Grand Excursion
Last update: June 26, 2004 at 9:44 AM

Mississippi River and its history are focus of TV shows


Twin Cities Public Television is airing a number of programs about the Mississippi River and its history -- including a new documentary by Charles Strinz, "Back on the Mississippi: Hidden Trails, Offbeat Tales." The documentary grew out of a driving trip Strinz made along the river in 1996.

"I thought it would be fun to do a television show about it someday," he says. "Then the Grand Excursion came along and I thought this would be a good way to give it a beginning and an end."

"Back on the Mississippi" visits more than a dozen cities on the Upper Mississippi and finds little-known stories about the people and places along the river. It explores Buffalo Bill Cody's river roots, goes into the country's first lead mine, visits the birthplace of America's favorite water sport and shows what happens when a big rock visits a small house.

The show will air:

  • Sunday, June 27 - 5 p.m. on KTCA Channel 2,
  • Wednesday, June 30 - 9 p.m. on KTCI Channel 17
  • Saturday, July 3 - 7 p.m. on KTCI Channel 17
  • Sunday, July 4 - 9:30 a.m. on KTCA Channel 2.

For information about Back on the Mississippi and the educational material that can be used with it, go to

As part of its Grand Excursion programming, Twin Cities Public Television is bringing back a classic, "Mark Twain Tonight!" a one-man performance by Hal Holbrook. Holbrook has done his interpretation of Mark Twain for decades on many stages. He performed live on television only once in 1967 and the show has not been re-broadcast before now.

Twain's commentary on politics, religion, patriotism and more is amazingly contemporary, and Holbrook captures his muse's humor and irreverence. "Mark Twain Tonight!" is followed by a rebroadcast of an interview of Hal Holbrook - as Mark Twain - with Bill Moyers.

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