Tom Hanks “The Sixties” CNN #6 1968
7/31/14

The Tom Hanks’ produced original CNN series, THE SIXTIES, is a perfect cross-section and crossroads of American history for us right now. It is very poignant and recognizable because, as I write this blog, new related events are happening today. What is occurring now will become our history to look back on in only a few decades. Will we learn from our history this time?

The seventh episode of THE SIXTIES, entitled The Space Race, was scheduled to air beginning July 17, but due to current events, it was preempted. The invasion of Palestine by Israel, the shoot-down of Malaysian Flight 17 over the Ukraine, and the socially and economically motivated migration of Central Americans to the USA are tomorrow’s history.

During these last weeks of July 2014, we are experiencing future history. The Cold War, it seems, is still a valid problem. Israel and Palestine are again dangerous, and the American exclusion of immigrants is once more a pervasive drama. Must we go through this learning curve again?

The Space Race episode was rescheduled last week. This week’s show is entitled 1968, and it addresses the tragedies of that tumultuous year. Those twelve months held the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Tet offensive in Viet Nam, The Chicago Police riots, and the burning of American cities during riots by the disillusioned ghetto populations. The tape clips, commentators and interviews in this episode are pertinent to what is going on today in the millennium, straddling years through the 1960s and 2010s.

This episode, 1968, is a strong and precise documentation of that emotionally pivotal year for Americans. Many people lost hope, while some found new hope.

Gary Goetzman (HBO’s John Adams and The Pacific) of Playtone, Emmy award-winning producer Mark Herzog (History’s Gettysburg), and Tom Hanks have produced a vital historic archive, which we can refer to at any time to remember our mistakes so that we will not make them again.

CNN has found a media path designed to enlighten and expand the intellect of the TV audience, unlike some reality shows I have sampled. This series is the true reality show! It is a “no dumb-down zone.” CNN has given both sides of the story, which is what the media is supposed to do.

Post Script: CNN has been nominated this year for an Emmy for The Assassination of President Kennedy episode in this series.

John McCleary, author of The Hippie Dictionary

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