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

To embed this video, copy and paste the code above.
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
  • #806 — Korean War Letter, Diana, Lookout Mt. Painting |
    Thursday, Oct 27 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #807 — St. Valentine's Day Massacre, George Washington Miniature, Stalag 17 |
    Friday, Oct 28 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #808 — Hot Town Poster, Face Jug, Lost City of Gold |
    Saturday, Oct 29 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #809 — Jackie Robinson All-Stars, Modoc Basket, Special Agent Five |
    Monday, Oct 31 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #810 — Wb Cartoons, Galvez Papers, Mussolini Dagger |
    Tuesday, Nov 1 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #301 — The Spirit of St. Louis/Gary Powers' "Suicide Pin"/Image of Apache Warrior Geronimo
    The Spirit of St. Louis - Two brothers from Parsippany, New Jersey, grew up listening to their uncle's claim that he built the engine for the Spirit of St. Louis - the plane made famous by Charles Lindbergh'shistoric nonstop flight across the Atlantic. A letter addressed to the uncle from the Wright Aeronautical Corporation in 1927 thanks him for his "enthusiasm and outstanding cooperation" following "Captain Lindbergh's recent achievement," but makes no direct mention of his role in the event. The family legend leads HISTORY DETECTIVES to uncover the forgotten history of Lucky Lindy's legendary flight. Gary Powers' "Suicide Pin" - A toolmaker and artist in Kansas City, Missouri, found two peculiar pins, wrapped in a newspaper dated 1960, that had been manipulated to contain liquid. Could these pins be the prototypes of a poison-filled pin that U2 pilot Gary Powers was carrying when his spy-plane was shot down over the Soviet Union? HISTORY DETECTIVES takes a closer look at Cold War intrigue and the device that may have fueled the ultimate showdown. Image of Apache Warrior Geronimo - A New Mexico woman's great-great- grandfather was lieutenant governor of the New Mexico territory in the 1870s. Her only keepsake from that time is a photograph of an Indian warrior on horseback. On the back of the photo are the words, Geronimo saluting a crowd of 100,000 people and surrounded by U.S. "soldiers at Ranch 101." HISTORY DETECTIVES investigates the connection between the lieutenant governor, Ranch 101 and the legendary Apache warrior.
    Tuesday, Nov 29 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #302 — Black Star Line Stock Certificates/Mickey Mouse's Origin/Pro-Nazi Newspaper in Texas
    Black Star Line Stock Certificates - A North Carolina woman recently found two Black Star Line stock certificates that had been purchased by her great grandfather in 1919. She didn't know the significance of the documents, but what looked like a Marcus Garvey signature on the papers saved them from the trashcan. Garvey founded the steamship company through his United Negro Improvement Association in 1919. Could this document be a rare artifact from Garvey's heyday? HISTORY DETECTIVES takes a closer look at this controversial and enigmatic figure who fought for economic self-reliance and political self- determination for African Americans. Mickey Mouse's Origin - Popular history has it that Mickey Mouse was born from a drawing sketched on a napkin by Walt Disney during a train ride from New York to Los Angeles in 1928. Mickey Mouse became the biggest fictional character moneymaker in the world, bringing in over $5.8 billion annually. A San Francisco toy collector, however, believes his small mouse figurine may turn the legend of Mickey on its ears. With a red label on its chest that reads "Micky" and a patent label on the bottom of one foot that says "Pat. Aug. 17, 1926,"the figure appears to have been produced two years before Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse. HISTORY DETECTIVES traces the ancestry of America's most famous mouse and sheds light on some of the earliest bare-knuckle business fights in the toy industry. Pro-Nazi Newspaper in Texas - A resident of Hearne, Texas, recently heard rumors that a German POW camp was based in her town during World War II. A tiny printing block from a pro-Nazi newspaper, discovered by a Texas A&M archaeologist, just may hold the key to this mystery. HISTORY DETECTIVES learns more about the history of POW camps in this country and reveals a hidden episode of violent wartime Nazism inside the United States.
    Wednesday, Nov 30 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?
    Thursday, Oct 27 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.
    Friday, Oct 28 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.
    Saturday, Oct 29 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?
    Monday, Oct 31 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.
    Tuesday, Nov 1 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.
    Wednesday, Nov 2 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #901 — History Detectives
    Mysterious airplane engine parts lead Eduardo Pagan to a forbidden Hawaiian island where he finds a heroic story often overshadowed by the raid on Pearl Harbor. Then Elyse Luray tries to match metal shavings to the right cannon. What role did these shavings play in the early hours of the civil war? An early 20th century saddle puts Wes Cowan on the trail of Yakima Cunutt. How did this rodeo champion change Hollywood movie-making?
    Thursday, Nov 3 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #902 — History Detectives
    What do the violent images on this pamphlet mean? Wes Cowan decodes the message and the strategy behind a U.S. World War II propaganda leaflet. Then, Gwen Wright traces a cherished family heirloom, a watercolor, to the world of Tiffany stained glass. How did Tiffany open a window of opportunity for early 20th century women? A touching eulogy stitches together the lives of two Americans fought in the Spanish Civil War. Almost a century later, Tukufu Zuberi unites a nephew and a son of those soldiers.
    Friday, Nov 4 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #903 — History Detectives
    Wes Cowan investigates a raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry. Eduardo Pagan wonders why U.S. troops were in Siberia during World War I and Elyse Luray sizes up a Ronald McDonald costume.
    Saturday, Nov 5 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #904 — History Detectives
    HISTORY DETECTIVES investigate a Civil War soldier's letter, fabric from an aircraft that could be linked to Charles Lindbergh and Igor Sikorsky, and a 1950s comic book Negro Romance.
    Monday, Nov 7 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #905 — History Detectives
    HISTORY DETECTIVES investigate a propeller from a World War II drone, a wooden club that could be Teddy Roosevelt's and a letter that Clara Barton could have written concerning a soldier's life.
    Tuesday, Nov 8 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #906 — History Detectives
    Can the Japanese characters carved into this cane unlock the mystery of a family's past in a World War II relocation camp? Can HISTORY DETECTIVES trace this unusual wooden telescope to its Revolution era ancestor? And is this drawing of huge, eight pound gold nuggets genuine or another example of Gold Rush hype?
    Wednesday, Nov 9 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #907 — History Detectives
    In this episode, the images and the words on this poster suggest a battle is brewing: a clenched fist, police described as "pigs." Who made this poster and why? Then, was this woodcarving of a mouth and chin once part of the Andrew Jackson figurehead affixed to the bow of the USS Constitution? And, how does this basket connect us to a woman congress honored as a heroine of the Modoc Indian Wars?
    Thursday, Nov 10 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #908 — History Detectives
    Did the first woman photographer assigned to the White House use this camera to shoot President Truman? Then, did families of the Confederate South use a child's doll to smuggle medicine past the Northern blockade? And, what does this 15th century map, with a mix of French, English and Spanish labels, tell us about how Europe colonized Florida?
    Friday, Nov 11 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #909 — History Detectives
    Loyalist or patriot? What can the notes in a 1775 Almanac tell us about how the revolution may have strained family ties? Do these phonograph records called "Get Thin to Music" reveal Jack Lalanne, the media exercise guru of the 1920s? Did NASA unwittingly transport Andy Warhol's art to the moon?
    Saturday, Nov 12 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #910 — History Detectives
    Gwen dissects the mystery behind an ornate Belgian war medal. Elyse traces a pennant to the early battle for the women's vote. And a cartoon cel leads Tukufu to unsung heroes of animation.
    Monday, Nov 14 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #911 — History Detectives
    What can a Club Continental business card tell us about California's prohibition-era underground? Then, did gangs use this shotgun in the Chicago St. Valentine's Day massacre that shocked the nation? And why is FDR on the guest list for a High Society Circus during the depths of the Depression?
    Tuesday, Nov 15 at 5am TPT LIFE
  • #912 — History Detectives
    A one-of-a-kind photograph poses a jarring question: Is the African American wearing a Confederate uniform slave or free? And, did Hollywood treat the Native Americans listed in this payment ledger fairly? Then, an ornate stock certificate unlocks secrets to the earliest days of Harlem.
    Wednesday, Nov 16 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.
    Thursday, Nov 17 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.
    Friday, Nov 18 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.
    Saturday, Nov 19 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?
    Monday, Nov 21 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.
    Tuesday, Nov 22 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?
    Wednesday, Nov 23 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.
    Thursday, Nov 24 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?
    Friday, Nov 25 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.
    Saturday, Nov 26 at 5am TPT LIFE
Passport ad


Watch even more of your favorite
PBS and TPT shows online.

Learn More