Monday, August 3, 2009

Ken Burns, Ranger Johnson and Woodland Love

Whether it's the history of the Civil War, the biography of a once forgotten boxing legend or a discussion of baseball, one thing is for sure, Ken Burns proves his love for the material by in the length of screen time he gives it. Though his PBS documentaries tend to be a little dry he still manages to remind people that even an 8-hour run time can be surprisingly engaging.

It's no surprise then that Burns' newest series National Parks will undoubtedly shift the nation's focus back to those rural treasures that are all but forgotten in this digital age. The legendary filmmaker began his publicity tour this past weekend and already seems well aware of the effects his documentary may have on the population. Though, in the midst of all the discussion of his personal stories and the lack of funding national parks receive is an interesting look at the popularity of Burns' filmed subjects.

The USA Today recently highlighted the phenomena of documentary filmmakers turning ordinary citizens into national demi-celebrities. In the article, Burns admits that his series (though focusing on the parks, not the people) already has a soon-to-be famous figure in Ranger Shelton Johnson. He claims that Johnson has a boisterous personality that makes 'park talk' engaging. Will it be enough to hold your attention during the entire six part series? Watch the premiere of National Parks on PBS September 27 to find out.

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