Ken Burns

  • Aired:  04/21/14
  •  | Views: 8,471

Filmmaker Ken Burns discusses his documentary "The Address" and expands on the historical significance of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. (5:31)

>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS ADOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER

WHO WANTS PEOPLE TO MEMORIZE THEGETTYSBURG ADDRESS

I DON'T KNOW, IT DIDN'T ENDWELL FOR THE FIRST GUY WHO

MEMORIZED IT.

PLEASE WELCOME KEN BURNS.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)HEY, HOW ARE YOU.

WELCOME BACK.

>> THANK YOU.

>> OKAY, EVERYBODY KNOWS KENBURNS, CIVIL WAR, BASEBALL,

YOU GOT HOW MANY, YOU GOTTWO GRAMMYS, THREE

PEABODY'S, MOST IMPRESSIVELYTHIS IS YOUR SIXTH TRIP BACK

TO MY SHOW.

>> EXACTLY.

>> Stephen: WHAT KEEPS THEKEN BURNS MOTOR RUNNING?

>> I'M WORKING SEVENPROJECTS AT ONCE AND--

YOU'RE KIDDING.

>> NO, SEVEN.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE APROBLEM.

>> I DO.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE ADDICTEDTO HISTORY.

>> I AM ADDICTED TO HISTORYAND I WOULD BE PREGNANT IF I

WERE A WOMAN BECAUSE I CAN'TSAY NO TO A PROJECT.

>> Stephen: WOW!

THAT'S BOLD.

OKAY.

YOUR NEW PROJECT IS CALLEDTHE ADDRESS, FILM BY KEN

BURNS.

IT JUST PREMIERED APRIL15th.

IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON DVDFROM THE GOOD PEOPLE AT PBS.

NOW THE ADDRESS, THEGETTYSBURG ADDRESS.

>> EXACTLY.

>> Stephen: WHAT'S THE BIGDEAL ABOUT THE GETTYSBURG

ADDRESS, YOU KNOW IT GETS ALOT OF PRESS, A LOT OF PRESS

BECAUSE IT IS SHORT, YOUKNOW IT IS EASY TO GET

THROUGH.

>> IT'S LINCOLN-- .

>> Stephen: BUT IS IT REALLYTHAT GOOD?

OR HOW MUCH OF IT IS HYPE?

>> NO HYPE, IT'S REALLY THATGOOD.

>> Stephen: IT'S ONLY 272WORDS.

IF IT WAS GOOD, I'M GOING TOKEEP TALKING IF IT WAS GOOD,

WOULDN'T THERE BE MORE OFIT?

>> NO, THAT'S THE BEAUTY.

PURE PRESIDENTIAL POETRY,HE'S DOUBLING DOWN ON THE

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

BECAUSE THOMAS JEFFERSONSAID ALL MEN ARE CREATED

EQUAL BUT HE OWNED OTHERHUMAN BEINGS.

LINCOLN FREED THOSE HUMANBEINGS AND SET IN MOTION A

KIND OF 2.0 VERSION WHICHTHE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS IS WE

HAVEN'T REPLACED IT.

AND IN 272 WORDS, IN 10SENTENCE, THE FIRST ONE FOUR

SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS ISWHERE WE'VE BEEN, NOW WE ARE

ENGAGED IN A GREAT CIVIL WARIS WHERE WE ARE, AND THE

REST ARE ABOUT PULLING USINTO A FUTURE THAT WE HAVE

BECOME.

HE ASKED US TO BE ADIFFERENT KIND OF PEOPLE TO

HAVE A NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM.

AND THIS FILM IS ABOUT ASMALL SCHOOL IN VERMONT

WHERE THE KIDS SUFFER FROMDISLEXIA, ADHD, A WHOLE

HOST OF LEARNING DIFFERENCESTHAT MAKES THEIR PASSAGE

THROUGH SCHOOL VERYCHALLENGING.

BUT EACH YEAR THE SCHOOL FORTHE 35 YEARS IT HAS BEEN IN

EXISTENCE HAS CHALLENGED THEKIDS TO FIRST MEMORIZE IT

AND THEN PUBLICLY RECITE THEGETTYSBURG ADDRESS.

>> Stephen: AND THEY COMPETEAGAINST EACH OTHER TO BE THE

ONE WHO GETS TO DO THIS.

>> NO, NO, THEY ALL DO ITTHEY ALL MEMORIZE IT, AND

THEY HAVE ALL-- .

>> Stephen: BUT DOESSOMEBODY WIN, ISN'T THERE A

WINNER, IS THERE A WINNER?

BECAUSE IT SOUNDS LIKEYOU'RE HAVING CHILD FIGHTS

AGAINST EACH OTHER.

JUST 50 CHILDREN.

>> EXACTLY, NO, NO, THERE ISA MIDDLE SCHOOL AND A HIGH

SCHOOL, FIRST, SECOND ANDTHIRD.

BUT THEY'RE ALL WINNERSBECAUSE THEY OVERCOME THIS,

LOOK, WE DON'T DO ANY MEMORIZATION IN SCHOOL ANY

MORE.

WE USED TO MEMORIZE A LOTOF STUFF.

>> I DIDN'T DO IT BEFORE.

>> WE ACTUALLY HAVE A CLIPOF THE FILM.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

>> WE HAVE DIVIDED THEGETTYSBURG INTO FIVE

PARAGRAPHS FOR LEARNING.

>> FOUR SCORE AND SEVENYEARS AGO OUR FATHERS-- BROUGHT

FORTH ON THIS CONTINENT ANEW NATION WITH LIBERTY AND

DEDICATED TO THE -- THAT ALLMEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

>> YOU DID THAT VERY WELL.

CAN YOU TELL THEM WHAT WASGOING ON IN PARAGRAPH 1,

ABOUT FOUR SCORE.

>> HOW AMERICA CAME TOGETHER, AND THEN WHAT'S HAPPENING.

>> OUR FATHERS BROUGHT FORTH>> ON THIS CONTINENT A NEW

NATION DEDICATED>> TO THE PROPOSITION THAT

>> ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

>> Stephen: IF LINCOLN HADLOST THE WAR WOULD WE BE

MEMORIZING THIS SPEECH?

>> THAT'S SO INTERESTING.

>> Stephen: OF COURSE, IASKED IT?

(LAUGHTER)>> SELBY FOOT IN THE CIVIL

WAR SAID AS A MISSISSIPPIANTHAT EVEN THOUGH HE, HIS

PEOPLE HAD LOST THE CIVILWAR, HE WAS ASKED TO MEMORIZE

IT BECAUSE IT WAS SUCHAN EXTRAORDINARY PIECE OF

DICTION SUCH ANEXTRAORDINARY PIECE OF

RHETORIC THAT IT SORT OFWOULD BE REMEMBERED

REGARDLESS.

SO I HAD NEVER THOUGHT ABOUTIT THE OTHER WAY.

>> Stephen: YOU STARTEDANOTHER PROJECT, WHAT IS IT

CALLED, LEARN THE ADDRESS.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: YOU WERE TRYINGTO GET EVERYBODY IN AMERICA

TO LEARN THIS ADDRESS.

>> YES, WE WERE CHALLENGINGEVERYBODY.

IF YOU GO TO LEARN THEADDRESS.ORG YOU HAVE ALL THE

LIVING PRESIDENTS, NOTABLEPEOPLE, STEPHEN COLBERT,

LOTS OF-- .

>> Stephen: HOW DID YOU GETHIM?

(LAUGHTER)>> IT WAS REALLY TOUGH.

IT WAS TOUGH BUT HE DID IT.

>> Stephen: BUT WHY THISADDRESS?

I MEAN THERE ARE SOME GREATPRESIDENTIAL SPEECHES OUT

THERE.

WHY NOT WILLIAM HENRYHARRISON'S 8400-WORD

PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURALADDRESS THAT WAS SO POWERFUL

THAT IT KILLED HIM.

>> THAT HE DIED!

>> Stephen: ONE MONTH LATER.

I MEAN THAT IS A SPEECH TOMEMORIZE.

(APPLAUSE)MAYBE THE NEXT FILM.

>> MAYBE, THE PRESIDENCY OFWILLIAM HENRY HARRISON.

>> Stephen: THAT WOULD BE AVERY SHORT DOCUMENTARY.

IT'S A STATION BREAK ON PBS.

>> THEN I CAN'T DO IT.>> Stephen: KEN BURNS, THEADDRESS, WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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