Ken Burns has been making films for more than thirty years. Since the Academy Award nominated BROOKLYN BRIDGE in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. Ken has been the recipient of more than twenty-five honorary degrees and has delivered many treasured commencement addresses. He is a sought after public speaker, appearing at colleges, civic organizations and business groups throughout the country. Here you'll find his 1 part documentaries that are not part of a series.
Inning One, Our Game, looks at the origins of baseball in the 1840s and takes the story up to 1900. Burns refutes the myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown and traces its roots instead to the earliest days of the nation — there are records of a game called "Base" played at Valley Forge..
Inning Two, Something Like a War, takes viewers through 1910 and introduces some of the game's most celebrated and colorful characters, including Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.
Inning Three, The Faith of Fifty Million People, examines the century's second decade, which was dominated by the Black Sox scandal. George Herman "Babe" Ruth makes his first major league appearance (as a member of the Boston Red Sox) and a wave of immigration helps fill the stands with new fans, eager to "become American" by learning America's game.
Inning Four, A National Heirloom, concentrates on Babe Ruth, whose phenomenal performance thrilled the nation throughout the 1920s and rescued the game from the scandal of the previous decade.
Inning Five, Shadow Ball, tells the story of the Negro Leagues in the 1930s. The title refers to a common pre-game feature in which the players staged a mock game with an imaginary ball. Though unintended, the pantomime was an apt metaphor for the exclusion of blacks from major league play at that time.
Inning Six, The National Pastime, covers the 1940s and includes Joe DiMaggio's celebrated hitting streak, the awe-inspiring performance of Ted Williams and what Burns calls "baseball's finest moment" — the debut of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
Inning Seven, The Capital of Baseball, takes viewers through the 1950s when New York City had three successful baseball teams and dominated the World Series. By the end of the decade, the Giants and Dodgers had left New York, a signal that the old game was changed forever.
Inning Eight, A Whole New Ball Game, moves the field to the 1960s. This episode traces the emergence of television, the expansion to new cities and the building of anonymous multipurpose stadiums that robbed the game of its intimacy and some of its urban following.
Inning Nine, Home, looks at baseball from the 1970s to the present, including the establishment of the free agent system, the rise in player salaries, the continued expansion, the dilution of talent, the ongoing battles between labor and management and the scandals.
Covers the period from the early 1990's onward. Labor relations deteriorated badly in the early part of that decade leading to the players strike in August 1994. The Montreal Expos were the best team in baseball at the time but when a Federal judge blocked the owners from unilaterally imposing a contract (which would have let them use replacement players) it quickly came to an end and the players returned to work under the old contract. Attendance dropped after that but the game recovered quickly with the heroics of Cal Ripkin Jr. By the end of 1990's, fans were caught up in the home run derby presented by Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. There was also the first whiff of scandal when McGwire was accused of using steroids. It was also an era when new baseball stadiums were built in many cities, evoking an earlier age when the parks were built specifically for the sport. The curse of the Bambino finally came to an end with the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004. Barry Bonds broke McGwire's three year-old season home-run record and later Hank Aaron's HR record. The issue of drug use eventually led to Congressional hearings after the BALCO scandal and the Mitchell Report, which named many stars as having used performance enhancing drugs. This inning is dedicated to the late, great Buck O'Neil.
As the new millenium dawns, Baseball is more popular and profitable than ever, but suspicions and revelations about performance enhancing drugs keep surfacing, calling the integrity of the game itself into question.