Ken Burns' Baseball, historical documentary series 1994, 7th Inning - The Capital of Baseball
Baseball is a 1994 American television documentary miniseries created by Ken Burns about the game of baseball. First broadcast on PBS, this was Burns'
ninth documentary and won the 1995 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series. It was funded in part by the National Endowment for the
Baseball is similar to Burns' previous documentaries such as The Civil War, in the use of archived pictures and film footage mixed with interviews for
visual presentation. Actors provide voice over reciting written work (letters, speeches, etc.) over pictures and video. The episodes are interspersed with
the music of the times taken from previous Burns series, original played music, or recordings ranging from Louis Armstrong to Elvis Presley. The series
was narrated by John Chancellor, the former anchor of the NBC Nightly News from 1970 to 1982.
The documentary is divided into nine parts, each referred to as an "inning", following the division of a baseball game. Each "inning" reviews a particular
era in time, mentioning notable moments in the world and in America itself, and begins with a brief prologue that acts as an insight to the game during
that era. The prologue ends with the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" just as a real baseball game would begin, being performed usually by a brass
band, with a couple of exceptions: The 1920s, where the rendition is played by a piano of the era, and the 1960s, where the rendition is the version
played by Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. In some "inning" episodes, a period version of the baseball anthem "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is used. Roughly
halfway through each "inning", a title card appears, reading "Bottom of" the inning, dividing the episode in two parts in a manner also recalling the
game; in the seventh "inning", the "Bottom" is immediately preceded by the "seventh-inning stretch".
Major themes explored throughout the documentary are those of race, business, labor relations, and the relationship between baseball and society. The
series had an audience of 45 million viewers, which makes it the most watched program in Public Television history.
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