Premieres Sunday, December 4 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel
They were all major events that would leave a lasting imprint on America, and their narratives were shaped by the news coverage they received. With no narration or interviews, relying entirely on radio reports, television footage, rarely seen photographs, and other media, a new Smithsonian Channel series, “THE LOST TAPES,” will dive deeper into these gripping events, recapturing moments as they happened, raw and unfiltered.
The first installment, “THE LOST TAPES: PEARL HARBOR,” will premiere Sunday, December 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the attacks that brought the U.S. into World War II.
“This is TV at its most raw, its most visceral,” said David Royle, Executive Vice President of Programming and Production, Smithsonian Channel. “It’s a unique approach. It plunges us into the midst of events, lets us witness the drama unfolding as if we were there at the time, and allows us to make up our own minds. It only uses contemporary reports and images and has an immediacy that is always fascinating and sometimes shocking.”
The production team scoured archives from around the world in search of unseen and unknown film and radio reports of the Pearl Harbor attack and its aftermath. Among the startling finds is the only known live report of the bombing as it was happening, from a local radio reporter calling into NBC who was standing on the roof of a publishing company in Honolulu. Shocked by what he saw, he felt compelled to add, “It is no joke. This is a real war.” The first official response from the White House didn’t come from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but from his wife, Eleanor, who assured her country, “We know what we have to face, and we know that we are ready to face it.”
Ensuing episodes of “THE LOST TAPES” will air in 2017 timed to their anniversaries: The Los Angeles riots of April, 1992 that followed the acquittal of four officers charged with using excessive force on stranded motorist Rodney King, the capture of the Son of Sam serial killer in New York City in August, 1977, and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the domestic terrorist group the Symbionese Liberation Army, which ended in her arrest in September 1975.