THE ADVENTURERS presents thrilling stories of bravery, courage and daring, told through a powerful combination of historical footage, intimate firsthand accounts and dramatic reenactments. The series of one-hour programs offers inspirational testimony to the indomitable nature of the human spirit through profiles of seven famous adventurers: Neil Armstrong, Thor Heyerdahl, August and Jacques Piccard, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and Richard Byrd.
THE ADVENTURERS airs on PBS Mondays, October 20-November 17, 1997, 10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). Gavin MacFadyen narrates.
- "Neil Armstrong: Reluctant Hero" (10/20) It was a dream as old as humanity itself: to walk on the moon. On July 21, 1969, that honor fell to one man, a farm boy from Ohio named Neil Armstrong. His moon walk was the culmination of centuries of scientific advancement and a fervent national obsession with manned space flight. That moment of triumph, seen by millions on live television around the world, stands as one of the greatest achievements in the history of human exploration. NASA archives, evocative news footage, and personal interviews with colleagues and family provide an intimate portrait of the first man on the moon.
- "Thor Heyerdahl: Across the Sea of Time" (10/27) In an epic story of bravery and conviction, an unknown Norwegian academic named Thor Heyerdahl set out to convince the scientific world that ancient mariners crossed the world's great oceans. Heyerdahl was willing to risk his life to make his point. In 1947, in a balsa raft called the Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl and his crew embarked on one of the most daring and provocative voyages in history. Original crew members, actual expedition footage and Heyerdahl himself tell the captivating tale of their quest to solve the seafaring mysteries of the past.
- "The Piccards: To the Ends of the Earth" (11/3) This is the remarkable story of a Swiss family whose scientific quests compelled them to take perilous adventures into the earth's stratosphere and to the depths of the ocean. Physicist August Piccard built the first pressurized capsule and became the first to pilot a balloon into the stratosphere and live to tell about it. He then built a revolutionary submarine called the bathyscaph, which was capable of descending to the very bottom of the sea. In January 1960, August's son Jacques realized his father's dream when he piloted the craft to the deepest point on earth, 35,800 feet beneath the waves. Rare expedition footage and exciting first-person accounts offer a fascinating look at these genteel and fearless explorers.
- "Hillary and Tenzing: Climbing to the Roof of the World" (11/10) On May 29, 1953, a lanky New Zealander named Edmund Hillary and his climbing partner, Tenzing Norgay, became the first to reach the highest point on earth ó the summit of Mt. Everest. The few brief minutes these two men spent on top of the world profoundly affected the rest of their lives. Actual footage of the climb, sound recordings, letters, diaries and intimate interviews are woven together with evocative new sequences to tell this remarkable tale of human achievement.
- "Richard Byrd: Alone in Antarctica" (11/17) Hailed as an American hero, Richard Byrd soared into history when he claimed to be the first man to fly over the North Pole. Four years later, he topped this feat by flying over the South Pole. Then, in the winter of 1934, Byrd faced the ultimate challenge: to survive the Antarctic winter entirely alone. Fellow explorers, original expedition footage and dramatic reenactments shed new light on a controversial expedition that nearly cost Byrd his sanity and his life.
Day &time: check with your local PBS station
CREDITS Underwriters: Public Television Viewers, PBS and Corporation for Public Broadcasting Producer: Café Productions Ltd. in association with Devillier Donegan Enterprises Series producer: Hugh Purcell Producers/directors: Alastair Laurence ("Neil Armstrong"), Christopher Warren ("Thor Heyerdahl"), David Ash ("The Piccards"), Margaret Percy ("Hillary and Tenzing") and Ken Kirby ("Richard Byrd") Writers: Ed Fields ("Neil Armstrong," "Thor Heyerdahl" and "Hillary and Tenzing"), David Ash and Ed Fields ("The Piccards") and James Wilson ("Richard Byrd") Format: CC