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September 13, 2007
Ken Burns in Sacramento: The Crest premiere

Ken Burns 92054_52.JPG
(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 �world premiere� of his documentary, �The War,� which features some Sacramentans. He�ll be in San Francisco for another �world premiere� 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 Burns� �Victory Tour� 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.

We�ll give you the highlights. But first, about this �world premiere� thing:

Sacramento is actually the fourth city to have a �world premiere.� The other three cities Burns chose to feature in his epic � Luverne, Minn., Mobile, Ala., and Waterbury, Conn. � already had their �world premieres� 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, �Ken Burns, you�re an inspiration to all of us.�

David Hosley, general manager of KVIE, which sponsored the showing, said Burns �defines what public television is.�

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, �Filmmakers hate to show clips. So I�ve told the ushers to lock the doors. You�ll be out by 10 o�clock tomorrow morning, if we take no bathroom breaks.�

Hosley moderated a Q&A afterward, and Burns graciously answered the same questions he�d 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 �The Civil War� and now �The War,� what his next documentary will be about. He smiled and said it will be a look at the history of America�s national parks.

�Nobody dies,� he quips. �It�s soooo nice.�

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