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American Experience; Panama Canal


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American Experience
Panama Canal
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

On August 15th, 1914, the Panama Canal opened connecting the world's two largest oceans and signaling America's emergence as a global superpower. American ingenuity and innovation had succeeded where, just a few years earlier, the French had failed disastrously. But the U.S. paid a price for victory: more than a decade of ceaseless, grinding toil, an outlay of more than 350 million dollars -- the largest single federal expenditure in history to that time -- and the loss of more than 5,000 lives. Along the way, Central America witnessed the brazen overthrow of a sovereign government, a revolutionary public health campaign, the backbreaking removal of hundreds of millions of tons of earth and construction on an unprecedented scale. The story of the canal features a cast of colorful characters ranging from an indomitable President to visionary engineers to tens of thousands of workers from around the world, rigidly segregated by race. Using an extraordinary archive of photographs and footage, Interviews with canal workers and first-hand accounts of life in the Canal zone, director Stephen Ives and producer Amanda Pollak (New Orleans, Roads to Memphis) unravel the story of one of the world's most significant technological achievements.

An Insignia Films production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

(c) 2010



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Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Panama Canal,” 12/17/2010, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 25, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_B22EADA1A9A94168878F0E11F02F5DF5.
MLA: “American Experience; Panama Canal.” 12/17/2010. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 25, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_B22EADA1A9A94168878F0E11F02F5DF5>.
APA: American Experience; Panama Canal. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_B22EADA1A9A94168878F0E11F02F5DF5
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