|On Christmas Eve of 1944, Glenn Miller–considered as famous as the Beatles of his generation–was reported missing after boarding a plane flying over the English Channel that was never seen again – creating what is perhaps the biggest mystery and cold case of World War II.
After such incredible investigations as finding the guitar used by Bob Dylan to go electric, the Ampeg B-15 amp used by legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson in the 1960s, and more…PBS has now expanded a perennial favorite to give the History Detectives a grander mission — focusing on iconic cold cases in the U.S.
HISTORY DETECTIVES SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS, the reformatted eleventh season, will premiere "The Disappearance of Glenn Miller" on Tuesday, July 8th at 9:00 pm ET on PBS (check local listings). In this episode, history detectives Wesley Cowan, Tukufu Zuberi and Kaiama Glover lead an international investigation to find out what really happened to the legendary Glenn Miller.
If he was so afraid of planes, why would he board an aircraft over the English Channel during bad weather? With the help of a few experts and historians, the detectives uncover new clues revealing the truth about Glenn Miller, and putting all conspiracy theories to rest.
Experts and hosts from the series available for interviews. Please find below the official episode description, full-screener link, and press release.
The Disappearance of Glenn Miller
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
One of the most celebrated, beloved entertainers of the wartime era takes off from England in heavy fog, heading to France to entertain troops. His plane vanishes. Glenn Miller's disappearance is perhaps the biggest mystery and cold case of World War II. This HISTORY DETECTIVES investigation contains a great deal of new information: Miller's pilot was a rank novice who had never flown over the English Channel, never mind in appalling weather; documents from a Lancaster bomber pilot support another possible accounting of the plane's disappearance; and a 17-year old plane spotter's notebook — discovered in 2012 at a UK Antiques Roadshow — answers a question that has long baffled investigators: which route did Miller's aircraft take? In addition, the German-speaking Miller was working for the U.S. Army's Psychological Warfare Division, recording German language propaganda broadcasts and musical performances.
· Dennis Spragg, author (Boulder, CO) – wrote a book about Miller's disappearance and pulls together the impact of weather and air traffic control. He found that Miller's plane had a defective carburetor that the pilots and maintenance crew knew about. He says, "You have a perfect storm of human error, mechanical failure, and weather; not independent of one another – all three."
· Ed Polic, military historian (Boulder, CO) – helps investigate the pilot of Miller's plane, who had never flown over the English Channel, let alone appalling weather. In response to conspiracy theories, Ed says, "It's a real disservice to this patriot. In 1942, Glenn Miller was making 15-20,000 dollars a week, and he gave all that up and left his family to go raise the morale of troops."
· Wes Cowan (series host) – interviwed Spragg and Polic
· Tukufu Zuberi (series host) – conducted interviews in England, including with nephew John Miller at Twinwood Farm Airfield, outside of Bedford, England, where Glenn took off from on his last flight. John remembers when they were notified of Miller's disappearance and said it was tough on the whole family. Helen Miller, Glenn Miller's wife, wrote letters to the Army Air force for a year for more information, but never heard back. John's father looked for Glenn for years: they never found the body or the plane, so no one ever knew what happened. Tukufu also interviewed aviation historian and former Royal Air Force navigator Roy Nesbit, who was taken on to investigate his disappearance 40 years later.
HISTORY DETECTIVES SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS
Tuesdays, beginning July 1, 2014 @ 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS
— New Format Investigating Iconic Mysteries —
— Series Follows Three-Part TIME SCANNERS —
HISTORY DETECTIVES SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS, a new take on a PBS favorite, delves into the past this summer to explore some of America's most intriguing mysteries. Four episodes introduce the fresh perspective of a new detective and focus on a single story per hour. HDSI, the reformatted eleventh season of HISTORY DETECTIVES, debuts Tuesday, July 1-22, 2014, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS. Also debuting on July 1 is TIME SCANNERS at 8:00 p.m.
In each episode of HISTORY DETECTIVES SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS, veteran detectives Tukufu Zuberi and Wes Cowan join forces with new host Kaiama Glover to probe a single iconic mystery from America's past. What was behind the tragic sinking of the SS Sultana, one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history, at the end of the American Civil War? Can the detectives solve the mystery of one of the country's first recorded serial killings, the Austin Servant Girl Murders of the 1880s? What led to the mysterious vanishing of big band leader Glenn Miller during World War II? Who killed Jimmy Hoffa — and why?
The HDSI team brings modern forensic science and cutting-edge tools to these historical conundrums. As they discover new evidence, sift through clues and crisscross the country in search of answers, they uncover fresh leads and information to tell captivating stories from a new angle.
"We're giving the History Detectives a broader mission this season," says Bill Gardner, Vice President of Programming and Development for PBS. "They're using modern technology to solve some of the toughest cold cases in U.S. history, and what they uncover is pretty surprising."
The hosts of HISTORY DETECTIVES SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS are:
· Wesley Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer;
· Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; and
· Kaiama Glover, professor of literature of the French-speaking Caribbean and sub-Saharan West African cinema at Barnard College, Columbia University.
At 8:00 p.m. new three-part series TIME SCANNERS reveals physical and forensic mysteries of the ancient world's most iconic structures. Through cutting-edge technology that can "read" buildings, ruins and landscapes, this series allows viewers to reach out and touch the past. Hosted by Dallas Campbell ("Bang Goes the Theory"), a team of laser-scanning researchers from the University of Arkansas led by Steve Burrows, unlocks the secrets of the world's greatest engineering achievements. TIME SCANNERS airs Tuesdays, July 1-15, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
View past episodes of HISTORY DETECTIVES on our website at pbs.org/historydetectives http://pbs.org/historydetectives. "Like" HISTORY DETECTIVES on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/historydetectives. HISTORY DETECTIVES SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS is a co-production of Lion Television and Oregon Public Broadcasting for PBS.
About Lion Television
Lion Television creates hundreds of hours of programming every year from its production bases in the U.K. and U.S. Lion currently has more than 200 hours in production, specializing in entertainment, daytime, ambitious science and history shows.
OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in Oregon and southern Washington, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by its members.
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 109 million people through television and over 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS' broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS' premier children's TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents' and teachers' most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter,Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.
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