(Photo credit: Cable Risdon, 2002)
Ladies and gentlemen, Ken has left the building.
In truth, Ken Burns doesn't leave town until Fridaymorning, after concluding tonight's ï¿½world premiereï¿½ of his documentary, ï¿½The War,ï¿½ which features some Sacramentans. Heï¿½ll be in San Francisco for another ï¿½world premiereï¿½ Friday night.
But, since the judge finally signed the restraining order barring us from within 2,000 feet of Burns, we, alas, will not be blogging about him Friday. Kidding, just kidding.
Seriously, a large and appreciative crowd showed up at The Crest for the final installment (see the previous two postings below) of Burnsï¿½ ï¿½Victory Tourï¿½ of Sacramento before the Sept. 23 start of his PBS epic. Many of the World War II vets and family members interviewed in the doc were in attendance, as well as a gaggle of PBS geeks who worship (and rightly so!) Burns.
Weï¿½ll give you the highlights. But first, about this ï¿½world premiereï¿½ thing:
Sacramento is actually the fourth city to have a ï¿½world premiere.ï¿½ The other three cities Burns chose to feature in his epic ï¿½ Luverne, Minn., Mobile, Ala., and Waterbury, Conn. ï¿½ already had their ï¿½world premieresï¿½ earlier this month. On Sept. 7 in Luverne, the sellout crowd in the school gym gave him repeated standing ovations. On Sept. 8 in Mobile, 3,000 people showed up to hear him at a local college. And on Sept. 10 in Waterbury, the town held a parade for Burns.
Here in Sac, Burns was treated like the public-television rock star he has become. And they gave him a standing ovation after the 81-minute clip concluded.
Congresswoman Doris Matsui, who was also there, said, ï¿½Ken Burns, youï¿½re an inspiration to all of us.ï¿½
David Hosley, general manager of KVIE, which sponsored the showing, said Burns ï¿½defines what public television is.ï¿½
It all sounded very pious, but Burns showed a sense of humor to deflate any pomposity. Just before introducing the preview of the 14-hour film, he joked, ï¿½Filmmakers hate to show clips. So Iï¿½ve told the ushers to lock the doors. Youï¿½ll be out by 10 oï¿½clock tomorrow morning, if we take no bathroom breaks.ï¿½
Hosley moderated a Q&A afterward, and Burns graciously answered the same questions heï¿½d been asked since 7:30 this morning, when he went on local TV and radio talk shows. All told, he made seven appearances in 14 hours and still seemed ready to talk even after Hosley wrapped things up.
Someone asked Burns, best known for ï¿½The Civil Warï¿½ and now ï¿½The War,ï¿½ what his next documentary will be about. He smiled and said it will be a look at the history of Americaï¿½s national parks.
ï¿½Nobody dies,ï¿½ he quips. ï¿½Itï¿½s soooo nice.ï¿½