Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Greiner Doll

Unraveling Historical Mysteries

History Detectives 5 September 2005 at 9 p.m. on PBS

History Detectives -- America’s team of super sleuths is back for another season. Wes Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; Gwendolyn Wright, professor of architecture and professor of history, Columbia University; Elyse Luray, an independent appraiser and expert in art history; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania are once again investigating the homes, possessions and family histories of curious contributors from around the country. Using the latest investigative technology, the team of experts continues to uncover surprising facts about our nation’s history.

#309 -- In this special episode of History Detectives, three young people, junior super sleuths, join the expert hosts for three mysteries.

Coney Island Lion – A New York resident recently purchased a pair of giant zinc lion’s claws from the estate sale of a deceased collector of amusement park memorabilia. He believes the claws once adorned a huge lion that greeted visitors to the famed Steeplechase Park in Coney Island just outside of New York City. Could this be an artifact from bygone days, when tens of thousands flocked to the park for a breath of sea air and a whiff of excitement on its many rides? A young aspiring filmmaker who spent her childhood at Coney Island joins History Detectives to explore the colorful history of one of the earliest amusement parks in the country.

Legacy of a Doll – A Maryland woman owns a beautiful, antique and rare “Greiner” doll. Pinned to its dress is a note saying the doll once belonged to a former slave of the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Her grandson joins History Detectives to help her uncover the true story behind the doll and its legacy as they explore the complex and intriguing story behind General Lee’s relationship with slavery.

Ballet Shoes – A 12-year old ballet dancer in Long Island, New York, recently learned from her grandmother that her deceased grandfather once made ballet shoes for many of the top dancers in the 1920s and 30s, including the legendary Ziegfeld star Marilyn Miller. According to grandma’s tale, “Master Michele” created superb dance shoes from his tiny workshop on 42nd Street. His apprentice had been none other than Salvatore Capezio, who went on to become one of the most famous designers of ballet shoes. The junior contributor joins the History Detectives to find out if there is truth to the grandmother’s tale.

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