From The Archives: Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan

Oct 9, 2014

Ken Burn (L) and Dayton Duncan

With the Roosevelts running (and running) on PBS stations across the country, NH’s most famous documentarian has again put Walpole on the map. Ken Burns and his production company Florentine Films have won dozens of awards – Emmys, Grammys, a Peabody and a Columbia-DuPont Award. Much of the success can also be attributed to writer/historian Dayton Duncan who was a key collaborator on many of Florentine’s projects including The National Parks, The Civil War and Baseball.

Though Duncan and Burns are not native to the Granite State, we won’t hold that against them because they’ve been here a good long while now. And while their medium of choice is TV, we won't hold that against them either as they’re no strangers to the radio waves. I’ve collected a few of the many interviews they’ve recorded with us over the decades.

This first one is actually Burns addressing the National Press Club in 1990, shortly after the broadcast of Civil War. This was one of a series of productions from NPR, kind of a proto-TED Radio Hour.

Duncan came to our old studios in Concord, appearing on our Perspectives to discuss his latest book, Miles from Nowhere: Tales from America’s Contemporary Frontier. The book is a portrait of the men and women who – geographically and influentially – live far from political and celebrity centers of the country.

Burns made several trips to our studios over the years to discuss his latest films, but this conversation with NHPR’s John Walters on The Front Porch addressed the closest thing the filmmaker ever had to a sleeper, Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip. We also hear how he ended up in NH.

The last we saw of Duncan was in 2011 when he joined Laura Knoy for a live edition of The Exchange in Keene, NH. They spoke about the arc of Duncan’s career that included stints as a journalist and as a political operative.