Philadelphia history told in 'The Great Experiment'
PHILADELPHIA - April 21, 2011 (WPVI) -- In a city where history is a universal point of pride, its vestiges seamlessly intermingled in the skyline; the story of what was has long been left untold.
Before a capacity crowd at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Center City, businessman and former political candidate Sam Katz unveiled his latest effort, a documentary detailing the birth and often rough and tumble life of Philadelphia; what he calls "The Great Experiment."
The 22 minute premier episode documents the city from 1865 to 1876, from the jarring death of President Lincoln, to the painstaking construction of City Hall, to the sometimes reluctant end of slavery.
It is warts and all. The film, Katz says, is an ambitious effort to tell the city's story in a way not yet seen on video.
"You know this story was told about New York. There are 8 two hour DVD's. And about Chicago, and about Las Vegas, which has no history," says Sam Katz.
Now Philadelphia has one. But it's just the beginning.
Katz and his production team have 6 more episodes that, right now, only exist on paper. The goal is to raise enough money to get the stories from the script onto the screen.
"Philadelphia always seems to be running behind New York and Washington," said Chris Levin. "We're never in the front. They get all the attention. So it's time for us."
"I'm very much looking forward to the next 6 episodes. I think it's a great tribute to the city and its citizens," Charlie Gerow said.
Each hour of content costs $750,000 to produce, Katz says, which is part of the reason he has teamed up with 6abc, which will raise awareness of the effort by broadcasting the pilot next Tuesday night.
Those who saw the film Thursday night, say it's a story very much worth re-living.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, local/state, brian taff
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