THE CHEMICAL AND ALCOHOL-FREE ANTIDOTE FOR DEPRESSION | The Best of On the Road With Charles Kuralt [VHS]
The Best of On the Road With Charles Kuralt [VHS]
Fox Video, Inc., 1997
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The late CK would be proud to find out that a lot of us folks still admire his work very much. He planted the seeds of kindness and goodness, showing us that there was and is much good in America's heartland. He showed us that most people are good deep down.
Charles Kuralt Finds the Best of America
This video will reaffirm your belief in the simple goodness and joy that is America. The small town stories about gentle unknown American citizens that keep the spirit of their ancestors alive and well through age old family and community traditions.
You'll see maple sugaring, daffodil farms, Tom Sawyer Day celebrations, and those glorious Fourth of July parades across the country. You'll witness the seasons pass across our nation and understand how its regional differences make this country unique. Delightful, funny, and uplifting.
unaffecting manner brings out the
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THE CHEMICAL AND ALCOHOL-FREE ANTIDOTE FOR DEPRESSION
was the poet of small town America the way Vin Scully is the poet of Dodger Stadium. Relaxed, warm, folksy and deceptively insightful. He had a way of setting you at ease and somehow convincing you that the entire cosmos could be found in the minutia of this one fleeting moment. His beloved little program, 'ON THE
' (1967-80) in which he traveled the backroads of America in a motorhome to show us the real heart of the country was eagerly anticipated by countless people every weekend - myself included.
Once every couple of years, when I need a little lift, I get out my boxed set of THE
OF 'ON THE ROAD' WITH CHARLES KURALT' and pop in one of the three 60 minute tapes. I invariably end up watching all three in one sitting. It's as if once I'm on the road, I can't quite convince myself to pull into a rest stop. Just a few days ago I created a new Amazon Listmania List called, 'EXPLORE THE U.S.A.' in which I included this set. And then I felt inspired to view the tapes again, and decided to review them since currently only two other people have.
Tape 1 - THE AMERICAN HERITAGE: We start out at the beginning (always a good place to start) when Kuralt takes us to the roaring wind-swept dunes on Roanoke Island, North Carolina and the site that John White and the early English settlers of 1587 decided to call "Home." We see where they lived and ponder the great mystery of their disappearance.
Then it's off to Independence Hall in Philadelphia where independence from England was first declared, and where the U.S. Constitution was later hammered out. Kuralt relives those tumultuous times and his sense of awe and admiration is evident. "There were great men in those days. Never from that time to this has so much greatness crowded onto the American stage", he informs us. I for one, agree with him. But then Kuralt nominates his choice for "greatest" and takes us to Monticello, the stately residence of Thomas Jefferson and shows us the very bed that Jefferson passed away on one Fourth of July!
Then we go "on the road" again to the survey site of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. It's funny to hear Kuralt close the segment with the statement that "the French don't talk about it much." In The American Heritage we also get to visit Wyoming's "Register Cliff" on the Oregon Trail; the place of Custer's Last Stand at Little Bighorn, Montana; the old Spanish Missions of California; horseback cowboys in Texas; Dearborn, Michigan and the Henry Ford museum; Tuskegee University and the inspiring story of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver; and then to the annual Town Meeting in tiny Stamford, Vermont where pure Democracy is practiced.
Kuralt closes tape one with the comment: "All these places that we have visited are waiting for you to visit them, too. You'll feel prouder of the country afterwards. We do."
Most of these segments were originally filmed for television in the 1970's and so the picture clarity is not all that we've come to expect, and once or twice a trace of political correctness may seep in (afterall, this was a CBS-sponsored program), but these are small prices to pay for such richness that can be enjoyed again and again.
Tape 2 - SEASONS OF AMERICA: This time we go on the road with Charles Kuralt to experience the seasons. In Spring it's the "romance" of tapping maple syrup from trees in Vermont; harvesting daffodils in Virginia; at Appomattox Courthouse, where Lee surrendered to Grant, we find the blooming of the pink and white Dogwood's and learn that this is "the most American of trees being native to 40 of our states and native nowhere else on Earth."; then there's the indescribably heartwarming story of the old man of Surry County, Virginia and his 13 acre garden planted simply for the pleasure of others, and the surprising twist at the story's conclusion.
In Summer we go tubing on a river in Wisconsin; we participate in the funny, but heartfelt 4th of July activities in the small towns of the midwest, and in the Tom Sawyer Days celebration in Mark Twain's, Hannibal, Missouri. It just doesn't get more "American" than this!
Autumn finds us in Pacific Grove, California for the mysterious butterfly migration; Colorado Springs for the pumpkin harvesting by countless school kids at the Venetucci Brothers farm; and of course, Kuralt takes us to New England for the "shower of scarlet, lemon and gold leaves" and wood pile constructing in preparation for Winter.
In Winter, the horse, "Babe" takes us for a ride in an 1890 sleigh in Connecticut; in Miller's Mills, New York, we follow the honored tradition of genrations past in cutting and storing pond ice for next July's ice cream social; and we finish the year with the inspiring story of the miraculous Juniper tree in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and its yearly Christmas message to everyone "on the road."
Tape 3 - UNFORGETTABLE PEOPLE: Kuralt introduces us to many types of people here, like Bill Patch, who converted his old Nash Rambler to run on corn cobs - gets 3 miles to the bushel. With the price of gas, I'm ready to buy one! But my favorites were from the Carolinas: Jethro Mann, an old black man in Belmont, North Carolina, and Agatha Burgess, an old white woman in Buffalo, South Carolina. Mann, entirely at his own expense, restores old bicycles and loans them out daily to the poor kids in town so that they can all experience the pleasure of having a bike and being on the road. Burgess spends all day, every day, cooking in her small kitchen so that anybody who wants to, can have a hot homecooked meal at a nominal price, and eat it in her own home. It's what she wants to do, and she tells us that she "always gets what she wants", and sagely adds, "But I know what to want."
And then there's the wonderful story of the formerly dirt-poor and cotton-picking Chandler family of Mississippi. There's parents Alex and Mary, and their nine children, all who helped one another to graduate from college. We join them for their Thanksgiving celebration and watch as they are all reduced to tears in thanking God for His goodness.
THE BEST OF 'ON THE ROAD' WITH CHARLES KURALT is a great set. It should be enjoyed by any viewer, and I think it would make an excellent additon to a homeschooler's library. If you can watch all 3 of these tapes and never once feel the moisture of joy welling up a little in your eyes, then there is simply no warmth left in you. This doesn't just mean that you're dead, of course, but that you've likely been dead for a good long while.
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