Audiences Of All Types Will Appreciate PBS’ Latest Video Bio

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Next Friday, November 22nd marks the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  Everybody knows the story of how Kennedy was gunned down while riding through the streets of Dallas, Texas.  Countless conspiracy theories have been crafted about his death in the years since his murder.  Just as many people know the associated conspiracy theories.  But just how many people know what Kennedy was doing in Dallas to begin with?  PBS answers that question and more in the new episode of its hit series, American Experience: JFK follows the life and career of John F. Kennedy from his birth to his rise to the Presidency to his untimely death in 1963.  Along the way, viewers are given a look not only at his own life, but how his own family roots led to his career in politics as well as much more.  This is one part of what makes this documentary an impressive addition to any history buff’s home library.  Those same history and political science junkies will appreciate the addition of some familiar footage from Kennedy’s career, and some more rare footage from his personal life as well as his career.  JFK is made even more impressive thanks to the manner in which the story was assembled.  The four-hour, two-part documentary is split up into a way that doesn’t require viewers to be afraid of missing anything.  That aspect of the overall presentation works with the previously mentioned factors to make it one that anyone with even the slightest interest in history and/or political science will appreciate.

Most audiences that watch JFK are sure to come into the presentation with at least a general knowledge of Kennedy’s time in office.  After watching this presentation, audiences will come out of it having learned more about Kennedy than they ever thought they would learn about him.  That is thanks to the bounty of information provided about his life and that of his family.  While more seasoned viewers might already know, others will be interested to find out that John and his brother Bobby weren’t the only politicians in the Kennedy clan.  Their father was also a well-known politician.  And their brother died serving America.  Just as noteworthy are the revelations about the secrets of the Cuban missile crisis.  According to the program, narrated by veteran actor Oliver Platt, Kennedy negotiated a secret deal with Nikita Khrushchev in order to get Khrushchev to remove his missiles from Cuba.  Platt goes on to explain that even after the crisis, this part of the story had not been revealed to Americans.  It wasn’t until years later that this information was made public.  There is much more information provided with JFK.  And viewers will find that it collectively makes this program another enjoyable addition to PBS’ American Experience.

The story presented by writer Mark Zwonitzer and his cohorts behind the documentary is one that is certain to interest anyone with even a fleeting interest in JFK’s life.  The story alone isn’t all that makes this edition of American Experience work so well.  Audiences will be just as impressed by the inclusion of so much vintage footage throughout the feature.  Some of the footage is relatively similar.  A prime example is that of Kennedy riding through the streets of Dallas, TX.  Less familiar but just as interesting is footage of Kennedy talking to his cabinet throughout the Cuban missile crisis.  There are also still photos of Kennedy in the Oval Office used to illustrate his state of mind through his ups and downs.  They and the video footage together make the overall presentation of this episode of American Experience even richer.

The video footage, still photos, and historical information together are key elements that make JFK another successful episode from PBS’ American Experience.  The overall makeup of the presentation puts it over the top.  That’s because of the “episode’s” four-hour run time.  Four hours over two discs seems like a lot.  Those four hours are split into much shorter and distinct segments.  Viewers aren’t forced to take in large amounts of information at one time.  This plays perfectly to the attention span of the average viewer.  And in turn, it makes this feature even more of a win for PBS because that means it could potentially bring in an audience group that they otherwise might not have had if only for that reason.  That aspect of the feature mixed with everything already mentioned will not only bring in more casual viewers, but those that are more inclined to watch regardless.  It will be available next Tuesday, November 19th, on DVD and Blu-ray and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at  More information on this and other programs from PBS’ American Experience is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Cuban Missile Crisis Documentary Another Interesting Piece From PBS

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Early in 2013, tensions between North and South Korea almost reached a head, with the United States’ almost becoming involved.  That moment left many wondering if the world was once again on the brink of war.  Thankfully that didn’t happen.  There is an irony to this as not long before the buildup in the Koreas happened, PBS released a documentary about another moment of human history in which the world also nearly reached all out war.  That moment was the now infamous Cuban Missile Crisis.  And now thanks to Cuban Missile Crisis: Three Men Go To War, a new generation can hopefully learn from the past and keep a moment such as this (or another situation such as with the Koreas) from happening again.

Cuban Missile Crisis: Three Men Go to War is more proof of the value of public broadcasting.  This near hour long documentary is an unbiased look at the political tensions of the time and how they almost led the “Doomsday Clock” to strike midnight.  The documentary presents the building tensions through interviews with those that were very closely connected to everything that happened.  Most interesting is that among those interviewed for the documentary is the son of Nikita Khrushchev, Sergei.  What makes his inclusion in the program important is that it offers a new perspective on this truly important moment in history.  His commentary shows that the feeling of the then U.S.S.R. being the bad guy went the other way.  The feeling in Russia was much the same about the U.S.  Interestingly enough, this came right around the time that the space race had started, too.  Tensions between the two nations were already high as is because of this.  So add in talks of military buildup, and tensions increase even more. 

The commentary on the part of Sergei Khrushchev is just one commentary that makes this documentary so interesting.  Other academics and high ranking military officials are also interviewed for the program, adding to the program’s interest.  The commentaries combine with the actual audio footage of then President Kennedy discussing with his advisors, a plan of action concerning how to react to actions by Cuba and the Soviets make the feature all the more hard hitting.  Also added in to the feature is footage of events directly tied to the crisis.  This footage will take viewers back to this pivotal moment in which two of the world’s went toe to toe.  The footage, the audio recordings, and the interviews all come together to make this documentary a piece that is a very good fit for any high school and even introductory level college history class.  It’s just as enjoyable for any history buff that wants a brief overview of this important period in history.  It is available now and can be ordered online from the PBS online store at

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at