The Daily Pulse:

Attention Ken Burns/Smoky Mountain Fans

This arrived in our in-box too late to include in the current Metro Pulse calendar, but it's a must-see for anyone who: A) goes to the Smoky Mountains or B) loves Ken Burns documentaries. East Tennessee Public Television is holding a free preview screening of The National Parks: America's Best Idea this Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre.

The full, six-part series won't air on PBS until Sept. 27, so now's your chance to get your Ken Burns fix early. What's more, the doc's writer and co-producer, Dayton Duncan, will be there to answer questions from the audience after the screening. 

Walk-ins are welcome, but tickets are recommended to guarantee seating. Free tickets are available by emailing

Read the full press release on the jump.


Knoxville, TN - East Tennessee Public Television (ETPtv) is holding a special preview screening of the Ken Burns documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," on Monday, June 1 at the Tennessee Theatre. The free event; sponsored by the Friends of the Smokies, the Great Smoky Mountains Association and the National Parks Conservation Association; starts at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m.

"This spectacular documentary features some of the most breathtaking settings in the country," said Teresa James, President and General Manager at ETPtv. "We're honored to bring this incredible story of enduring inspiration to our viewers and invite everyone to watch the screening in another beautiful setting - our very own Tennessee Theatre." 

The hour-long preview screening explores the creation of the national parks including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Dayton Duncan, writer and co-producer of the documentary, will attend and take questions from the audience after the screening. Don Barger, Senior Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association, and Dale Ditmanson, Park Superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will also address the audience at the screening. 

Walk-ins are welcome, but tickets are recommended to guarantee seating. Free tickets are available by emailing 

The full, six-part, Florentine Films documentary will air nightly on ETPtv beginning on September 27. Filmed over the course of more than six years in some of nature's most spectacular locales from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska; the documentary is a story of people from every conceivable background -- rich and poor, famous and unknown, soldiers and scientists, natives and newcomers, idealists, artists, and entrepreneurs - who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved. In doing so, they reminded their fellow citizens of the true meaning of democracy. 

"This powerful story has inspired us to create our own documentary focusing solely on the Great Smoky Mountains," said James. "Our documentary is a part of our 'East Tennessee Stories' series and is called 'The Land, Its People and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.'" 

"East Tennessee Stories: The Land, Its People and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park" will also air on ETPtv on September 27. 

About East Tennessee Public Television
ETPtv, a nonprofit viewer-supported organization, provides lifelong learning opportunities to more than 950,000 homes in East Tennessee, southern Kentucky and eastern North Carolina. As a PBS affiliate, the station achieves this by broadcasting non-violent, commercial-free children's series; instructional programs to K-12 classrooms and home schooled students; basic skill and adult education series; and primetime shows that entertain, enlighten and educate. 

Comments » 1

  • May 29, 2009
  • 1:44 PM
ewv writes:

The arrogant removal of an entire rural community at Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains by wealthy, politically-connected big shots using eminent domain to take what they wanted was hardly "reminding their fellow citizens of the true meaning of democracy".

The National Park Service and its politically elitist backers like NPCA and Dayton Duncan's government-sponsored National Park Foundation have been doing this to people all over the country ever since. Government elitists seizing private property is not "America's best idea".

This latest Burns "documentary" was intended from the beginning by political operative Duncan, who says he wrote the script and produced the film for Burns, to be a political promotion of the National Park Service and is being used to lobby to further expand its powers, taxpayer subsidies and land acquisition at the expense of those in the way. The film relies on scenic and quasi-poetic rhetorical imagery to emotionally manipulate the viewers, while not telling them what happens to ordinary people who own land the elitists want.

For a more honest account of what the National Park Service does to real people watch the older PBS Frontlines documentary For the Good of All.

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