The Prohibition era takes over on WXXI-TV/HD
By Norm Silverstein ~ Posted Wed, 09/28/2011 - 10:42am
If you're a fan of "The Civil War," "Jazz" and "Baseball," you will most certainly be glued to WXXI-TV/HD October 2-4 as we present "Prohibition", a new three-part documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Set in the era of bathtub gin and bootleggers, the series tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was called the “Noble Experiment,” but it was in fact one of America's most notorious civic failures, an object lesson in the challenge of legislating human behavior. Americans debated for more than a century about whether to ban the sale of alcohol. Apart from slavery and the role of African Americans in American life, no social issue in our history took so long to play out, nor was there a similar conflict that generated so many unintended consequences – most notably, sparking the drive for women's suffrage.
There's a great buzz across the country about the series and interest should be even higher across our region. Rochester was a significant hub of activity during the Prohibition era as many were arrested for running stills in their homes or garages. In fact, prohibition created a business for illegal trade in alcohol from Canada as smugglers crossed Lake Ontario and made drops at isolated points along the beach and along lrondequoit Bay.
For a little more background on the documentary, you can listen here to the story recently featured on "The Takeaway" (which you can hear on WITH 90.1 in Ithaca, or online here at weekdays from 6 - 8 a.m.). Meanwhile the "Prohibition" companion Web site, at PBS.org offers video previews, a history of Prohibition, and a place to share your story from the prohibition – whether it was a bootlegging grandfather along the Genesee or a flapper grandmother who ran a speakeasy in Rochester. Finally, be sure to turn to WXXI as the Prohibition era takes over our air for three straight nights, October 2-4.