History Detectives

History Detectives

infobox television
show_name = History Detectives
format = Informational Program/History
runtime = 1 Hour "(per episode)"
country = United States
network = PBS
imdb_id = http://disney.go.com/dxd/index.html?channel=16953&

caption =
num_episodes =
creator = Oregon Public Broadcasting/Lion Television
starring =
Wes Cowan "(Auctioneer, appraiser)"
Elyse Luray "(Appraiser, art historian)"
Gwen Wright "(Professor of Architecture, author, architectural advisor)"
Tukufu Zuberi "(Professor of Sociology, author)"
first_aired = 2003
last_aired = present
picture_format = 1080i HDTV|

"History Detectives" is a television program on PBS. A group of researchers (listed on right) help people to seek answers to various historical questions they have, usually centering around a family heirloom, an old house or other historic object or structure. Each investigation is presented as a "mystery" to be solved through consultation with other professionals knowledgeable about the subject and through research in historical archives and libraries.

Each episode features three segments; a different "mystery" is solved in each segment. Between segments, one of the detectives gives additional information, usually about the time period relating to the investigation or about good research techniques.

The show only airs original episodes in the summer months. Reruns air in some areas of the country the rest of the year, as well as the PBS Digital Channel, available in some markets. The sixth season began on June 30, 2008, with a new opening sequence - as well as each segment documented on film rather than on video tape. [http://pressroom.opb.org/programs/hide]


Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives" (from his 1977 album "My Aim Is True") is the show's theme song. Its unique drum sequences also serve as segues between each segment of an episode.

During an online chat with the "Washington Post" in 2005, Elyse Luray stated that each segment took approximately six weeks to complete. While on the show it appears that each filmed segment is happening spontaneously, the research is generally completed prior to filming, and the investigator will then later return to certain research points for filming so the investigation will appear as a coherent story for the viewer. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2005/09/02/DI2005090201568.html]

It should be noted, despite the title of this show, none of the hosts are trained Historians: an appraiser, an auctioneer, a sociologist, and an architect.

External links

* [http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives Official PBS "History Detectives" website]
* [http://pressroom.pbs.org/programs/history_detectives Preview of the 6th Season]
* [http://blip.tv/file/474936 Video interview with "History Detectives" host Gwendolyn Wright on The Alcove with Mark Molaro]

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