History Detectives

HDSI - Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?

Notorious teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa disappeared without a trace in 1975. Was he murdered? If so, who pulled the trigger and why? Watch as the History Detectives tackle this famous cold case.

Air Date 7/22/14

 
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HISTORY DETECTIVES returns to explore the stories behind historic sites, artifacts and tall tales told in cities across the country, with the help of an inquisitive team of fact-finders with an uncanny talent for uncovering the truth.
Upcoming Air Dates
  • #706 — History Detectives |
    Tuesday, Jan 24 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #707 — History Detectives |
    Wednesday, Jan 25 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #708 — History Detectives |
    Thursday, Jan 26 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #709 — History Detectives |
    Friday, Jan 27 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #710 — History Detectives |
    Saturday, Jan 28 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #501 — 3-D Cuban Missile Crisis/Amos 'n' Andy Record/Women's Suffrage Painting
    A woman in Portland, Oregon, has a portable projection screen that may have helped save the Free World. It came her way with a letter stating that in 1962, it was borrowed from a club of 3-D photography enthusiasts in Dayton, Ohio, to show President John F. Kennedy the aerial spy photos that helped him resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis. Is it possible that, as the world faced nuclear Armageddon, the U.S. Air Force turned to an amateur club to help identify Russian missiles? HISTORY DETECTIVES visits Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and learns how the world's first supersonic photo-recon aircraft was rigged with 3-D cameras to improve its view of Cuba's camouflaged missiles. Wes Cowan leads HISTORY DETECTIVES to Dayton, Washington, DC, and Portland to pursue the case of this unassuming screen that may have played a role in preventing World War III. Amos 'n' Andy Record - A man in Lakeland, Florida, purchased at a flea market an aluminum record with the words "Amos 'n' Andy" hand-written on its label. He is eager to learn whether this is a rare early recording of the old-time radio series. At the peak of its success, 40 million listeners - a third of America - tuned in to "Amos 'n' Andy" six nights a week, making it the longest-running and most popular radio program in broadcast history. Its creators, Correll and Gosden, were white men who made a career of impersonating blacks for comic effect. In New York City, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi uncovers a complex portrait of 1930s race relations and the emerging power of the mass media in American popular culture. Women's Suffrage Painting - Twenty years ago, a woman from League City, Texas, bought at a garage sale what appears to be a watercolor painting. Pictured is a trumpeting herald on a horse, and printed are the words "Official Program Woman Suffrage Procession Washington D.C. March 3, 1913." The contributor wants to learn if this image is the original for that program and what role it played in securing women the right to vote. The investigation sheds light on the day before Woodrow Wilson's presidential inauguration, when as many as 8,000 women descended on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, marching for suffrage. National media accounts testify to the galvanizing effect the spectacle had on the public. Remarkably, though, the event was organized in just nine weeks. In the suffragettes' rush to define their image, who was the illustrator they turned to? In Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwen Wright searches for the mystery artist whose work helped culminate the 72-year battle for women's suffrage.
    Thursday, Feb 23 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #502 — Continental Currency/Short-Snorter/Liberty Bell Pin
    Continental Currency - A family in Omaha, Nebraska, has found a puzzling $6 bill dated February 17, 1776; they're eager to learn the story behind it. The bill's text and designs are replete with mysteries and clues. How can it claim to be federal currency when it's dated five months before the colonies actually declared their independence? Why does it say it's backed by "Spanish milled dollars? " What do the strange images on it mean? Britain rightfully considered these monies sheer provocation and reacted by flooding the market with counterfeit bills. Is the bill real - or perhaps real fakery? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwen Wright travels to New York City to investigate an artifact that could represent America's first declaration of its independence. Short-Snorter - A man in New York City has a British 10-shilling note dated July 25, 1942, that is an autograph hunter's dream: a single slip of paper, called a "short-snorter," signed by most every luminary on the Allied side of World War II, from Patton to Churchill to Roosevelt. He wants to learn the story behind this oddity. The date on the bill is the same as a major Allied meeting held in London - where a momentous decision was made. Nazi troops were advancing across Europe. The time had come for America to join the battle and for the Allies to open a second front - but where? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi heads to Maryland, Washington, DC, and New York City to determine whether the contributor's short-snorter was witness to the fateful agreement that forged the alliance between America and Britain. Liberty Bell Pin - A woman in Charlotte, North Carolina, owns an unassuming pin that, according to family lore, is actually made of metal drawn from the Liberty Bell. It seems unfathomable that a piece of this iconic symbols could have been melted down for a mere memento. But the contributor's great-grandfather claimed that he wore the pin to an event important enough to lend credibility to his unlikely story. Even a generation after the Civil War, America was still recovering from its traumas. Dramatic measures were called for to heal the nation's economy in those dark days. Elyse Luray leads HISTORY DETECTIVES to Philadelphia and Atlanta to recall the staunch efforts for reconciliation during this tenuous time in U.S. history.
    Friday, Feb 24 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #503 — Gar Photograph/Jefferson Pledge/Dempsey Fight Bell
    Gar Photograph - A Civil War enthusiast in Etters, Pennsylvania, owns a striking vintage photograph that depicts about 20 older white men in full dress uniform, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with two black men. In Reconstruction-era America, association between blacks and whites was frequently taboo. So what brought them together for this portrait? Their bond, it turns out, was the Grand Army of the Republic, a remarkable fraternal order organized for war veterans. In fact, integration was actually a GAR standard. The reason? The men's common struggle with post traumatic stress transcended race. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray heads to Cazenovia, New York, and Washington, DC, to investigate the first national social group to challenge the color barrier. Jefferson Pledge - In a forgotten corner of a Washington, DC, public library, a photo archivist has discovered what may be a momentous piece of history. It's a list of signatures from public figures of the early 1800s, including President Thomas Jefferson, offering money for a seemingly humble proposal: to build a simple pair of elementary schools. But Jefferson's ultimate goal is far loftier. With this venture, he is quietly floating his plan to launch the nation's first public school system. Eventually he would go broke through such acts of charity, but Jefferson's ideals of public education would transform the nation. Could it all have begun with a modest $200 pledge? Host Wes Cowan leads HISTORY DETECTIVES to Charlottesville, Virginia, and Washington, DC, to find out. Dempsey Fight Bell - July 4, 1919, marks the day America found its true calling in a national obsession. Icon Jack Dempsey became the world's first boxing superstar and he did it with the clang of a bell. Now, a contributor in Reno, Nevada, wants to know: Is the bell he's toasted many a night on the wall of his favorite bar the one that was ringside at Dempsey's legendary world heavyweight championship match? The question goes beyond a single fight. Dempsey's bout ushered in the Roaring Twenties, America's fascination with celebrity and the golden age of championship sports. Host Tukufu Zuberi leads HISTORY DETECTIVES to weigh in on the case in Reno and New York City, sorting truth from myth to determine which clues ring true.
    Saturday, Feb 25 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #504 — Atocha Spanish Silver/Lucy Parsons Book/Ernie Pyle's Typewriter
    Atocha Spanish Silver - In 1985, one of the greatest treasure discoveries was made off the Florida Keys when the wreck of the Spanish ship Atocha was found. On board were some 40 tons of silver and gold, which in 1622 had been heading from the New World to the Spanish treasury as the means to fund the Thirty Years' War. A man from Cedartown, Georgia, was a diver on that legendary find and received two silver bars as compensation for his efforts. He's long been mystified by a strange mark that appears on one of the bars - but the mark is mysteriously absent from the other bar. In Key West, Florida, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi translates 300-year-old documents from the archives of the Spanish treasury in Seville to crack a unique code of communication among ship captains of that era. Lucy Parsons Book - Amid the stacks at the Wesleyan University Library, a student has found a book emblazoned with the name and address of the legendary anarchist Lucy Parsons. The bi-racial black and Native-American activist fought in the late 1800s for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised in the face of an increasingly oppressive industrial economic system. Did this once-feared radical own the manifesto? If so, it would pose a mystery: After Parsons died, police supposedly raided her house and confiscated all of her subversive literature. So how did this book elude them? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray heads to Chicago, Illinois, and Middletown, Connecticut, to explore a major labor movement uprising and Parsons' abiding acts of defiance. Ernie Pyle's Typewriter - A man in Portland, Oregon, thinks he may have a typewriter that belonged to the famous WWII journalist Ernie Pyle, America's most beloved battlefront correspondent. The contributor's grandfather told him he received the vintage "Corona 3" from Major George Pratt, who served in the Pacific and said that the typewriter belonged to Pyle. A trail-blazing reporter, Ernie Pyle was celebrated for telling the stories of ordinary soldiers serving in Europe. But when he followed the siren song of the Pacific, he was killed by a Japanese sniper bullet on the island of Okinawa on April 18, 1945. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan travels to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bloomington, Indiana, and Portland to investigate.
    Monday, Feb 27 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #505 — Great Mexican War Posters/Nora Holt Autograph Book/Muhlenberg Robe
    Great Mexican War Posters - While cleaning out the basement of an old home he'd recently purchased, a man from San Francisco, California, discovered a stash of strange and colorful posters announcing the "Great Mexican War." They appear to be early 20th-century advertising for news film of the Mexican Revolution. The posters indicate that a man named Charles Pryor made the films. If the posters prove to be authentic, does it mean that this mystery cinematographer was an eyewitness to the Mexican Revolution? In Washington, DC, and El Paso, Texas, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan examines a turning point in filmmaking history - when producers aimed to satisfy the American audience's appetite for films of overseas events, at times walking a fine line between real-life and on-screen dramatic events. Nora Holt Autograph Book - The mother of a man in Los Angeles, California, was an avid collector of African-American memorabilia. Upon his mother's passing, the contributor inherited a garage full of the material she had assembled, most of which is uncatalogued and has attracted a great deal of attention from scholars. Amid the collection is a curious small green leather autograph book that belonged to a woman named Nora Holt. Holt was a luminary of the Harlem Renaissance and associated with author Theodore Dreiser and photographer Carl Van Vechten, among others. Mysteriously, these artists' names appear in the book alongside the signatures of Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, neither of whom was involved in the Harlem Renaissance. The autographs take host Gwen Wright to Harlem and Westchester, New York, and to Westport, Connecticut, as HISTORY DETECTIVES follows the path of a liberated woman who participated in one of the most significant artistic flowerings of the 20th century. Muhlenberg Robe - George Washington's cherry tree, Betsy Ross' flag, Paul Revere's ride ... now Muhlenberg's Robe may be added to the list of debatable Revolutionary War legends. The story goes that in January 1776, Lutheran Reverend Peter Muhlenberg turned his pulpit into a recruiting station for revolutionary fighters. During a fiery sermon, he tore his robe from his shoulders to reveal a uniform and at once rallied 300 able-bodied congregants to the patriotic cause. A woman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wants to know: Is the robe that's on display at the nearby Lutheran Theological Seminary the cloak that bore witness to this event? In Philadelphia and Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray delves into rare, period accounts from Muhlenberg's family, friends and contemporaries to find the truth behind the story of the reverend's famous robe.
    Tuesday, Feb 28 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #506 — Nc-4: First Across The Atlantic/Howard Hughes Crash/Professor Lowe's Hot Air Balloon
    NC-4: First Across The Atlantic - Almost 10 years before Charles Lindbergh's famous solo flight across the Atlantic, the NC-4 was the first aircraft to make the transatlantic journey in May 1919. Now, a woman in Saratoga, California, has a small square of canvas-like fabric that she believes comes from the NC-4, one of four U.S. Navy "flying boats" that had originally been commissioned to alert American destroyers to the locations of German U-boat submarines that were wreaking havoc on merchant ships along the U.S. coast during World War I. Due to early mechanical problems, the NC-4 was considered by many aviation insiders to be the least likely candidate to complete the trek across the Atlantic. In Pensacola, Florida, and Hammondsport, New York, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray investigates the little-known story of the NC-4 and its historic voyage. Howard Hughes Crash - On July 7, 1946, Howard Hughes undertook the first flight of his XF-11 - designed to be the highest, fastest spy plane of its time. But the propeller failed, leaving Hughes without power. He crashed in Beverly Hills, California, destroying two homes and scarring himself for life. A man in Laramie, Wyoming, owns a 1940s altimeter he received from his father, who claimed it came from the fiery crash. He'd been a Hughes employee for more than 34 years and was there the day of the accident. Based on this altimeter's near-perfect condition, experts are skeptical of its connection to the crash, but footage from Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and a visit to Hughes' Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation Museum could challenge this assertion. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi heads to Los Angeles, California, and McMinnville, Oregon, to determine if the altimeter can be traced back to Hughes, an aviation pioneer and America's first billionaire. Professor Lowe's Hot Air Balloon - A collector from Midland, Michigan, may have purchased a fragment of American aviation history. At first glance, it's a simple piece of frayed material in a frame. But on the back of the frame are the words, "A piece of Prof. Lowe's Aeronautical balloon 'Enterprise'... after it was destroyed upon landing ... in 1862." Could this be an artifact from the dawn of American military airpower? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan reveals more about the ambitious and fascinating professor who launched the country's first aeronautic division by inflating his hot air balloon, the Enterprise, on the lawn of President Lincoln's White House.
    Wednesday, Mar 1 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #507 — Red Cloud Letter/'32 Ford Roadster/Cast Iron Eagle
    Red Cloud Letter - A Nebraska man obtained a curious letter from his grandfather, who spent time on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation during the early part of the 20th century. The letter is from the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, to a Lakota leader named James Red Cloud. It makes several ambiguous references to treaties between the U.S. government and the Lakota and, moreover, to Borglum's desire to help the tribe. The contributor asks: How was a leader of the Lakota people connected with the creator of a monument that was regarded by many as a desecration of sacred land? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwen Wright journeys to South Dakota's Black Hills for the answer. '32 Ford Roadster - A man in Benicia, California, owns a 1932 Ford roadster that, upon purchase, had an engine too powerful for normal driving. The contributor suspects his car was used for dry-lake racing, a sport that had its heyday in Southern California in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1932, although America was in the midst of the Depression, Henry Ford forged ahead, designing a new model '32 car with the first powerful V8 engine affordable to the masses. Was the contributor's car among the popular hot rods raced out at the dry lakes? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi high-tails it to California to examine one era's car-racing culture and to investigate one of the most iconic hot rods of all time. Cast Iron Eagle - One of the main attractions at a family-run zoo in Sussex, New Jersey, is a majestic, 12-foot-high cast iron eagle perched on an orb in the center of the park. The contributor's grandfather founded the park in 1927; family lore is that the eagle had once been perched atop an old post office in New York. However, a visitor recently told the contributor that the eagle resembles the giant cast iron eagles that graced the old Grand Central Station in Manhattan. The eagle dates to the post-Civil War period, when decorative style involved cast iron prefabrication. But was Grand Central Station - built for railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt - its original home? To find out, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan heads to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City, home of the arts and crafts movement at the turn of the 19th century.
    Thursday, Mar 2 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #508 — Lincoln Letter/Quaker Map/U.S.S. Indianapolis
    Lincoln Letter - A Tampa man made a potentially extraordinary discovery in a stack of old photos he purchased for eight dollars. Buried in the images was a letter with what appears to be the signature of Abraham Lincoln. It's dated 1858 and contains a short and cryptic note to someone named Henry Clay Whitney. The contributor is skeptical, as he's seen references on the Internet to several forgeries of this document, but Host Elyse Luray thinks it's worth a closer look. HISTORY DETECTIVES heads to the Land of Lincoln - Illinois - to investigate the future president's political calculations, and correspondence, at a pivotal time in his career. Quaker Map - A hand-drawn map that a woman from New Jersey picked up at an estate sale is entitled "Meetings of Friends," and describes in crude strokes the state of Ohio in the early 19th century. She wants to know if this could be a map of the fabled Underground Railroad. Experts verify that the map dates to circa 1815 and plots the locations of key Quaker houses of worship in that day. Delving deeper into the history of the faith, HISTORY DETECTIVES makes some extraordinary discoveries about how Quakers roused anti-slavery sentiment. In New York City, Pennsylvania and Ohio, host Gwen Wright tracks cartographic clues to investigate the important role Quakers played in the Underground Railroad and launching the abolitionist movement. U.S.S. Indianapolis - A Cleveland, Ohio, man owns some intriguing artifacts that he believes may date back to a kamikaze attack on the U.S.S. Indianapolis in March 1945. The contributor's uncle served on this cruiser, and while home shared a story with his family about an attack on his boat. He returned to the ship and was killed when the Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese torpedo during the final weeks of World War II. Years later, the family uncovered fragments of aluminum, military patches and a Japanese placard that the uncle had placed inside a cedar chest during his time on leave. Could these items be from the kamikaze attack on the U.S.S. Indianapolis? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan ventures to Texas and Washington, DC, to examine the virulence and desperation of the Japanese suicide attacks that led up to one of the greatest sea disasters in U.S. naval history.
    Friday, Mar 3 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #509 — Bill Pickett Saddle/Mckinley Casket Flag/Hitler Films
    Bill Pickett Saddle - A Staten Island woman owns a well-worn saddle with the name "Bill Pickett" burned into it. She believes it was once owned by legendary cowboy Bill Pickett, an African-American Wild West Show and film star. Pickett invented bulldogging, the rodeo event now known as steer wrestling. His back story is perhaps most intriguing: Born to slave parents, Pickett rose to entertain kings and dignitaries on an international tour of his Wild West show; he counted among his friends Will Rogers and Tom Mix. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi heads to Oklahoma to visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, meets a real-life steer wrestler and talks with a 101 Ranch historian about the legacy of the legendary "Bulldogger." McKinley Casket Flag - A Battle Ground, Washington, man has a flag that he claims once draped the casket of President William McKinley. The 25th president was assassinated in 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. The contributor says the flag was given to his great-grandfather, Charles Kennedy, who served as McKinley's bodyguard. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan travels to Cincinnati and Canton, Ohio, to investigate McKinley's legacy through the eyes of his supporters and his detractors. Hitler Films - A contributor in Staten Island, New York, has several film cans, unseen since World War II, that he believes may contain German home movies of Nazi officials, possibly even Hitler. He received them from his wife's uncle, a GI in Germany, who found the cans in the bombed ruins of the Old Opera House in the northern Bavarian town of Bayreuth. The first glimpse of one of these fragile reels reveals footage of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering and Himmler arriving at the Richard Wagner opera festival, staged annually in Bayreuth. In New York City, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwen Wright examines this film's depiction of the Nazis' manipulation of art and culture to bolster the party's following.
    Saturday, Mar 4 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #706 — History Detectives
    Amelia Earhart Plane - John Ott believes he may have a piece of Amelia Earhart's airplane, the missing Lockheed L-10E Electra in which she made her ill-fated around-the-world attempt. Ott says his grandfather served as a flight mechanic on the airfield in Honolulu where Earhart had a mishap on her first attempt at the flight. She crashed during takeoff, destroying the landing gear and damaging the right wing. Ott says his grandfather took a piece of the plane that came off during the accident and sent it to his mother as a souvenir. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray tests the shape and the metal of the fragment against another Lockheed Electra, and checks the story against historic records to see if Ott truly has a piece of Earhart's plane. Fillmore Pardon - A Portland, Oregon, man inherited what looked to be a U.S. presidential pardon signed by Millard Fillmore in 1851. In it, the president commutes the death sentence to life in prison for a solitary Native American named See-See-Sah-Mah, convicted of murdering a St. Louis trader along the Santa Fe Trail. Fillmore's pardon saved See-See-Sah-Mah's life, but why? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi travels to Kansas City and St. Louis to retrace the crime and trial. Was See-See-Sah-Mah a murderer or a scapegoat? And why did this obscure case about an unknown Native American matter to a U.S. President? Boxcar Home - When a Lakewood, Colorado, couple found a new home, they noticed odd supports in the basement ceiling. The husband loves the railroads, so he immediately recognized the supports as railroad car rods. Could their home have been made from a boxcar? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright's search for answers takes viewers on an excursion from the scarcity of the Great Depression to the resourcefulness of World War II.
    Tuesday, Jan 24 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #707 — History Detectives
    Hindenburg Artifact - A Hoboken, New Jersey, man has a palm-sized, army-green metal box that looks like an instrument panel. Beneath a shattered plastic covering is a sliding, numbered scale; knobs on each end move a lever across the scale. German writing indicates the country of origin. Might this instrument have been recovered from the crash site of the Hindenburg in Lakehurst, New Jersey? Family lore says that a distant relative was among the many bystanders plucking souvenirs from the wreckage of the terrifying disaster. Chemicals from the fire or balloon envelope gas would have evaporated 10 minutes after the explosion, but the broken plastic can be tested for age and heat distress with forensic analysis of the instrument. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray travels to Atlanta and the New Jersey landing site of the ill-fated zeppelin to determine if the instrument panel is in fact from the horrifying crash. John Adams Book - A woman in Littleton, New Hampshire, inherited her husband's aunt's belongings, which include a curious late-18th-century book titled Trials of Patriots. It contains what appears to be President John Adams' signature in three places, and includes an inscription, "Charles Adams from His Father, 1794." The book is a collection of trial transcripts chronicling the sedition trials of Irish and Scottish radicals. If the book is indeed from Adams to his son, it could reveal pivotal clues about the inner-workings of this presidential family. In Boston and John Adams' hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts, HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright examines the Adams family's correspondence and conflict as they balanced home life with public service. Birthplace of Hip Hop - A hip-hop enthusiast from New York City has always heard that 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx is the birthplace of hip-hop. The story goes that on August 11, 1973, DJ Kool Herc, a building resident, was entertaining at his sister's back-to-school party and tried something new on the turntable: he extended an instrumental beat (breaking or scratching) to let people dance longer (breakdancing) and began MC'ing (rapping) during the extended breakdancing. This, the contributor believes, marked the birth of hip-hop. The music led to an entire cultural movement that's altered generational thinking - from politics and race to art and language. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi sets out to examine an inner-city environment that helped lay the foundation for a cultural revolution.
    Wednesday, Jan 25 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #708 — History Detectives
    Mussolini Dagger - Many servicemen brought back souvenirs from World War II, but did the uncle of a Reno, Nevada, man score a dagger from Fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini? The dagger bears the symbols of Italian Fascism, and the initial "M" hangs from the belt clip. A family letter says the uncle had orders to pick up Mussolini, but when he arrived, Mussolini was already dead and hanging in the town square. The letter goes on to say that he went to Mussolini's apartment, where he grabbed the dictator's dagger. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan connects various records, pictures and expert opinions to come up with an answer. Liberia Letter - A Lynchburg, South Carolina, woman has a scrapbook of handwritten letters sent to her great-great-grandmother, a freed slave who lived in South Carolina. She thinks her ancestor's brother, Harvey McLeod, wrote the letters. What caught her attention were the repeated references to Liberia. In 1877, Harvey writes: "I hope you will change your mind and come to Liberia, Africa with us." Was this family part of the post-slavery exodus to Liberia? As HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi tracks the path of the letters, the story pieces together a tale of slaves adapting to freedom. N.E.A.R. Device - A Colorado ham radio enthusiast may have stumbled across some Cold War history. While sorting through a bucket of old power adapters, he came across a curious device, a hand-sized black box with the wording "National Emergency Alarm Repeater, Civilian Warning Device." The contributor believes it may have had something to do with nuclear attack preparedness, but he lived through the cold war and has never heard of a Civilian Warning Device. HISTORY DETECTIVES Gwendolyn Wright sifts through the secrets to find out whether anyone mass-produced this device and what happened to this Civilian Warning program.
    Thursday, Jan 26 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #709 — History Detectives
    WPA Mural Studies - When a Bend, Oregon, woman inherited six large paintings created by her aunt, Thelma Johnson Streat, she believed she'd been given a special window into American history. She believes they were mural studies commissioned by the WPA in the 1930s or 1940s. The color illustrations depict contributions of African Americans in the fields of medicine, transportation and industry. The contributor thinks they could have been intended for school walls. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray travels to Oregon, San Francisco and Chicago to find out whether any of these studies became murals and if any of Streat's murals still exist. George Washington Miniature - A Greenville, Ohio, man was sorting through documents stored above one of Manhattan's first taverns when he stumbled across a miniature color painting of a man in profile labeled "G. Washington." On the back of the portrait, he found the inscription, "Property of White Matlack. New York, 1790." The historic tavern and museum sits just steps away from the old City Hall building on Wall Street where George Washington took his oath of office in 1789. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan sets out to discover whether the artist painted this portrait of Washington from life, and to uncover its surprising connection to the little-known abolitionists and patriot White Matlack. Japanese Balloon Bomb - The granddaughter of a World War II veteran from Austin, Texas, has a wartime memento with a note claiming it's a piece of Japanese balloon that floated across the Pacific Ocean in 1945. The alleged balloon scrap could be evidence of a unique weapon in modern warfare: the Japanese balloon bomb. More than 9,000 of these incendiary weapons were launched from Japan during the war via the jet stream with the intention of causing mass disruption and forest fires in the American West. The existence and purpose of the balloon bombs were kept secret from the American public for security reasons, until a tragic accident forced a change in policy. The balloon bombs caused the only fatalities on the U.S. mainland due to enemy action during World War II. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi travels to Austin, Texas and to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, to learn whether this souvenir is a missing piece of a secret weapon.
    Friday, Jan 27 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #710 — History Detectives
    Stalag 17 Portrait - A Tempe, Arizona, woman has an intriguing memento of a sobering World War II experience: a portrait of her father sketched while he was held inside the German prisoner of war camp, Stalag 17B. On the back, her father has noted: "Done in May of 1944 by Gil Rhoden, using a #2 lead pencil. We were POWs in Stalag 17 at Krems, Austria. Gil agreed to do my portrait in exchange for two onions and a small potato." What happened to the artist? Did he survive the camp? HISTORY DETECTIVES guest host Eduardo Pagan uncovers a stoic act of defiance and dignity behind the Stalag's barbed wire. Seadrome - A Rochester, New York, man inherited three photos of a Seadrome model from his grandfather. More than a decade before Charles Lindberg made his solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic, an American engineer proposed the Seadrome, a floating airport anchored to the ocean floor where trans-Atlantic passenger flights could refuel. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi travels to New York, Delaware and Maryland to find out what happened to this fantastic engineering marvel and discover what role the contributor's grandfather played in the Seadrome's history. Black Tom Shell - A woman in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, has an explosive artifact in her possession: a large, intact artillery shell, along with a note in her mother's handwriting that reads "Black Tom Explosion of 1914." The contributor's mother's record-keeping is off: It was not 1914, but July 30, 1916, when a German spy ring carried out a well-planned set of synchronized explosions on Black Tom Island in New York's harbor, using the United States' own cache of munitions produced to aid Britain and France in World War I. Two million pounds of exploding ammunition rocked the country as far away as Philadelphia and blew the windows out of nearly every high rise in lower Manhattan, injuring hundreds. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright travels to Maryland and New Jersey to determine whether this shell was involved in one of the earliest foreign terrorist attacks on American soil.
    Saturday, Jan 28 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #711 — History Detectives
    Civil War Bridge - Clearing some newly purchased property along the Broad River in Columbia, South Carolina, the owner discovered evidence of an old bridge abutment. He searched the river for clues and thinks he may have pinpointed the location where Confederates burned the bridge to thwart General Sherman's attempt to cross into Columbia to continue his scorch-and-burn campaign. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray goes to Columbia to examine the evidence and see if this discovery will redraw the maps of the Civil War. Scottsboro Boys Stamp - A contributor bought an inconspicuous black and white stamp at an outdoor market in Scottsboro, Alabama. "Save the Scottsboro Boys" is printed on the stamp above nine black faces behind prison bars and two arms prying the bars apart. One arm bears the tattoo "ILD." On the bottom of the stamp is printed "one cent." The Scottsboro Boys were falsely accused and convicted of raping two white girls in 1931 on a train near Scottsboro, Alabama. It took several appeals, two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and nearly two decades before all nine finally walked free. How is the stamp connected to this landmark civil rights case? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwendolyn Wright consults with a stamp expert to discover how a tiny penny stamp could make a difference in the young men's defense effort. Duke Ellington Plates - A New York man took a stroll through Harlem 20 years ago and stumbled across boxes of sheet music in a dumpster. Among the paper scores were metal sheets that look like printing plates for "Take the A Train," written by Billy Strayhorn and performed by jazz great Duke Ellington. Scratches and ink smudges mar the plates, signs that someone might have run these through a printing press, but there's no apparent copyright stamp. HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi sets out to find the story behind these plates and to determine the role they played in this jazz classic.
    Monday, Jan 30 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #801 — Space Exploration
    The HISTORY DETECTIVES season premiere launches into space for an exhilarating hour exploring the excitement, promise and ingenuity that fueled America's foray into space exploration. First, detective Tukufu Zuberi tracks a scrap of metallic Mylar that could be one of America's early satellites - balloons - in the segment "Satelloon." Then, in the segment "Moon Museum," Gwendolyn Wright investigates the audacious notion that Andy Warhol's art may be on the moon. Finally, in the "Space Boot" segment, Elyse Luray tries on a jury-rigged ski boot with a magnetic metal brick bolted to the bottom that may be one of the first prototypes for a NASA space boot.
    Tuesday, Jan 31 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #802 — Iwo Jima Map, Copperhead Cane, Theremin
    First, detective Eduardo Pagan investigates the history of a hand-drawn map, taken from the body of a Japanese soldier during the World War II battle of Iwo Jima, in the segment "Iwo Jima Map." Then, in "Copperhead Cane," Wes Cowan follows the story of a cane topped with a coiled snake that has ties to the anti-Abraham Lincoln group, the "Peace Democrats." Finally, in the segment "Theremin," Elyse Luray traces the origins of the Theremin - one of the first electronic musical instruments - and finds out if a New Mexico man owns one of the fewer than a dozen Theremins in the U.S. built by Leon Theremin himself.
    Wednesday, Feb 1 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #803 — Lauste Film Clip/Baker's Gold/Transatlantic Cable
    "Lauste Film Clip" Did a HISTORY DETECTIVES viewer find a clip of the first talking picture? "Baker's Gold" What's the story behind Gold Rush sketches of five and eight-pound gold nuggets? "Transatlantic Cable" Did a beachcomber find a section of the first transatlantic cable?
    Thursday, Feb 2 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #804 — Andrew Jackson's Mouth/Barton Letter/Spybook
    "Andrew Jackson's Mouth" The reunification of two halves of a vandalized sculpture of President Andrew Jackson? "Barton Letter" Why did Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, write a letter about a Civil War soldier? "Spybook" Does a Pennsylvania man have a notebook that once belonged to a World War I spy?
    Friday, Feb 3 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #805 — Cromwell Dixon, Bartlett Sketchbook, & Duke Ellington Plates
    HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray pilots an airplane to relive the memory of one of America's first, and youngest, barnstormers. Pilot "Cromwell Dixon" lost his life at 19 when his airplane crashed. Then, details in "Bartlett's Sketchbook" suggest the scenes illustrate the first ever US-Mexican border survey. Host Eduardo Pagan wonders whether the sketchbook made that journey, and if it belonged to Bartlett? Finally, a dumpster find may be a jazz history treasure. In the encore segment, Tukufu Zuberi sets out to find whether these metal "Duke Ellington Plates" printed the first copy of the Ellington hit, Take the A Train.
    Saturday, Feb 4 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #806 — Korean War Letter, Diana, Lookout Mt. Painting
    Rhonda McAullife never met her father. He's still listed Missing in Action from the Korean War. In a letter dated 1953, her father mentioned a man he said saved his life. Eduardo Pagan researches the "Korean War Letter" to find the man Rhonda believes is a hero. Then Tukufu Zuberi searches for the author of Diana: A Strange Biography. Could "Diana" be groundbreaking literature as the first widely published and true lesbian autobiography? Then, Wes Cowan digs into the mystery of the "Lookout Mt. Painting," depicting a Civil War battle. How did the artist of this painting end up in prison at the Rock Island Arsenal?
    Monday, Feb 6 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #807 — St. Valentine's Day Massacre, George Washington Miniature, Stalag 17
    Two generations of prominent Chicago families say this 12-gauge shotgun played a role in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Can HISTORY DETECTIVES confirm their story? Then, combing through documents in one of Manhattan's first taverns, a man finds a miniature painting of George Washington's profile. Why is this find much more than a piece of art? And, 65-years ago a fellow prisoner sketched George Silva's portrait from inside a World War II German prisoner camp. George wants to find out what happened to the artist. His search leads to a moving meeting. These three encore segments first aired as part of three different episodes in HISTORY DETECTIVES' seventh season in 2009.
    Tuesday, Feb 7 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #808 — Hot Town Poster, Face Jug, Lost City of Gold
    This poster tells the story of a battle brewing. We see a clenched fist, what looks like a stern police officer, and the words: Hot Town - Pigs in the street. Who made this poster and why? Then, did the artist mean to scare someone with the grimace on this face jug? What's the story behind this peculiar pottery? And, if this inscription on a rock in Phoenix is authentic, Spanish explorers arrived in America much earlier than records show.
    Wednesday, Feb 8 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #809 — Jackie Robinson All-Stars, Modoc Basket, Special Agent Five
    Tukufu Zuberi tallies the facts on a 1940s Jackie Robinson All-Stars scorecard. Black and white athletes played this game before Robinson became the first black major league baseball player. What role did this game play in the integration of major league baseball? Then, we see the name 'Toby' worked into the weave of this basket. Could that be Toby Riddle, the woman congress honored as a heroine of the Indian Wars of the American West? And, why would J. Edgar Hoover endorse a crime radio drama? Does the script portray actual events?
    Thursday, Feb 9 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #810 — Wb Cartoons, Galvez Papers, Mussolini Dagger
    Tukufu Zuberi doesn't recognize many of the characters in this box of cartoon drawings and cels, but together they tell an unexpected story about the early days of animation and the people behind the art. Then, Elyse Luray unravels a love story when she explores why a regional governor cared enough about a slave to sign her emancipation papers. And (in a repeate segment), did this elaborate dagger once belong to Benito Mussolini? Wes Cowan retraces the last steps of Fascist Italian dictator to find the answer.
    Friday, Feb 10 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #811 — Chicago Clock, Universal Friends, War Dog Letter
    A Michigan woman wonders if her family clock kept time for the entire Midwest during the 19th century. The search takes HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray back to the industrial age when the country first began regulating time. Then, a document seems connected to an early controversial religion -- the first religion founded by an American-born woman. History Detective Gwen Wright wants to know why her name is missing from this critical record, the 'Incorporation of the Universal Friends Church.' And, in an encore segment, detective Tukufu Zuberi heads to Cat Island, near Gulfport, to find out what went wrong with a WWII dog-training program there.
    Saturday, Feb 11 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1001 — History Detectives
    In the 10th season premiere episode, Elyse Luray and Wes Cowan investigate whether they have found rock's Holy Grail, the long-lost electric Fender Stratocaster Bob Dylan plugged in at the '65 Newport Folk Festival, changing rock 'n' roll forever. Tukufu Zuberi tracks down some autographs allegedly signed for two brothers in Miami Beach during the Beatles' legendary 1964 "British Invasion" tour of the United States. Finally, Gwendolyn Wright investigates a $5 thrift store find and unearths a little-known artistic side of musical iconoclast Frank Zappa.
    Monday, Feb 13 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1002 — History Detectives
    Wes Cowan hunts for the identity of a man whose name is engraved on a rare matched set of Civil War-era pistols, still in the original case. Tukufu Zuberi tracks down the story behind an old 78rpm, distributed by K.K.K. Records, containing songs titled "The Bright Fiery Cross" and "The Jolly Old Klansman." And Eduardo Pagan tries to prove that James Jamerson, a bass player whose bass line drove the Motown sound, owned a battered Ampeg B-15 amp that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will display - but only if inductee Jamerson really owned it.
    Tuesday, Feb 14 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1003 — History Detectives
    Host Elyse Luray floors country music singer Clint Black with the information she uncovers about his turn-of-the-20th-century book of wanted posters. Then, can Eduardo Pagan link a chunk of molten metal to the B-25 Bomber that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945? Did HISTORY DETECTIVES find a slide of Bettie Page, "Queen of Pinups," that somehow escaped the censorship of the 1950s? Finally, a six-foot metal bar tells the story behind the original iconic Hollywood sign.
    Wednesday, Feb 15 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1004 — History Detectives
    What does the evocative symbol of a bird dropping a bomb mean? Did two patches with the symbol belong to a World War II unit? Then, Gwen Wright connects a tiny swatch of tattered red fabric to a pivotal moment in U.S. Civil War history. Did a neckpiece and leggings once belong to Chief Black Kettle, known as a Cheyenne Peace Chief? Finally, did President Lincoln actually sign this note?
    Thursday, Feb 16 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1005 — History Detectives
    HISTORY DETECTIVES steps into a family dispute: Was this picture frame crafted from the staircase banister of the Titanic, the Lusitania or neither? Then Tukufu Zuberi wonders whether Woolworth signs were part of the scene at the 1960 Winston-Salem lunch-counter sit-ins. For 70 years, toy soldiers have haunted their owner with a question: Was the father of his childhood friend a Nazi spy? Then, a journal full of liquor recipes makes a man wonder if his uncle was a prohibition bootlegger.
    Friday, Feb 17 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1006 — History Detectives
    Can HISTORY DETECTIVES return the diary of a fallen North Vietnamese soldier to that veteran's family? U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta takes part in the exchange. A notebook with recipes for large volumes of liquor makes an Indiana man wonder if his rich uncle earned money bootlegging during Prohibition. What can a ledger tell us about Hollywood's treatment of Native-American actors? How did they earn their pay? Did producers treat them fairly?
    Saturday, Feb 18 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1007 — History Detectives
    What are the details behind the heroic acts pictured in a poster about two African-American soldiers in World War I? Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) helps find the answer. Then, is this a hand-drawn map of Valley Forge that George Washington used during the American Revolution? And does a Tucson man own one of the first transistor radios ever made? Finally, after 70 years, a Washington man wonders whether a business card ties his father to Prohibition-era underworld crime.
    Monday, Feb 20 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1008 — History Detectives
    The History Detectives investigate four stories from the American West. Did a biography of legendary frontiersman Kit Carson once belong to members of his family? Then, from the rodeo to Hollywood, a saddle tells the story of Yakima Canutt, who made life safer for movie stunt artists. What is the meaning behind the mysterious inscription on sheet music of the popular western song "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"? Finally, did a pivotal character in the Modoc Indian wars weave this basket?
    Tuesday, Feb 21 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #1009 — History Detectives
    HISTORY DETECTIVES tells four stories of our nation's beginning. First, Eduardo Pagan starts with a simple bill of sale for a 17-year old "negro girl" and learns how young Willoby's life unfolds from being property to owning property. Then Gwen Wright traces a powder horn from a muddy Minnesota field to a military captain in Massachusetts during the American Revolution. Elyse Luray asks what role a handwritten score played in making "The Star Spangled Banner" our national anthem. Finally, notes in a 1775 almanac show how conflicting loyalties strained family ties during the Revolution.
    Wednesday, Feb 22 at 5am TPT LIFE
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