American Experience: LBJ
Mon, 10/20/2008 - 9:00pm
Mon, 10/27/2008 - 10:00pm
He was one of the most astute, perplexing and larger-than-life figures in modern American history. An accidental president, Lyndon Baines Johnson set out to make his mark by pushing through unprecedented social legislation of a scale that rivaled FDR's New Deal. Bombastic and deeply emotional, Johnson's vision was shattered by the increasing debacle of the Vietnam War, and his presidency began to unravel. American Experience: LBJ airs Mondays, October 20 & 27 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (cable 1011 and DT 21.1).
American Experience reprises LBJ, a biography of the poor boy from rural Texas whose ascent to the very pinnacle of power is a version of the American dream. "The story of Johnson's life plays like a Greek tragedy, as ambitious as the man who is its subject," says LBJ executive producer Patricia Perini. "To understand his story is to better understand America in the twentieth century." Produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker David Grubin and narrated by author and historian David McCullough, the four-hour documentary examines this controversial figure whose duality as both a seductive and fearsome man continues to fascinate and intrigue.
As part of American Experience's multimedia election-year project The Presidents, Reagan is included in a series of critically acclaimed 20th century presidential portraits that, for the first time, will be available on the Web in their entirety to provide historical context for current political candidates and promote civic engagement in the political process. Since May 2008, LBJ, FDR, Reagan, Truman, and the newest film in this collection, George H.W. Bush have been available as streaming video or for download at www.pbs.org/presidents/2008. Nixon, and Jimmy Carter round out the library, totaling over twenty-five hours of content-rich programming.
“With LBJ and The Presidents, we want to engage viewers in the civic process. To my mind, that involves not just voting on Election Day, but also taking an active interest in where we've been as a nation and what led our country to the place we now hold on the international stage,” says American Experience executive producer, Mark Samels. “As we enter a pivotal election year, it is interesting to see the many issues the country wrestled with throughout the 20th century–from war and religion to healthcare and education–that we are still debating today. The Presidents will give our audience access to our presidential history in a vast array of forms: streaming video on our Web site, downloadable podcasts and vodcasts, and PBS national broadcasts. Collectively, this content provides an invaluable historical roadmap—helping viewers to understand where we have been, so that they may better decide where we are going.”