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Remarkable 20th Century

Ideal for Grades: 9 -12
Duration: Ten, 55-minute episodes
Closed Captioned
© 1999 Passport Productions

The Remarkable 20th Century, hosted by Howard K. Smith, is a ten part documentary series that recounts the key events of the past one hundred years. The format is unique in that the programs are presented as one decade per episode. Within each decade, the viewer is taken from world events, to American sports, national politics, and the latest in science, to highlights of the entertainment industry. There is something for everyone in each episode.

The Remarkable 20th Century begins with the transition from the Wild West to the industrial age. It was the time of the Wright Brothers, Teddy Roosevelt, the Panama Canal, and the birth of the movies. The series is filled with images recalling the entire century along with interviews offering a personal, first hand recollection of these key events. Jenny Faris, a 110 year-old lady recalls growing up during the early years of the 20th century and Frank Eichler a veteran of WW1, remembers the Great San Francisco Earthquake and how his doctor father treated many of the victims.

The Remarkable 20th Century covers the high points in science and technology from Henry Ford’s mass production of the Model A, to cars becoming entertainment centers on wheels with the 1930’s inclusion of radios, to Buss Aldrin’s walk on the moon. Gordon Cooper, one of the original astronauts, tells of the early space program and how the goal at the time was ‘to get a man in orbit around the world and back without killing him’. All the wars, from the War to end all Wars to Kosovo are discussed by the likes of Henry Kissinger, General Colin Powell, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Walter Cronkite, Howard K. Smith and other historic luminaries.

The 20th Century saw great strides in humanitarian development as well as incredible acts of inhumane treatment. Jessie Jackson recalls the early days of the Civil Rights Movement and Rosa Parks tells us how she just didn’t feel like giving up her seat on that Montgomery bus. Not since the hay-days of Rome has the entertainment scene flourished like it has this century. Orson Wells scared the country into hysteria with his adaptation of WAR OF THE WORLDS and stars like Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable thrilled the movie going public. Hollywood demigods like Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Johnny Depp, Gweneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Ann Miller, Rod Steiger and others tell us about the rise and fall of the famed “Studio System” and how it affected their careers. While the younger stars relate how Tinsel Town works today.

The Remarkable 20th Century also covers the serious side of what has happened over the past one hundred years. Albert Einstein brought forward his theories and the Scopes Monkey Trial tried to put us back in the trees. The Great Depression finished the Roaring Twenties, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal saved the country and Social Security became a long running social program and political football. The series notes the great and not so great Presidents and chronicles the Cold War and the end of Russian Communism. Huge Hefner explains the Sexual Revolution and who is winning, while Betty Freidan and Gloria Steinem review women’s issues from Woman’s Suffrage to NOW. England voted in a lady Prime Minister and the US elected an actor the President to follow the Peanut Farmer from Georgia. It has been a turbulent and exciting one hundred years and it all comes to life in The Remarkable 20th Century series.

Each episode has two DVDs. One provides a linear play format and the other an indexed format. The indexed format is ideal for students preparing video reports.

Rights granted with purchase include: a) life of media audiovisual use, b) public performance, c) campus or building closed circuit and digital/video-on-demand transmission.

Click on the individual episodes below to learn more and view the Teacher's Guide for each episode.

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