Fastest on Land • 1996 • episode "10/20" The True Action Adventures of the Twentieth Century

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The Story of the Land Speed Record The men that have striven for it and the cars they drove. Craig Breedlove and the plane without wings and Malcolm Campbell's historic 'Bluebird'. Breathtaking shots of success and disaster in the Nevada Desert. In 1904, automotive pioneer Henry Ford set an early speed record--to increase sales. By the late '20s, British competitors Henry Seagrave and Malcolm Campbell had pushed the record to more than 200 mph...25 years later, Campbell's son Donald doubled his father's speed. Craig Breedlove's jet-powered "Spirit of America" soon rocketed to a new record--which was broken by a rocket-powered vehicle and then by one attached to a sidewinder missile. Today Breedlove is once again trying to become the world's fastest man...by driving the speed of sound. With breath-taking footage of triump and disaster this documentary tells the story of men who risked their lives to be the fastest on land. From Malcolm Campbell's 'Bluebird' to Craig Breedlove's self-designed plane without wings that broke the 600 mph barrier in 1965 it is the true story of man's obsession with speed and danger on land.

The True Action Adventures of the Twentieth Century • 1996 • 8 episodes •

Descent from the Skies

The Story of the Parachute Parachutists are a breed apart, for few experience the freedom and the whims and the very substance of the air as they do. From its original development and use during the Great War, through the beginning of sport parachuting between the wars and its use in World War II (including airborne forces) to the skydivers of today. Includes footage of early unsuccessful attempts. A history of parachuting incorporates the pioneers, those who have leapt for their lives from stricken aircraft, the paratroopers who used the parachute to carry them to battle , the show-jumpers, the Sky Divers who jump simply for pleasure and the test jumpers who made it possible for them to do so. Like many inventions the parachute was originally developed during the heat of battle in the Great War. During the inter-war years it started to develop as a sport but came into its maturity in the Second World War with the development of airborne forces, which played a key part in Hitler's invasion plans. The skydivers of today are the latest in a long list of those who sought to descend from the skies; sometimes with unfortunate consequences. It is a story that relates the excitement, the triumph, and the tragedy that have accompanied parachuting through the years.

1996 • History

No Surrender!

Japanese Soldiers Who Refused to Believe World War II was Over A number of Japanese soldiers in the Pacific did not heed the news in August 1945 that their country had surrendered. They continued to wage guerrilla war both in the belief that their country was fighting on and for their own survival. One on the island of Guam in the Marianas did not surrender until 1960 and the last, Hiru Onada, endured a further ten years before giving himself up to the Philippine authorities. August 1945. The Japanese Empire's four million troops surrender to Allied forces. But many Japanese soldiers--stranded deep in the jungles of the Pacific islands--fought on single-handedly. And their imagined enemies--mainly island residents or peace-keeping forces--swarmed in their gunsights. Not even leaflets, endless pleas by radio, nor friends and family could budge these warriors from as much as thirty years of jungle warfare. Some Japanese soldiers in the Pacific refused to believe Japan would commit the shame of surrender and thought that the news of Japan's capitulation in August 1945 was an American trick. They continued to wage a guerrilla war for a further twenty five years until the Emperor's last, loyal soldier surrendered in 1970. The soldier's loyalty etched their names forever on the hearts of their countrymen.

1996 • History

Lawrence of Arabia

How He Helped the Arabs to Liberate Their Lands from the Turks The story of T E Lawrence's exploits with the Arabs during the Great War. Hitherto unseen clips of Lawrence riding in the desert with King Faisal and the victorious arrival into Damascus. Thomas Edward Lawrence was dispatched to Arabia in 1915 to support Britain's war effort there. Lawrence grew to love the desert people and their struggle and made it his private agenda to ensure that Britain granted the Arabs independence from Turkey as promised. Lawrence led countless raids on railways, long desert treks and repeated assaults on Gaza. He endured capture and brutal torture that scarred him emotionally and served to bolster his resolve. His heroism made him legendary in Arabia and worldwide. T.E. Lawrence was probably one of the greatest adventurers of the Great War and was immortalised in film by Peter O'Toole. But what was the true story behind this man who helped liberate the Arabs from the Turks? This documentary contains rare footage of Lawrence of Arabia riding with King Faisal at their triumphant arrival into Damascus.

1996 • History

They Landed by Moonlight

The Dropping of Agents into Occupied Europe during World War II Set against the backcloth of the Special Operations Executive and its US equivalent, the Office of Strategic Services, the use of light aircraft, parachutes, motor torpedo boats, and submarines to insert agents. The programme illustrates examples of particular agents such as Odette, Yeo-Thomas (The White Rabbit), and Violet Szabo. 1942. British Special Operations Executive ("SOE") agent Odette Sansom, mother of three, steps off a courier for the French resistance network--a highly trained Allied spy. One slip of the tongue, a flash of a British clothing label...and her life could be over. During the course of war, dozens of brave SOE agents gathered intelligence for relay back to England, destroyed Nazi roads, bridges and strongholds, and paved the way for D-Day, the largest military operaton ever attempted.

1996 • History

Fastest on Land

The Story of the Land Speed Record The men that have striven for it and the cars they drove. Craig Breedlove and the plane without wings and Malcolm Campbell's historic 'Bluebird'. Breathtaking shots of success and disaster in the Nevada Desert. In 1904, automotive pioneer Henry Ford set an early speed record--to increase sales. By the late '20s, British competitors Henry Seagrave and Malcolm Campbell had pushed the record to more than 200 mph...25 years later, Campbell's son Donald doubled his father's speed. Craig Breedlove's jet-powered "Spirit of America" soon rocketed to a new record--which was broken by a rocket-powered vehicle and then by one attached to a sidewinder missile. Today Breedlove is once again trying to become the world's fastest man...by driving the speed of sound. With breath-taking footage of triump and disaster this documentary tells the story of men who risked their lives to be the fastest on land. From Malcolm Campbell's 'Bluebird' to Craig Breedlove's self-designed plane without wings that broke the 600 mph barrier in 1965 it is the true story of man's obsession with speed and danger on land.

1996 • History

Spies in the Sky

The Story of Aerial Photographic Reconnaissance The fascinating story with newly released footage on how flying high and fast, and often unarmed, aircraft brought back valuable intelligence on the enemy in both war and peace. Sometimes they did not return. We have come a long way since the first few silk-suited aerostiers of the French revolution ascended in tethered balloons to scan the battlefield through wobbly telescopes. In just 230 years, humanity has progressed from its first faltering flights to the capability to photograph from space an object the size of a grapefruit - a testament both to technological progress and our need to keep a close eye on the world around us. From the days of artillery-spotting balloons the extensive use of aerial reconnaissance began in the Great War and has continued throughout wartime and peacetime. Newly released footage shows the dangers that these planes faced flying high and fast in enemy territory. Many of these reconnaissance planes were unarmed with only their wits to guide them safely back home. Some however never returned.

1996 • History

Save Our Souls

Dramatic Sea Rescues Some of the Twentieth Century's most famous examples, with emphasis on how the rescue services have operated in the most appalling conditions. When the "unsinkable" Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage, she went down long before rescue ships could reach her. Those who survived owed their lives to the brave, self-sacrificing efforts of some of the crew and passengers on board. Shipbuilding, sea communications and rescue capabilities have advanced since then, but as the ill-fated voyages of the Morro Castle, Andrea Doria, Estonia and others show, disaster can strike at any time. And when it does, heroic efforts often mean the difference between survival...and a watery grave. Disasters at sea can be due to war, negligence or more often the force of nature. The twentieth century is littered with examples of sea disasters, from the negligence that sunk the unsinkable Titanic on her maiden voyage, to the tragedies of war and the weather. However, if the cause of the disaster was bad weather, the rescue services then have the most difficult task of responding to the SOS in the most appalling conditions.

1996 • History

Towering Infernos

Exploits of Firefighters Some of the world's most dramatic fires and how they have been fought, with live action footage of daring rescues and escapes. Spectacular, out-of-control blazes create unique problems for firefighters. During World War II, in Hamburg, bomb-triggered fires of unprecedented scale created heat so intense it sucked in hysterical bystanders. A 25-story Brazilian office complex belched thick, toxic smoke, trapping workers on balconies and windows. And the highrise MGM Grand Hotel, firefighters staged a daring helicopter rescue for frantic guests breaking out windows on the upper floors. No matter how great the danger, firefighters battle on until the last ember is doused... then prepare for the next inferno. The Towering Inferno was one of Hollywood's blockbuster disaster films. But the reality of a major fire that is out of control is a more frightening spectacle than any film can portray. Using live footage of the major fire disaters of the twentieth century, this episode shows how these towering infernos have been fought and the bravery that has led to daring rescues and unbelievable escapes.

1996 • History

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