Sep. 22, 2011 at 5:57pm"Prohibition"

Ken Burns documentary airs Sunday

“Prohibition” is a three-part, five-and-a-half hour documentary series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The series airs starting on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 8p.m and runs for the next two nights.  

The film tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed.


I can hardly wait for the premiere of the documentary on KSPS in Spokane and its environs.

Director and producer Ken Burns and his partner Lynn Novick were out and about promoting the documentary last week at Northwestern University, as well as some other community sites in Chicago. Apparently the Chicago area plays an important role in the documentary because of its Prohibition history, which is why they chose it to do some pre-event publicity.

Burns and Novick told The Daily Northwestern that the cities of Evanston and Chicago contrasted sharply during the Prohibition era, with the Woman’s Christian Temperance union based in Evanston, and Chicago being a prominent site for bootlegging and illegally selling alcohol.

Burns also said he is motivated by people oversimplifying the past rather than respecting the complexity of history. Read the entire article here.

I’ve always wondered exactly what was the mood and temperament of the country at that time to have induced such a seemingly unpopular turn of events. As we all know now it “turned many a law-abiding citizen into criminals and made illicit drinking alcohol seem glamorous and fun” according to About the Series.

Still I have a hard time imagining the social mores of the time – so strong that even those of moderate beliefs went along with the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The phrase … “it seemed like a good thing to do at the time,” takes on a whole new meaning. I’m fascinated already and have been online searching for more information about the film.

If you click on the photo of the “Prohibition” on the first page of the Website or by clicking here,  you’ll be taken to a page that talks about the upcoming documentary. There’s a place to create personalized postcards using images from “Prohibition” and then you can email them to friends or family.

There is also a window where you can share your story and read other other people's stories. You know … Grandpa had a still or Grandma was a flapper and kept a flask in her garters, that sort of thing. Some of the stories are really good. Read the one called “My Nana was a bootlegger and pregnant throughout Prohibition.”

Click on the drop down menu – Sneak Peek – and watch a 2-minute trailer or on another listen to Ken Burns or Lynn Novick talk about the documentary.


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