Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Frank Capra's "Our Mr. Sun" (1956) and Other TV Docs

From 1956-58, Frank Capra wrote, directed, and produced a series of four television documentaries that aired several months apart for the Bell Telephone System. They were: Our Mr. Sun (1956), on the composition of the sun, its effects on the Earth, and the use of solar energy; Hemo the Magnificent (1957), about the circulatory system in the human body; The Strange Case of Cosmic Rays (1957), about the effect of cosmic rays on the Earth; and The Unchained Goddess (1958), about weather study.

The first of the series, Our Mr. Sun, is available on the Internet Archive. The third, The Strange Case of Cosmic Rays, is on You Tube. I watched Our Mr. Sun and although was bored through the first twenty minutes or so, I then got into it, particularly the talk of solar energy (coming back around these days). I ultimately found it charming and interesting. It was also nice that Lionel Barrymore was one of the voices, a reuniting with Capra since It's A Wonderful Life, and surely one of his last performances (he died in 1954). The Strange Case of Cosmic Rays, despite the presence of the Bil and Cora Baird puppets, is dull. An eye-opening one-minute excerpt of The Unchained Goddess is on You Tube which addresses global warming a la An Inconvenient Truth. (All four are available on DVD.)

Link to Our Mr. Sun from the Internet Archive NOTE: It will run smoothly after it loads all the way.

Embed of The Strange Case of Cosmic Rays: Part 1 (full three parts total available) from You Tube:

Embed of global warming excerpt from The Unchained Goddess from You Tube:

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