We Will Not Exhibit A Lie

The headline’s play on American mythology relates to History Channel‘s "Save Our History: The Search for George Washington" (Feb 17, 10pm) on intriguing levels. What characterized the 1st US president at his early ages, and what did he look like? Is perhaps the founding father’s most iconic image—the $1 bill—a truly precise representation? The net’s captivating program chronicles a 2-year research project to ascertain the true look of the 1st US president at ages 19, 45, and 57, with the goal of accurately depicting GW in a new exhibit at historic Mount Vernon. And the processes involved mirror what the net’s programming is all about. "Our viewers are fascinated by the intersection of history and technology," said History’s chief historian Libby O’Connell. "There’s a sense of excitement, much like a detective show." Historians, forensic anthropologists and computer technicians from 4 continents helped uncover GW at pivotal stages: as a young surveyor full of ambition, as the commanding general of the Continental Army at Valley Forge, and as the new head of a fledgling and upstart nation. The team used computer imaging of historic sculptures to nail down facial features, examination of his clothes housed at the Smithsonian for exact proportions, even comparison of famous GW portraits to establish truthful renderings. Of course, most of what’s left of the man is from his later years, and permission to access his Mount Vernon grave was denied. So producers relied on computer imaging and other high-tech methods to flesh out data from the unknown periods. Even Blueskin, 1 of GW’s 2 horses, played an important part in the project. The results now stand sentry at the VA estate’s museum, a stunning testament to the symbiosis between science, technology and history. "People were overwhelmed" by both the show and the completed project, said O’ Connell, during a recent presentation. Net viewers will be, too. There is immeasurably more to GW than can be deduced from artwork and a greenback. CH

Highlights

 

"Nixon: A Presidency Revealed," Thurs, 8pm, History. Don’t look for huge revelations, although the interviews with Al Haig and Alexander Butterfield are terrific. This is still excellent watching, especially for viewers younger than 35, because it’s a terrifically even-handed look at a man and a presidency whose mention usually produces polarization. – "How to Eat Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It)," Thurs, 9pm ET, IFC. This doc proves Melvin Van Peebles‘ life story rivals that of Robert Evans for richness. SA

Worth a Look

"Wallis & Edward," Mon, 9pm ET, 10pm PT, BBC A. It’s easy to see why the King of England would fall for Joely Richardson‘s Mrs Simpson. The film’s production values, particularly its costumes, are gorgeous, too. – "Tim and Eric Awesome Show," Sun, 11:45pm, Adult Swim. The pilot ep that launches these 2 comedians’ series didn’t seemed far more original than funny, although at 11:45pm it might be. — "Kim Possible," 4th season premiere, Sat, 8pm, Disney and Toon Disney. Part of the Disney formula calls for spreading its stars around its properties, so we have the voice of "HS Musical’s" Ashley Tisdale debuting on this hit cartoon series. SA

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Indy Show Hits Screens This Week

The fifteenth annual joint Independent Show is going to look a little different this year, but ACA Connects and NCTC have pivoted to bring a full virtual experience to their members.

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