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Steam & Excursion > Locos depicted in TV Documentaries


Date: 11/15/12 16:01
Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: andersonb109

I just watched an otherwise good program on the History Channel called "Men who built America." This episode was on railroads and pipe lines. Only when it came to using locomotives suitable for the era being discussed, they really blew it. Somehow, the Milwaukee Road 261 ended up portraying steam from the turn of the century. And not this recent one either. Why can't a quality network such as this strive to be more authentic? There are other locos around that more closely fit the time being discussed.



Date: 11/15/12 17:09
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: tomstp

To them a "train is a train is a train".



Date: 11/15/12 17:46
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: junctiontower

Heck in the final episode that featured Henry Ford, they had an actor plying him that not only looked NOTHING like him, he was a good 20 years too young for the era portrayed, the cars shown in his race with Alexander Winton in 1901 were at LEAST ten years too new, the track was portrayed as roads instead of an oval, and the time of year was wrong. Of even more important note, most of the details concerning the Selden Patent lawsuit were either wrong, misleading or out of chronological order. If this particular episode reflects the entire series, I would be wary of EVERYTHING you saw.



Date: 11/15/12 18:07
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: Margaret_SP_fan

The producers usually don't care about
historical accuracy at all. TV is very
expensive to produce, and making things
historically accurate would take more time
and cost more in salaries for whoever does
the research, so: they just kinda take the
easy way out, and just throw it together.

I really feel sorry for people who get their
history (or science) from TV programs -- with
some notable exceptions, such as "Cosmos", "Nova",
"Nova -- Science Now" (hosted by Dr. Neil deGrasse
Tyson), and "The Human Spark" with Alan Alda, all on PBS.
All most TV shows are -- even the History Channel --
is infotainment, with the emphasis on entertainment.
Sigh.....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/16/12 19:33 by Margaret_SP_fan.



Date: 11/15/12 18:08
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: CarolVoss

I think the overriding excuse is "poetic license" :-)
C.

Carol Voss
Salinas, CA



Date: 11/15/12 21:13
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: wjpyper

I have seen the same type of errors involving vintage airplanes being misidentified on History Channel documentaries.



Date: 11/15/12 21:56
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: 3751_loony

Even worse, I cringed with every steam shot that had a diesel horn blaring, instead of a nice, melodious steam whistle...

JimBo

Jim Montague
IRVINE, CA
Train and Nature photo Art



Date: 11/15/12 22:01
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: patd3985

Being a history buff and also a "film accuracy freak", I watched ALL episodes of this so called History Channel documentary! It was filled with nothing but repetitions of innacuracy and total hogwash! From steam locomotives from Europe and elsewhere to... Well, you get my drift! It was very disappointing and complete rubbish! Was that even a Ford auto that he was driving? I have a 1930 Model "A" and am in the process of getting a 1923 Motel "T" Touring car.



Date: 11/15/12 22:37
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: Evan_Werkema

My favorite was a program that aired on the Discovery Channel about 8 years ago called "Industrial Wonders: Transcontinental Railroad." As the title suggests, it was a documentary/dramatization of the building of the transcontinental railroad. It looks like the program is now on Youtube in five parts, and the fifth part includes their re-creation of the golden spike ceremony starting at about 6:40:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzbCkMjdZKE

A bit of digital wizardry has D&SNG narrow gauge 2-8-2 #476 (standing in for Central Pacific's "Jupiter," but with "Rio Grande" still on the tender!) meeting the mirror image of Sierra's standard gauge, three truck Shay #2 (subbing for Union Pacific 119). Actually, the Shay did double-duty - in an earlier scene starting about 5:45, it's masquerading as a Central Pacific engine with a balloon stack. The scenes in the show are done up in sepia - this is how the engine looked in full blazing color:

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?10,588706

There must be an interesting story as to why they couldn't/didn't/weren't able to film the replica 4-4-0's that live at the actual site of the event. Maybe they couldn't find them - after all, they give the meeting place as "Promontory Point."



Date: 11/16/12 16:25
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: kingman

They made a lot of errors. Rockefeller was played by a 6ft 4 actor when young to midle age and a guy 6 inches shorter in the short views when he was old. He was in reality about 5ft 10 . The European trains looked terrible , and it was so sketchy and not filled out at almost all the points they were making . Poor job overall I thought and appeared to be done on the cheap.



Date: 11/16/12 16:33
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: LarryDoyle

Ken Burns rather well respected program on the construction of the transcontinental railroad shows pictures of equipment with air brake hoses - air brakes were first manufactured two years after the driving of the golden spike.

-LD



Date: 11/16/12 18:32
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: RuleG

Margaret_SP_fan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The producers usually don't care about
> historical accuracy at all. TV is very
> expensive to produce, and making things
> historically accurate would take more time
> and cost more in salaries for whoever does
> the research, so: they just kinda take the
> easy way otu, and just throw it together.
>
> I really feel sorry for people who get their
> history (or science) from TV programs -- with
> some notable exceptions, such as "Cosmos",
> "Nova",
> "Nova -- Science Now" (hosted by Dr. Neil
> deGrasse
> Tyson), and "The Human Spark" with Alan Alda, all
> on PBS.
> All most TV shows are -- even the History Channel
> --
> is infotainment, with the emphasis on
> entertainment.
> Sigh.....

For history programming, you can add PBS's "American Experience" which I feel is far superior to anything shown on the History Channel. There were a American Experience shows about railroads, notably one on streamlined passenger trains that I recall being pretty accurate.

I also watched well-made PBS documentaries about the Kinzua Viaduct in northwestern Pennsylvania and the Rio Grande Zephyr.



Date: 11/20/12 01:25
Re: Locos depicted in TV Documentaries
Author: dan

the flagler show about rails to the sea showed British engines, on the evacuation train



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