Life In The Thirties (Project Twenty)
C+ Sound: C Extras: D Program: B-
documentary programs were often much like the theatrical newsreels their medium
would kill off by the 1960s. One of
NBC-TV’s earliest attempts to do so was the Project Twenty series, and Life
In The Thirties (1959) is a great example of one of those shows. Alexander Scourby narrates this sometimes
cheeky overview of the 1930s as decade of news.
To fit an hour-long time slot, this had to be tight, but because this
was something new to TV, it is also very general.
internet and entire networks devoted to history and past events, this can pale,
but must have been impressive enough for its time. However, the back of the DVD box offers more
content than the program delivers. Too
bad Shanachie and Koch did not take advantage of the DVD format to add like
episodes in the series or other enhancing supplements. For what is here, it is entertaining to
watch, if oversimplified.
frame image, all in black and white, is on the clean if not clear side. There are specks of dust and some print
damage, but this has survived surprisingly well for its age. The audio is not as lucky, sounding small,
even for Dolby Digital 2.0 and some kind of boosting should have been
applied. Too bad, but be careful when
you turn up your volume higher than usual.
There are no extras.
include The Hindenburg explosion footage, the New Deal, Swing, the Golden Age
of Radio and Swing music. I am most
disappointed with the lame wrap-up on the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Even for its time, this was bad. The program is fun and is worth a
- Nicholas Sheffo