Ken Burns’s other “Best Idea” – Using FHS photos in his PBS film, “The National Parks”
We recently received an advanced copy of the new Ken Burns film, The National Parks – America’s Best Idea, which begins airing on PBS starting Sunday, September 27. You can see images from the FHS Archives in the first three episodes and our name in the credits. (By the way, if you can’t get to your TV when those air, the PBS website will be streaming the video of each episode after it airs.)
As we watched here at the Peeling Back the Bark World Headquarters for our images to appear in the film, we got to talking about other films in which our moving footage and still images have appeared. Of course, tops on the list is The Greatest Good: A Forest Service Centennial Film. (Normally, I’d say, Buy the book – don’t wait for the movie. But in this case, I say, Buy them both and now!) Footage from the two films we’ve produced, Up in Flames and Timber on the Move, has appeared in a number of documentaries and television shows over the years. Our images have appeared in films as varied as Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues to Fungi: Pennsylvania’s Hidden Treasures. Below the photos that we think appear in The National Parks is a partial list of video projects with images or footage from our archive.
The other thing we discussed is how FHS expertise has been used in productions. Sometimes it’s in a very hands-on manner, as with The Greatest Good. That was fun because two of us were involved in reviewing the script and rough cuts of the film, and we were listed individually by name in the final credits. Other times, we’ve been asked to do research that finds its way into scripts. The latter is true for an upcoming History Channel show, America: the Story of US. You can see the results of that in the spring.
Here are just a few of our images to look for in the Ken Burns film.
And here’s a list of some of the other productions in which our archival material has appeared:
– On PBS, from the American Masters series – Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues. Hank briefly worked as a logger.
– Firestorm: The Fire Suppression Paradox, follows a firecrew from Ontario who joined with firefighters from the U.S. and other jurisdictions to fight a fire in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana, in the summer of 2000.
– Chief Mountain Hotshots: Firefighters of the Blackfeet Nation tells the history of one of the most respected Hotshot crews in the country.
– The Forest Where We Live – The Series (Louisiana Public Broadcasting)
– The Ultimate 10 Dangerous Jobs (“Ultimate 10” series on TLC) – has footage of smokejumping from Up in Flames.
– Fungi: Pennsylvania’s Hidden Treasures is an award-winning full-length documentary produced by the State of Pennsylvania’s DCNR’s Wild Resource Conservation Program and Commonwealth Media.
– The Lord God Bird documentary film is about the ivory-billed woodpecker.
– The History Channel Toolbox Series – the episode on Mechanic’s Tools and Chainsaws.
– The History Channel series Modern Marvels – “Logging Technology” episode has footage from Timber on the Move.
– And for the upcoming 12-hour series on the History Channel, America: The Story of US, we conducted research and provided background material on 19th-century log drives in the upper Midwest.