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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Travel > History > Geography > On The Road With Charles Kuralt - Set 2 (Acorn Media DVD Set)

On The Road With Charles Kuralt - Set 2 (Acorn Media DVD Set)

Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B     Episodes: A+

Set 2 of On the Road With Charles Kuralt offers more stories of small-town America that will bring a smile to anyone's face.  Like in Set 1, these are positive stories about the sort of quirky people you're likely to meet at the local pool hall, church, or other nondescript venue.

This second three disc boxed set features Charles Kuralt at his finest, his masterful interviewing style bringing out the best in his subjects, played out over eighteen heart-warming episodes.  Some favorites on this box include Kuralt's interview with 103 year-old Lula Watson and a tear-jerking piece on a group of deceased WWII British mariners and their relationship to a North Carolina coastal town.  Viewers who enjoyed Acorn's first release in this series will certainly want the second one, as its stories and characters remain every bit as compelling as any in the show's long history.

Picture and sound clarity are both still a bit lacking when compared to contemporary productions, but after watching both boxed sets, the viewer might be tempted to think that the slightly grainy images and tinny sound befit On the Road, serving almost as a device that will help to transport the viewer back to the somewhat simpler time when the shows were first aired.  Extras include a biography of Kuralt, updates on some of the stories covered by the show, and a special feature entitled "About On the Road."

Above all it is Kuralt's uniquely lyrical, warbling voice that makes On the Road.  If journalism can be art, then Kuralt becomes a master painter, and with each story he uses his interview subjects to fill the television "canvas" with a brilliant riot of color and sounds.  It requires some kind of magic to, for example, make old rodeo cowboys seem young again (as Kuralt does in episode 16), and the viewer can sense while watching that the interview subjects in On the Road derive great pleasure telling their stories under the not-so-glaring lights of the show's cameras.  Perhaps they also felt the same pangs of regret as most viewers when Mr. Kuralt's RV trundled off down the road and around the bend to find some new adventure. Yet still the episodes remain, and both the show and Charles Kuralt's places in television history are certain.

-   Scott Pyle


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