galápagos Islands, to his life-altering decision to publish works like The Descent of Man, Darwin’s scientific productivity represented an ongoing struggle to remain true to himself while trying to be faithful to his role as a member of Victorian society as well as a dutiful husband and father of ten children.
44. ROSWELL & BEYOND Since the beginning of recorded history, humans have been fascinated by the skies above them, especially when "visitors" seemed to descend from the stars. There are numerous accounts of these beings and their miraculous crafts in ancient religious texts (including the Bible), in artwork, and in epic legends of gods, angels, and other strange beings. Then in 1947, a reported crash of a "flying saucer" in Roswell, New Mexico opened up the proverbial flood gates. What was once the arcane fringe interest of a few scholars became the stuff of popular entertainment and speculation. Today, there are branches of governments around the world that study unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAPs) and unidentified flying objects (UFOs). In fact, on May 17 of 2022, the U.S. Congress held its first public hearing about UAPs in decades--and the Pentagon is currently handling its own set of investigations. Even NASA has gotten into the fray and is using, in part, the new James Webb Space Telescope to explore the possibility of extraterrestial civilizations. This presentation explores the possibilities of life beyond Earth and the possibilities that we've been having alien visitations for thousands if not millions of years. The truth is out there!
45. MARY SHELLEY The child of two famous parents--William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft--Mary herself became one of the most prominent figures in the world of literary arts, primarily through her first, remarkable novel, Frankenstein, published while she was still a teenager--and through her marriage to the radical Romantic poet, Percy Shelley. This program not only explores her marriage and her unflagging efforts to immortalize her husband’s poetry after his untimely death but also examines the other books she wrote, including the eerily timely novel The Last Man that examines the effects of a devastating viral pandemic and the resulting political, social, and economic collapse that follows. Clearly a mind ahead of its time, Shelly’s life-story is an inspiring one.
46. UNSUNG HEROES OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT We've all heard of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X--each household names for their involvement with the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. But this Black History Month program explores the lives of some of the unsung heroes who helped re-shape the American scene. Have you heard of Nannie Helen Burroughs who fired up the crowd in 1900 with her impassioned “How the Sisters Are Hindered From Helping” or Bayard Rustin who had to remain in the shadows of King and Randolph because he was gay? How about Pauli Murray who became the first Black woman ordained an Episcopalian priest or Ella Baker or Claudette Colvin who was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus nine months before Rosa Parks? Even though they stayed out of the limelight or simply predated the 1960s, the contributions of these individuals were just as important in fueling the movement as were the legendary historical figures we learned about in school. Come celebrate these “other heroes” in the fight for equality.
47. THE SALEM WITCHES When we think of witches and demons, we usually think of horror movies or Halloween. But for America’s 17th-century Puritan settlers, such beings were believed to be a reality, not superstition, and their new home in Massachusetts a place filled with fear and uncertainty. The early colonies were an experiment that—coupled with a backdrop of religious extremism—bred an anxiety so intense it ultimately turned deadly. As a result of religious/civic trials held between February 1692 and May 1693, 19 men and women were put to death following the unsustainable testimony of several young girls. In the end, the tale of the Salem witches is a frightening cautionary tale about the effects of mob psychology.
48. A WORLD OF DINOSAURS Who doesn’t like a dinosaur? Unless, of course, you’re a visitor to a certain theme park off the coast of Costa Rica. Thanks to the six films in the Jurassic Park franchise, not to mention the millions of visitors who crowd Museums around the world, dinosaurs remain a constant source of wonder, awe, and fear-filled imagination. What were these creatures like and what brought about the end of their dominance? This program looks at the lives of a dozen of these extraordinary animals, including one of the great living dinosaurs: The Eagle.
49. T.REX AND ITS FAMILY Probably the best known of all the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex reigned the world for millions of years. And then, 66 million years ago came the comet that ended it all. This program explores the family of T. rex and how they became the apex predators of all time. What did they really look like? Were they warm-blooded? Did they hunt in packs? Did they build nests for their eggs? This presentation will attempt to de-mythologize this phenomenal creature and give you a new appreciation for a true “king of beasts.”
50. THE HOLIDAYS UNWRAPPED The month of December is a month of celebrations that go back thousands of years. In ancient times, the winter solstice marked the beginning of vigil that would lead to the rebirth of Spring. In the second century BC, the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire led to the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The church in Rome began formally celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth on December 25 in 336, during the reign of the emperor Constantine. And Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of African Studies at California State University, first created Kwanzaa in 1966 in response to the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965, and as a way to bring Black Americans together as a community. This program explores the fascinating history behind these four holidays that untold numbers of people celebrate every year.
51. SENECA FALLS LEGACY On two blistering hot days in 1848, a group of women and supportive men led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott met in a sleepy upstate New York town for what would become one of the pivotal events in American history: the first Women’s Rights Convention. This program delves into the lives of some of the remarkable women who made the convention a reality--and into that gathering’s legacy and impact down through the decades. What would the women of Seneca Falls think of 21st Century America and the #MeToo Movement, the role of women in the workplace and politics, or the very first woman Vice President? Indeed, these inspiring women still have remarkable things to teach us.
52. JILL TARTER AND THE SEARCH FOR E.T. Jill Tarter has spent more than 40 years working on a Holy Grail search for life beyond planet Earth. Tarter, an astronomer and co-founder of the SETI Institute in California, is also the inspiration for Ellie Arroway, the alien-hunting protagonist of Carl Sagan’s 1985 classic novel Contact and the award-winning 1997 Jodie Foster film adaptation. While Sagan and his friends were popularizing the mysteries of the universe in books and television, Tarter was working behind the scenes, spending countless hours managing underfunded telescopes, fundraising for projects, publishing paper after paper, and trying to convince skeptics that the search for extraterrestrial life, this strange new field, was worth it. This program celebrates the many achievements of this remarkable scientist.
53. NIKOLA TESLA: LIGHTNING MAN Born during a fierce July lightning storm in 1856, Nicola Tesla became one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century--a man whose life-story has grown to mythic proportions in recent years. This presentation recounts the life of the visionary inventor often remembered equally as both an eccentric cult figure and an electrical engineering genius. For years, many of his achievements were attributed to contemporaries Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi. Now that the truth has been uncovered, we can give Tesla his due--and be grateful for his many achievements that have changed our world and our day-to-day lives.
54. BANNED IN AMERICA When you walk into a library, you’re entering a controversial place--for it’s a venue where you can read, listen to, and watch media that could be considered potentially “dangerous” depending on where (or when) you live. When Rameses II in 1279 BCE obliterated the hieroglyphic memorials to his father, he was doing what many rulers and societies have done throughout history: Attempt to control who is remembered, what is to be seen and heard, and how we are to behave. This presentation explores some of the history of the long saga of censorship and the need some cultures have to silence certain writers, artists, and musicians. We’ll look specifically at America, where there continues to be a heated debate regarding exactly how “free” creative minds really are when it comes to expressing feelings and ideas. Finally, using recent data collected by the American Library Association, we’ll look at on-going examples of censorship, examine the probable roots/causes of such censorship, and explore whether total freedom of expression is actually possible.
55. VINCENT VAN GOGH Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853 – 1890), the Dutch post-impressionist painter, is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and over 30 self-portraits--all characterized by bold colors and dramatic, impulsive, and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. Despite all of this creative output, Van Gogh was a deeply troubled soul who finally found peace through suicide at 37 after years of mental illness, depression, and abject poverty.
56. HEDY LAMARR: THE BEAUTY AND THE INVENTOR Hedy Lamarr: “Bombshell” actress who starred in such hit films as Algiers (1938), Lady of the Tropics (1939), Boom Town (1940), and Samson and Delilah (1949). Inventor who created technology that is still used today in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi systems. Eccentric shoplifter. Famous recluse who spent much of her last thirty years communicating with the outside world for six or seven hours a day via telephone. Lamarr was all of these things and so much more. Come discover one of the more fascinating life stories of the 20th century.
57. EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS: JUNGLES, MARTIANS, AND DINOSAURS Burroughs created over 60 novels that continue to thrill the imaginations of readers around the world. In addition to his many Tarzan and John Carter novels--both series first appearing in 1912--he also created fantastic tales about the Moon, Venus, and a civilization deep inside Earth, along with other notable novels such as The Land Time Forgot and The Mucker. Tarzan in particular remains one of the most enduring literary figures ever created and has inspired everything from a successful Broadway musical to dozens of classic films. This presentation examines Burroughs lasting status and the extraordinary influence his work has had on other writers and film directors. The leap from John Carter to Indiana Jones is a short one. Indeed, in a Paris Review interview, Ray Bradbury said that "Burroughs never would have looked upon himself as a social mover and shaker with social obligations. But as it turns out – and I love to say it because it upsets everyone terribly – Burroughs is probably the most influential writer in the entire history of the world." We might argue about the truth of Bradbury’s obviously provocative statement--but he’s right in the sense that whole generations of young people, especially boys, saw in Burroughs’s characters role models for a life of daring-do and testing the limits of mind and endurance.
58. THE SOLAR SYSTEM, PART 1 This three-part series explores our solar system from its creation 4.5 billion years ago to the present day. Part One covers the creation of the Universe, the Milky Way Galaxy, our Sun, and the four rocky planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Each program uses abundant illustrations and video clips to make our remarkable cosmic home come alive.
59. THE SOLAR SYSTEM, PART 2 This three-part series explores our solar system from its creation 4.5 billion years ago to the present day. Part Two covers the two gas giants--Jupiter and Saturn--and their primary moons; and the ice giants--Uranus and Neptune--and their moons. Each program uses abundant illustrations and video clips to make our remarkable cosmic home come alive.
60. THE SOLAR SYSTEM, PART 3This three-part series explores our solar system from its creation 4.5 billion years ago to the present day. Part Three explores the Kuiper Belt, Dwarf Planets, the Oort Cloud, and the search for the mysterious Planet Nine. Each program uses abundant illustrations and video clips to make our remarkable cosmic home come alive.
61. NEVER TOO EARLY, NEVER TOO LATE: Part 1 This two-part series profiles the lives of five child prodigies and five “Plus-50” artists, composers, and painters whose lives continue to inspire us. Part One looks at the children who dazzled the world; Part Two explores the inspiring lives and contributions of older creative minds--all of whom prove it’s never too early nor too late to make a difference.
62. NEVER TOO EARLY, NEVER TOO LATE: Part 2 This two-part series profiles the lives of five child prodigies and five “Plus-50” artists, composers, and painters whose lives continue to inspire us. Part One looks at the children who dazzled the world; Part Two explores the inspiring lives and contributions of older creative minds--all of whom prove it’s never too early nor too late to make a difference.
63. THE SILK ROAD The Silk Road was and is a network of trade routes connecting the East and West, and was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions between these regions from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century. This program gives an overview of the miraculous, sometimes deadly, always adventure-filled land and sea routes that connected East Asia and Southeast Asia with South Asia, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, and Southern Europe.
64. THE 60-MINUTE UNIVERSE This program, based on Dr. Bill Thierfelder’s spotlight tour of the Hall of the Universe at the American Museum of Natural History, takes you from the early years of the Universe to the excitement of space exploration today, from the remarkable formation of stars to the planets of our solar system.
65. FAILURE? WHO SAYS? Fame is a fickle thing. It's elusive. It teases, it comes, it goes. At its most mischievous, it arrives with aplomb after those seeking it have died. This program explores some household names like Melville, Bach, Van Gogh, and Dickinson who were practically unknown in their lifetimes despite often prodigious effort and output. None of them could have known just how famous they would become posthumously. How profound it is to consider what unknown legacy may await us after we're gone. The takeaway? Never give up.
66. THE WORLDS OF ELEANOR ROOSEVELT The daughter of a storied family, she became the wife of an unfaithful husband. Fortunately, she never let her personal pain override her need to help others. Arguably the most influential First Lady in American history, she continued her work as a philanthropist and humanitarian long after the president’s death. This program looks at her work as a trail-blazing civil rights advocate, a feminist, and one of driving forces behind the United Nations as well as a deeply lonely woman who found love in a series of extraordinary friendships.
67. ALLEN GINSBERG This program celebrates the work of Allen Ginsberg who--along with William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac--formed the core of the Beat Generation. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism, and sexual repression, presenting controversial views regarding drugs, sex, multiculturalism, bureaucracy, and Eastern religions. He is best known for his poem "Howl", in which he denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. The poem attracted widespread publicity in 1957 when it became the subject of an obscenity trial because it described heterosexual and homosexual sex at a time when sodomy laws made (male) homosexual acts a crime in every state. Not only did the courts decide that “Howl” was not obscene but that it was an important work of literary art. His collection The Fall of America shared the annual National Book Award for Poetry in 1974 and his book Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986–1992 became a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1995.
68. QUEEN BOUDICA OF THE CELTS Ask any English child about Boudica and he or she will tell you tales of one of Britain’s greatest heroines. But to many on this side of The Pond, Boudica’s story is still unknown. This program attempts to correct that. Boudica remains one of the most remarkable leaders in Western History. She slaughtered a Roman army. She torched Londinium, leaving a charred layer almost half a meter thick that can still be traced under modern London. According to the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, her army killed as many as 70,000 civilians in Londinium (London), Verulamium (St. Albans) and Camulodunum (Colchester), rushing “to cut throats, hang, burn, and crucify.” Who was she? Why was she so angry? How could a “mere woman” command such an enormous army? Her story is guaranteed to inspire.
69. ALBERT EINSTEIN The life behind the equations is as fascinating and baffling as the formulas themselves. From his work as patent office clerk to the honored Princeton University professor, from his marriages to the tangled relationships with his children and grandchildren, Einstein’s personal story is fascinating, all the more so when juxtaposed with his work as the “greatest mind of his age.”
70. JUDY GARLAND: OVER THE RAINBOW Using a baker’s dozen of her all-time hits, Dr. Bill Thierfelder explores the life of Judy Garland, telling a deeply personal saga filled with laughter and tears, triumphs and tragedies. From quintessential numbers like “Over the Rainbow” and “You Made Me Love You” to melting torch songs such as “The Man That Got Away” and “But Not For Me,” Garland knew how to connect with the words, the music, and--above all--the audience. Indeed, watching Garland present a song is attending a master class in artistic expression.
71. THE SUMMER OF ‘69 In 1969, America experienced one of its most extraordinary summers. In addition to the ongoing unrest revolving around the Viet Nam War and Civil Rights, three pivotal milestones occurred: The Stonewall Riots, which marked the beginning of the modern LGBTQ era; the Apollo moon landing, which became the crowning achievement of a decade-long “Space Race”; and Woodstock, probably the single most important cultural event of the era. Join us as we relive the season that changed the face of America forever.
72. FREDERICK DOUGLASS This is the life of a truly extraordinary human being: A person who escaped the bonds of servitude; who taught himself to read, write, and speak with eloquence; who composed one of the most famous autobiographies of the 19th century; who put his life on the line to help others overcome the horrors of slavery; who still inspires millions with his forthright honesty and determination.
73. THE SONNET For National Poetry Month (April), this program takes a look at one of the most frequently used poetic forms: The Sonnet. This program traces the history of these 14-line gems from their beginnings in Italy during the early Renaissance to the modern period. The second half of the hour will focus on American sonnets of the past two centuries, including Hart Crane’s tribute to Emily Dickinson, Emma Lazarus’s dedication of Lady Liberty to the world’s tired and poor, as well as sonnets by Longfellow, Very, Tuckerman, Robinson, Frost, Stickney, Wylie, and Millay. Here are our Petrarchs and Shakespeares, the American masters who, by living within the strictures of the octave and the sestet, found full voice, enlarged a tradition, and changed the sonnet forever.
74. JACK LONDON Jack London, born January 12th, 1876, was a pioneer of commercial fiction and one of the first American authors to become an international celebrity, earning a large fortune from writing.London was part of the radical literary group "The Crowd" in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of unionization, workers' rights, socialism, and eugenics. He wrote several works dealing with these topics, such as his dystopian novel The Iron Heel and his non-fiction exposé The People of the Abyss. This program explores those works as well as his most famous novels The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush. Always fascinating and controversial, London remains one of the most colorful characters in American Literature.
75. ROBERT FROST This program looks at the life and poetry of Robert Frost. His work, initially published in England before it was published in the United States, was known for its realistic depictions of rural life and its command of American colloquial speech. Indeed, Frost frequently wrote about settings from rural life in New England in the early 20th century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime and is the only poet to receive four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetic works and in 1961, was named poet laureate of Vermont. Simply put, he became one of America's rare public literary figures and an American artistic institution.
76. THE FOUR BRONTES This program examines the lives and works of Anne, Branwell, Charlotte, and Emily Bronte, with an emphasis on the lesser-known but equally satisfactory writing of this remarkable family. What we discover is that there’s more to the Bronte siblings than Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. It’s a story of triumph and failure, lost love and addiction, and--most of all--the complications and abiding love of family life.
77. WE ARE THE MARTIANS! For the Romans, Mars was the god of war; for 19th century astronomers, Mars was a remarkable world possessing cities and vast canal systems. By the late 1900’s we knew that Mars--now covered by craters, volcanoes, canyons, and deserts--was once a world with oceans, rivers, and possible life. Today, Mars is our next destination--not just for a visit but as the next place for us humans to live. Mars is the new Wild West where we’ll become the Martians. Join us to discover what a colonizing mission would entail--the planning, training, risks, and potential achievements.
78. FLY ME TO THE MOON This presentation traces the eternal fascination we humans have had with our moon, from the most ancient of times to the present, and celebrates the extraordinary men and women who made America's Apollo space program possible and examines current plans for the Artemis program that will once again explore our cosmic sister. Each of the six Apollo landings will be discussed as well as updates about Artemis.
79. TENNESSEE WILLIAMS Tennessee Williams--along with his contemporaries Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller--is considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama. After years of obscurity, at age 33 he became suddenly famous with the success of The Glass Menagerie (1944), a play that closely reflected his own unhappy family background. It was the first of a string of successes, including A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), and The Night of the Iguana (1961). With his later work, he attempted a new style that didn’t appeal as widely to audiences--though these plays are now recognized as the output of a masterful playwright. A Streetcar Named Desire is often numbered on short lists of the finest American plays of the 20th century alongside Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Much of Williams' most acclaimed work has been adapted for the cinema. He also wrote short stories, poetry, essays, and a volume of memoirs.
80. THE HAUNTING OF EDGAR ALLAN POE The life of Edgar Allan Poe is as haunting as the ones that fill the stories and poems he composed in his short, often tumultuous life. He was a prominent critic, a short fiction master, a competent poet, and a husband obsessively devoted to his child bride. Now considered one of the great literary geniuses of world literature, in his life Poe was the epitome of the tortured artist who was perpetually misunderstood by family and friends--the mad intellect often derailed by circumstances of his own making.
81. CHARLES DICKENS: A HAUNTED LIFE Like the characters in his novels and short stories, Charles Dickens was an amalgam of often conflicting feelings and loyalties. Without exaggeration, nearly everything he wrote was autobiographical. This program examines the life of the most famous novelist of his era--a life marked by fame and misfortune, happiness and a perpetual, restless uneasiness. He was a man driven by the need to overcome his insecurities--a writer haunted by the very ghosts he sometimes created in his stories.
82. SUSAN B. ANTHONY This program dives into the life of Susan Brownell Anthony, (1820--1906) who was an American activist like few others. She became a pioneer crusader for the women’s suffrage movement in the United States and was president (1892–1900) of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Her friendship with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others helped to pave the way for the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote. She was a fierce and exceptional woman who helped change America.
83. MARK TWAIN Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Twain (1835--1910) was a humorist, journalist, lecturer, and novelist who garnered international fame for his travel narratives, including The Innocents Abroad (1869), Roughing It (1872), and Life on the Mississippi (1883), and for his adventure stories of boyhood, most especially The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), a book often considered the quintessential “great American novel”. A gifted raconteur and irascible moralist, he transcended the apparent limitations of his humble Missouri origins to become one of America’s best and most beloved writers.
84. JACK THE RIPPER This presentation focuses on one of the most elusive criminals--and remarkable “cold case”--in the annals of justice. Jack the Ripper is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter written by someone claiming to be the murderer that was widely disseminated in the media. The letter is widely believed to have been a hoax and may have been written by a journalist in a deliberate attempt to heighten interest in the story. And that’s only one of the frustrating mysteries surrounding "the Whitechapel Murderer.” Hide the knives; it’s time for a little murder!
85. WOMEN SCIENTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW During her acceptance speech for the 1929 Pictorial Review Annual Achievement Award, Florence Rena Sabin said, “It matters little whether men or women have the more brains; all we women need to do to exert our proper influence is just to use all the brains we have.” Sabin, an anatomist, was one of the leading scientists in the United States. In 1925 she had become the first woman elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. But she underestimated the challenges facing women as scientists. Throughout history, intelligence alone has rarely been enough to guarantee women a role in the process of examining and explaining the natural world. This program explores the names of brilliant women scientists from ancient times to the present who helped change our view of the world.
86. THE IMAGINARY WORLDS OF JULES VERNE This program a celebration of the French author who pioneered the science fiction genre. Best known for his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travels long before air travel and submarines were invented, and before practical means of space travel had been devised. He remains the second most translated author in the world (after Agatha Christie)--a writer whose remarkable imagination still sparks ours today.
87. KING ARTHUR The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. The first datable mention of King Arthur is in a 9th century text. One school of thought sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Roman-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons in the late 5th to early 6th century. In these tales, he is presented as a gallant military commander and a noble king. Yet at the core of this epic hero lies a vulnerable lover eventually undone by his unwavering devotion to the woman he loves. Arthur’s story remains one of the indisputable foundations of Western culture. This program examines the many remarkable facets of Arthur--both the facts and the myths.
88. STOLEN! As Virginia Woolf famously said, "I would venture to guess that Anonymous, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman." Throughout history, women have often been sidelined, either due to peer pressure, lack of opportunity, or flat-out sexism. And many times, women who invented items — from disposable diapers to Monopoly — weren't given credit for their work. Women are responsible for early sketches of the computer, the discovery of the DNA double helix, and even splitting the atom. But men claimed those advancements as their own. This program explores 14 things most people don’t know were invented by women.
89. H. G. WELLS: THE MAN WHO INVENTED TOMORROW In classic novels like The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man, he practically invented science fiction. But those seminal works were just a small part of his life. H.G. Wells wrote over 160 books covering fields from fiction to history to political commentary. In his day he was one of the most famous and influential thinkers in the world. This program explores the startling range of predictions he made forecasting everything from chemical warfare and the atom bomb to computer chips and modern birth control! We'll see how his vision of the future darkened as he aged and the horrors of World War II threatened to put an end to his hopes for humanity. This is a revealing look at the life of "the man who invented tomorrow." 90. CASANOVA Say the name Casanova, and, at best, an ardent lover comes to mind; at worst, a sexual predator. In reality, Giacomo Casanova was an Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice and his autobiography, Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century. He has, of course, become famous for his often complicated and elaborate affairs with women. But that was only one aspect of his life: He associated with European royalty, popes, and cardinals, along with artistic figures Voltaire, Goethe, and Mozart and spent his last years in in the royal house of Count Waldstein in what is now the Czech Republic. This program attempts to separate fact from fiction and present the life of one of the most fascinating men of the 18th century. 91. OUR EARLY HUMAN ORIGINS Based on Dr. Bill Thierfelder’s tour of the Hall of Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History, this program explores the earliest members of the hominin lineage. “Lucy,” “Turkana Boy,” and other world-famous fossils, as well as species like Homo erectus whose members survived in Africa and Asia for nearly two million years are highlighted. Learn about your distant cousins and how we became the last human group standing. 92. SEVEN NOBEL WOMEN: Nearly 60 remarkable women have won the most prestigious award in the world in a variety of fields. This program looks at seven of these women and their contributions to literature, the sciences, and world peace. From the writings of Toni Morrison and Doris Lessing to the inspiring contributions of scientists like Barbara McClintock, Elizabeth Blackburn, and Youyou Tu--these women have changed our perceptions of the world and have opened doors that might otherwise have been closed in often patriarchal systems. 93. WHAT’S THE BUZZ? One of the many glories of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at New York’s American Museum of Natural History is the 8000 square feet of gallery space devoted to the study of insects, including a vivarium with free-flying butterflies, and a host of other six-legged animals that keep our planet green and growing. Insects are the most diverse and abundant animal group on the planet, and without them there wouldn’t be a planet. This program traces the evolution of insects and focuses on ants, bees, butterflies/moths, and beetles. (We’ll even give a tip of the hat to our eight-legged friends the scorpions and spiders, which are arachnids, not insects.) 94. MONET’S GARDEN Claude Monet's garden at Giverny is probably the most famous garden in all of France, with over 500 000 people visiting every year. Monet lived in Giverny from 1883 until his death in 1926 and painted some of his most famous paintings there, including his water lily and Japanese bridge paintings. This program explores Monet’s life and focuses on his love affair with his home and his remarkable obsession with Nature. 95. GEORGIA O’KEEFE: FLOWERS, SKULLS, DESERTS This program explores the life of O’Keefe, especially her marriage to photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and focuses on 10 of her most iconic paintings, especially her representations of flowers, skulls, and the beloved desert near her home in New Mexico. 96. MICHELANGELO: CHISLED WITH WORDS Although Michelangelo’s poetry is not nearly as well known to the public as his sculpture, painting, and architecture, it was an important facet of his creative life and appears to have been a passionate and somewhat private secondary form of expression for the artist (he was unpublished during his lifetime, and many of the poems were gifts to friends). Michelangelo worked in the tradition of Italian lyric poetry as defined by Petrarch and Dante, writing over three hundred poems, many of which utilized imagery or metaphors from his primary medium of marble sculpture. Fragments of verse can be found in Michelangelo’s sketchbooks, scribbled on the same pages as studies for his masterpieces, showing that these two disparate art forms were complementary or intimately related in his mind. 97. STONEWALL HERITAGE The Stonewall Riots that began on the night of June 28th in 1969 were the culmination of untold years of abuse heaped on the LGBTQ community. Though the Stonewall uprising didn’t start the gay rights movement, it was a galvanizing force for LGBTQ political activism, leading to numerous gay rights organizations, including the Gay Liberation Front, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and PFLAG. Today, the Respect for Marriage Act, positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters in movies and television, and countless Pride events are just some of the many benefits that might not have been possible if a group of gay men hadn’t stood their ground on a hot summer’s night in Greenwich Village. This program explores the lead-up and the after-effect of this pivotal LGBTQ event.