....on the East Coast, at 9 PM
Check your local PBS stations for times.
New York area served by Channel 13
The first 12 minutes is on YouTube as a teaser.
It glosses over his childhood and his adult life prior to building his first automobile and, per usual, there is a lot of romanticizing by the talking heads.
I read a review in today's paper. Tish Wells from McClatchy Newspapers states;
"After watching PBS' "American Experience" on Henry Ford you see what he was really about. Control. He Controlled his company, he controlled his workers, and he controlled his "everyman" image as much as he could." She goes on to say "There also was a darker side to the Henry Ford success story. He invaded his workers' privacy and home lives. He had anti-Semitic beliefs. He disparaged his on son, Edsel, to the point that when Edsel was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer, he didn't tell his father because knew he wouldn't gain any sympathy."
Though much of this is true I hope that this is not the entire focus of this film. We shall see.
Some of these same things still happen today. You have heard of employers looking into employees' face book accounts to spy on them. I have also worked for bosses who cheat to make themselves look good or take credit for their employees' ideas. Even the politicians are "control" freaks. Many corporations and unions also try to influence their politicians. Even some religious leaders try to be control freaks. It's just human nature.
I have read several books on Henry Ford, so I plan to watch the TV account and compare it to what knowledge I already have.
I just the Henry Ford American Expeirence documentary advertised this morning in the paper.
Its on at 8:00 CST tonight (Tuesday).
As Norman says it will be interesting to see if they portray him as he really was if we can really know or somewhere in between.
Not everything purporting to be history on TV is well researched and well written, even on PBS, but the American Experience programs have always been good on both counts.
PBS channel 9 at 9 O'clock in the Seattle Wa. area
Half of the review in today's paper was very negative and what a tyrant and bad person he was. Typical PBS slant.
Bumping again too.
The reviewers can't be that wrong......he was a tyrant.......poor Edsel.......
Dang it Bob, I thought I was making a big time brand new announcement and while I was typing it Craig gave this thread a bump. Dang it Craig.
Now I refuse to watch it. I wanted to be the guy with the news. Dang it.
LOL.......bump it again in 15 minutes.......
9:00 PM WestCoast Time on Channel 16 on T.WarnerCable.
Take notes fellars !!!! Steve will probably have a Pop Quiz.
35 minutes 'til air time. I hope I can stay awake that long.
8:00 PM Central Time
Excellent, I'm back in my room in Des Moines IA. I hope it's on the hotel channel list.....
I am hearing a lot of pros and cons about this program.
If you want to find out the closest to the truth you'll ever find, read David L. Lewis book " THE PUBLIC IMAGE OF HENRY FORD".
David Lewis is the acclaimed expert on Henry Ford. You will get the truth without all the media hype.
Dan, this is on PBS and so far it seems they're not going to far off the beam. lot's of real good footage. Thanks for the name of the book. Now I've got something else to look forward too. The only problem I've got with this show right how is that I missed the first 25 minutes of it. It was my fault though. I called Andy Loso just as it was coming on and talked to him about rebuilding the rearend on my sedan. I think there's something seriously wrong with me because I enjoy working on the motors and transmissions but have a terrible mental block when it comes to working on the rearends. I take them out and put them back but I don't rebuild them. And I've done them on other vehicles with little or no problem. I just don't like the idea of doing a model t rearend.
Very good so far.
And here comes "Henry's Rules to Live By or Lose Your Job"........
Wow, I thought quite an interesting program. As with many of us, Henry Ford had his qualities, demons, successes and failures. Maybe magnified due to his tremendous success.
Pretty good. Skipped some dark stuff but overall truthful. Only error I caught was the color bit on the T's. "First green only then black".
I noticed that error on colors too, and Doug Brinkley saying young Henry worked on "wrist watches", which men didn't wear until WWI. There was indiscriminate mixing of Model T footage from different eras, but I thought they got the main points of the story right.
About to start here...one of the very rare times I'll watch a network TV show...grin..
Power went off half way through the show but came back right away. I did try to record the show and may have all but 30 seconds of it if it worked on the old VCR.
Good show but when they crushed the T I wanted to stop them!
It looked like to me, that during the story of the Model T era that there was footage of the assembly line showing Model A engines. I caught the wrist watch and the green then black color mistake too. When I said something out loud my wife asked me if I was going to do that through the whole show.
Too tired to watch any more although I did get through most of it I think. Mostly what I expected but I have noticed one thing - virtually all the stock footage of the Model Ts they show, sport a glossy paint finish, contrary to what I have seen posted over and over here on the forum.
Decent for the most part and he was not portrayed nearly as bad as a tyrant as the local liberal rag indicated in their review.
I noticed that the car in the crusher wasn't a T or any Ford for that fact. Yeah I caught the color of T's also. Show late engines w/vaporizer, then quick cut to NH type.
Mostly correct and even the minor mistakes were not the typical gross misinterpretations that I expect to see from the typical history rewrite provided by the average hacks over at A&E or The History Channel.
Rating: B Plus I say.
Very good program I thought even with the color mistake. I caught that also. It made me see Henry Ford in a whole new light and not in a good way. You can't help but feel sorry for Edsel. Never able to please his father and then an early demise. Poor guy.
It looked like the crushed car heading into the melting pot tried one last lurk to get away, my wife saw it too, we got a chuckle out of that. Good show! I will watch it again when it replays. Jim
Having read Alan Dershowitz book on Henry Ford as told by Henry 2,Then seeing this PBS special. I have a new disdain for Henry Ford.
As Edsel aged you could see the stress in his face of a beaten man compounded by cancer.
I'm glad they pointed out the fact that Henry was a S.O.B. to his son
furthermore the one clip with them talking together father and son you saw the contempt for each other.
One has to wonder if Edsel was given true control of the factory where would Ford be today?
Maybe I missed something but I noticed when the nararator was talking about Ford's years in the early to late teen's the film footage was always in the black years. In other words not many photos or film of the brass era.
The theme of the show was on Ford himself so the oversights about the particulars of the Model T's is understood.
The show to me is a good history of the good, bad and ugly of Ford. Especially bringing out the point about Ford trying to make Edsel a carbon copy of himself.
Human nature never changes and Fords private life with his friends and family proves it.
Most all of the innovators who built and made real inpressions in America had a dark side as well as the good.
Think of J. Paul Getty, Howard Hughes and sports figures??! The list goes on.
Showing photos from the wrong year seems to be a problem with most documentaries. The script usually seems to be written by a real historian that knows the stuff. The problem must be in the editing which is usually done by one person working alone. They really need to have a history consultant working with the film editor. I think this one thing that sets producer Ken Burns apart from the others. His films always seem to “flow” without any glaring anachronisms.
I was a bit surprised that several topics were not mentioned even briefly. These include 1) Ford's role in successfully defeating the Selden patent, 2) Ford and his Peace Ship campaign to end the First World War, and 3) Ford's hiring early on of blacks, the handicapped, and people who had served time in prison.
In a 2 hour documentary, one can not get deep into the details, but these 3 items are fairly significant, particularly Ford's victory over the Selden patent.
Admit some significant things were missing. Like WWI. On the other hand they went out of their way concerning the Chicago libel trial and it's result. It's odd how some of these guys go a little nuts with money/power. Hughes was mentioned. You could even include Michael Jackson in this bunch. They push away everyone that even gives half a crap about them and surround themselves with destructive morons. Like the 2 guys mentioned above Ford died alone. Yeah, his wife was there but he'd thrown her a few curve balls over the years. Absolutely every one was gone. Left or pushed out.
The handycap thing was mentioned in a off base sort of way. Something like he found jobs that men with one arm could do etc.
You guys all missed the big picture. One of the main sponsors of this show was the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The whole thing was GM propaganda, meant to tear at the Ford Motor Co. of today.
I'm only half kidding..
The first 15 minutes was really full of errors. The rest of the program was entertaining, if not all factual.
I thought the end was very odd. It made reference to Fordlandia, in S. America, as if it had been mentioned earlier in the program, (did I miss that part?), and was somehow significant.
As others stated, too bad they focused heavily on the embarrassing liable suit loss while saying nothing of the Selden patent victory. You could argue that Selden thing was more FoMoCo history than Henry Ford history, I guess. Overall, well done, with small errors as noted by others, but nothing really new.
Yes, Jerry, near the opening they reported on Henry buying something like 2 million acres to plant rubber trees, and turn the natives into productive workers.
To be fair, the Selden victory was offset by Henry's refusal to pay royalties on other inventions he used.
They also failed to show how the T evolved, ever so slowly, and that parts from the latesT were usable on the earliesT.
I found it interesting as an X Ford assembly plant guy how many of the very early quirks of the company still carried over to modern day.
I can reflect back on issues of how important the security force was to the company and also things about social values of belonging to an faternal organizational helped in securing a job.
I enjoyed the show even though the cars didn't match up. Was glad they included some of Henry II corrections
To add another item to Niel's list; Henry's girl friend and her (and likely Henry's) son. Had DNA testing been available then the Ford family tree may have had an additional branch.
If you missed the documentary on tv, you can watch it online in its entirety:
I saw a few random portions of it. There was a clip where HF and EF were pictured and were talking. I'd never hear a recording of Henry before.
For those wanting to know more about Henry Ford I would recommend "The people's Tycoon" by Steven Watts. It is available in the I-tunes store for the I-pad. Probably can get at Barnes and Noble too.
To add to Gary's comment above, "The secret life of Henry Ford" by his probable son, John Côté Dahlinger (with help from a ghost writer) is good reading that completes the picture of the elderly Mr Ford. Not at all speculative - in fact quite believable in my humble opinion.
Ol' Henry seems to have had a lot of more time to spend fishing and talking with John in the 30's than with Edsel at the beginning of the century.
You can find it at amazon:
It was as if the audio and the visual were two completely separate projects. Whomever did the editing of the imagery apparently knew not one blessed thing about old cars because the short film clips of the Model T model years seemed to have been shuffled into random order like a deck of cards. At the very least, the brass cars should have preceded the steel cars. Even Mr. Ford himself appeared to alternate between being old, young and middle aged, over and over.
On the other hand, the audio component appeared to be reasonably factual, though generously sprinkled with minor inaccuracies—sort of like the occasional klinker you hear when a high school orchestra plays Beethoven's 5th. Had the written script been filtered through practically anybody on this forum, it would have been substantially improved. Had the film clips simply been strung together in chronological order; again, the whole project would have been substantially improved. It would have taken so little extra care to do the thing right.
I'm a little more perturbed by such a C-plus effort as produced by PBS than I would have been by The History Channel, which so dependably regurgitates this same, all too familiar brand of slap-dash documentary. Why? Because public television is funded by we, the people; this being just another example of the casual attitude with which our tax dollars are—and let me use the political expression du jour—"invested." No, it's not Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae—but, still...
Actually we're all just picking at a bag of loose nits. Overall it was quite factual and correct. All the public knows (or cares about) is "they were all black". That legend will never die mostly because it's easier than the truth. The occasional 10 second or less flash of a brass radiator going by is also only noticed by us. Should they have asked an authority? Yeah sure but on the other hand they only upset a hand full of viewers.
There were experts on board. Somehow, they weren't given the opportunity to correct the errors.
Many years ago, before the internet, I was working on a translation project from Dutch to English. It was for a series of greeting cards, and I was translating text from a well-known Dutch nature artist. I remember sketches of six different kinds of bumblebees, with their Latin scientific and Dutch common names. After exhausting local library reference rooms (including the St. Louis Zoo and the Botanical Garden), I took to the telephone. A chain of calls led me to the Federal Bee Research Center in Arizona. After explaining my problem, the fellow there said, "You don't really need a bee person. You need a bumblebee person." He then gave me the name of an amateur in North Carolina who was probably the foremost bumblebee expert in the U.S. In every phone call, I said, "There is someone in the United States who will complain that the translation is incorrect if it appears on a greeting card. I want to talk to that person now." If I could do all that for (at the time) ten cents a word for the translation, then surely PBS could do the same thing with Model Ts.
(Upshot: when a plant or animal doesn't occur in an area where a language is spoken, there is frequently no common name in that language that is the equivalent of the scientific name. That was the case with one of my bumblebees. It just doesn't exist in any English-speaking country, so there is no word for it. The expert agreed with me that it would be acceptable to translated the Dutch common name literally into English, which is what I did.)
There were not many brass cars shown. And also only a few of the "Improved" Model T's Also some of the cars depicted were not Fords. The one they shoved into the furnace was not a Ford. The fenders looked like it might have been a Dodge.
I have read several books on Ford or the Ford Motor Company, and they all had emphasis on different things.
I think this presentation was as factual as you can get. Nobody knows what was in the minds of the persons being depicted. We now know that stomach cancer and ulcers is caused by a bacteria, but in those days, it was thought to have been brought on by worry and pressures of life. It was unfortunate that Edsel suffered so much, but he could have done, as many other sons have done, pursue his own career. Edsel was trying very hard to help his dad, and I know from personal experience, that is sometimes hard to do. Even though we are sons and we also have sons, each one of us is an individual. Henry didn't do what his parents expected of him either. They wanted him to be a farmer, but he had other interests. Edsel did try to follow in his father's footsteps, but was unable to do so.
Anyway, it was a good presentation, and there were many good pictures of Model T's