TV Special on Annie Oakley Tonight

Even the New York Times concedes that this is an excellent show tonight:

Plenty of women accomplished plenty of things in the first century or so of United States history, so it's a little dismaying to think that the country's first female superstar was famous not for her voice or her musicianship or her brain, but for her ability to shoot firearms accurately. Yet tonight's installment of "American Experience" on PBS makes the case that Annie Oakley was the first American woman whose fame and knack for spawning legends (a close cousin of gossip) qualified as superstardom.

Even if her particular talent is not to your liking, it would be difficult to watch this program and not be awed by the woman's life. Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Moses in Ohio in 1860, lived during a remarkable stretch of history that encompassed both the Civil War and World War I, one that began on horseback by lamplight and ended in automobiles under electric bulbs.

So familiar are the images of Oakley in old-time Western regalia, making her seem like some preindustrial artifact, that it's surprising to see movies of her, shot by Thomas Edison in his New Jersey studio. It's surprising too to track the incredible array of luminaries she met or performed for or with, Sitting Bull on the one extreme, Oscar Wilde on the other. . . . . .

Thanks to Don Kates for letting me know about this.


Blogger FZ said...

I know this is old, but cripes, being dismayed because Oakley was famous for shooting (a recreation enjoyed by millions around the world?)

Can the NYT keep their insufferable, fanatical left wing bias out of anything?

5/25/2013 8:10 PM  

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