Posted: 05/03/2010

 

On the Road with Charles Kuralt: Set 2

by Jef Burnham



Now available on DVD from Acorn Media.


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With the second set of On the Road with Charles Kuralt comes another 86 indispensable segments (in 18 episodes) from Kuralt’s years of chronicling American life off the freeways. These often humorous, sometimes sad, but always captivating segments range from brief histories of those who shaped America’s past, such as George Washington, to profiles of the exceptional, unknown modern American, including a 15-year-old boy who learned to clog despite being completely deaf, a retired man who fixes toys year-round for less fortunate children on Christmas, and eight imprisoned American soldiers who risked their lives during wartime to get their starving, Russian comrades a handful of extra rations.

Kuralt soothingly narrates each segment with the voice of one who cares deeply for each and every person he has ever met. And though he often recites others’ poetry in his narration, when he uses his own words he proves to be every bit the poet himself. He saw beauty and art everywhere: in the faces and actions of the common man, in the vastness of the American landscape, and in every minute detail of human existence. Kuralt was Mark Twain in a motor home— infatuated with his America at least as much as Twain was his, but with a decidedly less cynical eye. He was a man whose ear had become fine-tuned to the musicality of American life, and, with his ear for a story, 5 buses, and a tight-knit crew, he assembled one of the greatest bodies of work ever composed on the subject of the American people.

Simply put, On the Road with Charles Kuralt is an absolutely essential text to understanding the American way of life, and not just the facts about our history, but the beauty of our triumphs and the bitterness of our failures.

Now, if you are familiar with the first set, it may be of interest that Set 2 contains far more segments from the early years of On the Road than the first. And like the first set, special features include the text features “About On the Road” and a biography of Charles Kuralt, as well as more Road updates, providing follow-ups to Kuralt’s original pieces, some of which date back 40+ years.

Read the review of Set 1 here.

Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.



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