Look what's coming to Blue Ridge PBS!
History Detectives Special Investigations
Tuesdays at 9:00pm
The HISTORY DETECTIVES SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS team brings cutting edge tools to some of our biggest historical mysteries. Each new hour-long episode asks probing questions behind a single iconic mystery from America's past. Three investigators team up to solve each case: Wes Cowan, an independent appraiser and auctioneer; Kaiama Glover, professor at Barnard College, Columbia University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. As the detectives unearth fresh evidence, sift through clues and crisscross the country in search of answers, they reveal new perspectives on stories we thought we knew.
July 1 – Civil War Sabotage?
It was one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history. Officially, the death toll was 1,500. Unofficially, the count may have been far higher. When it mysteriously exploded on April 27, 1865, the Mississippi steamboat SS Sultana was packed with Union soldiers. The war had ended that month; at every stop more and more men clamored to board the homeward-bound ship, which blew up mid-river. However, the story of the sinking quickly vanished from the papers. What really sank the Sultana? Was it Confederate sabotage? Securing the original investigative report and its archives allows the team to forensically examine and scientifically test theories of the boilers’ failure. The team also researches the stories of a Confederate agent and spy who burned Union ships on the Mississippi and was an expert in using “coal torpedoes” and a former Union inspector’s deathbed revelation.
July 8 – The Disappearance of Glenn Miller
One of the most celebrated, beloved entertainers of the wartime era takes off from England in heavy fog, heading to France to entertain troops. His plane vanishes. Glenn Miller’s disappearance is perhaps the biggest mystery and cold case of World War II. This HISTORY DETECTIVES investigation contains a great deal of new information: Miller’s pilot was a rank novice who had never flown over the English Channel, never mind in appalling weather; documents from a Lancaster bomber pilot support another possible accounting of the plane’s disappearance; and a 17-year old plane spotter’s notebook — discovered in 2012 at a UK Antiques Roadshow — answers a question that has long baffled investigators: which route did Miller’s aircraft take? In addition, the German-speaking Miller was working for the U.S. Army’s Psychological Warfare Division, recording German language propaganda broadcasts and musical performances.
July 15 – Texas Servant Girl Murders
n 1885, six African-American servants and two white society women were killed in Austin, Texas — almost all bludgeoned with an ax, dragged from their beds and raped. As quickly as the killings started, they stopped. No killer was ever identified. Desperate to find someone to blame, the authorities first rounded up hundreds of black men. Later, they pointed the finger at a white man, James Philips, whom they accused of murdering his teenage bride. Although Philips was eventually acquitted, the trial was akin to the OJ Simpson trial, with sensational, lurid details spilling out in court. After the furor and panic died down, so did the memory of the killings. Can the History Detectives solve these murders? They pore over the records and apply cutting-edge police techniques to determine who killed the servant girls of Austin.
July 22 – Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?
In one of history’s most fascinating unsolved mysteries, former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa went missing on July 30, 1975, never to be found. Hoffa, a hero to many working Americans, played a major role in the growth and development of the trucking union. But he fell afoul of the law, with allegations that the powerful pension fund was under mob control and used, among other things, to finance Vegas casinos. What exactly happened to Hoffa that day, and why? Recently declassified FBI files and interviews with people close to the story allow a detailed accounting of what likely occurred. The investigation is an exploration of Hoffa’s final days and hours and a revelatory window on power and corruption in the post-war era labor movement.
Last Tango in Halifax, New Season!
Sundays and Thursdays at 8:00pm
The BAFTA-winning comedy-drama about romance and second chances returns as the reunited childhood sweethearts Celia (Anne Reid) and Alan (Derek Jacobi) plan a life together. As secrets from the past come tumbling out and family members adjust to changing relationships, can Alan and Celia find the long-awaited happiness they deserve?
July 6 – Alan and Celia’s first day as husband and wife is filled with tension. A new arrival surprises everyone, most of all Gillian. Caroline finds a way to buy John out of the house, but will Kate’s desire to have a baby threaten their relationship?
July 13 – Gillian is devastated when Celia inadvertently reveals a secret she has kept since she was 15. Alan and Gillian’s already fractious relationship suffers as he distances himself further from her. Kate feels awkward around Lawrence, who finds his mum’s new relationship difficult to accept.
July 20 – Sad news inspires Alan and Celia to have another wedding ceremony attended by all of their family and friends. Caroline whisks Kate off on a romantic weekend, but a disagreement threatens to end the relationship. Just as Gillian and Robbie are back on friendlier terms, a revelation from Judith changes everything.
July 27 – Celia reluctantly introduces Alan to her sister, Muriel. Caroline is stunned to learn that Kate is pregnant and receives a further blow from John when he delivers news. A drunk Gillian shares a sinister secret with Caroline.
August 3- Find out why Kate’s gesture at Alan and Celia’s wedding stuns everyone — including Caroline.
Saturdays at 7:00pm
July 5 – Big Band Memories
Guest: Elaine Balden. From the moment the show opens with the Band, the Singers& Dancers performing "Chattanooga Choo Choo" to the rousing "Panama" at the show's end, the days of the Big Bands will come alive for you. Guy & Ralna sing "Green Eyes", Bob Ralston and Bob Smale play twin pianos on the "Concert oin B Flat Minor" as a tribute to the late Freddy Martin, and Bobby & Elaine dance to "Opus One". The lovely Anacani adds her own Latin flair to "Perfidia".
July 12 – Hooray for Hollywood
Guest: Gail Farrell. "Take Your Girlie To The Movies" gets this show started. Bobby & Cissy dance to "The Entertainer", Guy and Ralna sing "True Love", Tom Netherton sings the unforgettable "As Time Goes By", and Sandi, Gail, & Mary Lou join Larry Hooper for "Toot, Toot, Tootsie".
July 19 – The Italian
Show Host: Bobby Burgess. Aladdin acts as the unofficial host for much of this show and he does it with humor and verve. The Lennon Sisters boat down a Venice canal singing "Santa Lucia" and Bobby and Barbara dance a spirited Tarantella. Joe Feeney delights with "O Sole Mio", and JoAnn Castle romps through "Carnival of Venice". This whole show is, well... Bravissimo!
July 26 – Down on the Farm
Host: Mary Lou Metzger. "How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down On The Farm" gets us rolling on this "farm" show. Norma sings "Suddenly There's A Valley" and Bobby & Cissy make "Turkey In The Straw" come to life. Jimmy Roberts will make you want to singalong on "Shine On Harvest Moon" and "Old MacDonald" will introduce you to some unexpected barnyard critters! Come join us on the farm!
Tuesdays at 8:00pm
In his time, Mark Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. In this two-part documentary, Ken Burns creates an illuminating portrait of one of the greatest writers in American history. Keith David narrates.
July 29 - Part One
Ken Burns takes viewers on a journey through Sam Clemens’ early days along the Mississippi River, to the small river town of Hannibal, Missouri. Clemens grows up, stumbling from adventure to adventure until he begins to evolve into Mark Twain, the humorist and writer who would revolutionize the way Americans viewed themselves and their language. The episode ends with the publication of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel that has been banned in hundreds of libraries and schools across the country ever since.
August 5 - Part Two
Burns explores the other side of the writer — an American icon who, through tragedy and bad financial decisions, falls hard with failure. In contrast to the wildly successful Twain, Clemens is an inept businessman who squanders his fortunes on pipe dream patents and bad investments. Clemens turns to the lecture circuit and tours extensively, leaving behind his beloved Hartford home and, often, his family, to pay off his creditors.
Mark Twain Prize: Carol Burnett
Friday, July 11 at 9:00pm
Carol Burnett — comedic icon and all-around performing legend — is the guest of honor when, for the 16th year, the comedy world convenes in Washington, DC, to toast this year’s recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The all-star cast includes Julie Andrews, Lucie Arnaz, Tony Bennett, Tim Conway, Tina Fey, Rashida Jones, Vicki Lawrence, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short and Rosemary Watson. The program features comedic highlights from Burnett’s half-century in show business.