Mysteries at the Museum (2010) Episode Scripts

N/A - Hank Williams

1 A strange light with the power to heal.
Some have referred to this phenomenon as a medical miracle.
A famous crime author plays detective.
This deduction was exactly something Sherlock Holmes would have done.
And the tragic tale of the Elephant Man.
(woman) It's a story of where the beauty within us really lies.
These are the mysteries at the museum.
Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1951, a local DJ coined the term "rock and roll," forever cementing this city's place in music history.
And celebrating this legacy is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Its star-studded collection includes Michael Jackson's sequined glove, feather dresses worn by The Supremes, and a gold leather outfit that belonged to David Bowie.
But among these glimmering costumes is a more understated garment.
(man) It's made out of wool.
It's off-white with some green and brown stripes.
This seems like a very ordinary object, but it's truly a piece of American history.
(Don) The man who wore this jacket was one of the greatest country singers of all time, but his sudden and tragic demise is shrouded in mystery.
This country superstar's death may have been stranger than anyone could've imagined.
(Don) January 2, 1953.
Country music fans across the nation awaken to tragic news.
One of the industry's biggest stars has died-- 29-year-old singer/songwriter, Hank Williams.
(Keith) Hank Williams was more than just a popular music star in the 1950s.
He was the face and the voice of country music.
(Don) According to newspaper reports, Williams was being driven from Alabama to a concert in Ohio.
During the trip, the musician complained of back pain.
He had terrible back pain that he tried to manage by taking prescription medication.
(Don) Williams's chauffeur stopped at a hotel in Tennessee.
There, the singer received treatment from a local physician.
Hours after getting back on the road, the musician's symptoms worsen.
So Williams was rushed to a hospital in West Virginia, but it was too late.
The country music star was pronounced dead on arrival.
Authorities launch an official investigation into the cause of his death.
Police question the singer's chauffeur, and an autopsy is performed on Williams's body.
On January 11th, the official report is released to the public.
It concludes that Williams died of heart failure.
The cause of death seems pretty straightforward.
This case was cut and dry.
(Don) People the world over mourn the influential artist's sudden passing.
Hank Williams's death left his legions of fans stunned.
(Don) But one person doubts the official version of events-- Williams's widow, Billie Jean.
She refuses to believe that her young husband died from natural causes.
Twenty-nine-year-olds don't generally drop dead from heart attacks.
Something just didn't seem right.
(Don) So Billie Jean begins her own investigation.
Combing through her late husband's personal files, she finds something surprising.
She discovers that her husband made a series of unusual payments to one specific individual.
All the money was going to a doctor in Oklahoma named Horace Marshall.
(Don) It seems that Williams has been visiting Marshall to help manage his chronic back pain.
Doctor Marshall was prescribing him morphine.
(Don) But when Billie Jean looks into the doctor's past, she discovers the man is nothing more than an imposter.
He was an individual private citizen masquerading as a doctor.
(Don) It appears that Marshall wasn't trying to relieve Williams's pain.
He was feeding an addiction.
(Keith) There were reports that Horace Marshall would ride the same circuit as Hank Williams with a little goodie bag filled with morphine, and when Hank Williams needed a little pick-me-up, Marshall was always there.
(Don) With this evidence, Billie Jean pieces together the truth behind her husband's final ride.
Before leaving Alabama, Marshall gave Williams a series of morphine injections.
Midway through the trip, when the singer complained of back pain, his chauffeur dutifully took Williams to a doctor in Tennessee, and that doctor, unaware of what Williams had received just hours earlier, also gave the country singer a shot of morphine.
That harmless shot at the motel in Tennessee may have had just enough morphine to trigger an overdose.
(Don) Billie Jean is devastated.
It seems that her husband's heart attack was caused by an accidental drug overdose set into motion by a fraudulent doctor, but despite Billie Jean's claims, there isn't enough concrete evidence to convict Horace Marshall for his role in the country star's death.
Instead, Marshall does go to jail for forging prescriptions.
Today, Hank Williams remains one of the most iconic figures in country music history.
(Keith) The bizarre circumstances of Hank Williams's death turned him into a bigger legend than he already was.
(Don) This jacket, worn by the influential artist, is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
It recalls the famous singer/songwriter's soaring career that ended on a tragic note.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is home to some of the nation's most treasured landmarks, including Independence Hall, the Navy Yard, and Logan Square, but on the banks of the Schuylkill River is an institution that contains some of the strangest artifacts anywhere in America-- the Mütter Museum.
The bizarre specimens on show include the preserved liver of famous conjoined twins, Chang and Eng, human skulls from the 19th century, and even a slice of Albert Einstein's brain.
But among these peculiar exhibits is a set of ordinary items with an illuminating story to tell.
(man) They're steel instruments.
The handles are made of ebonized wood.
These tools were used for terrifying procedures on the battlefield.
(Don) These surgical implements recall one of the most baffling medical mysteries of all time.
This is one of the strangest stories that has emerged in the history of war.
[dramatic music] (Don) April 7, 1862, Shiloh, Tennessee, the Civil War.
Union forces have just claimed a critical victory over the Confederacy, but it has come at a heavy price.
(Robert) The Battle of Shiloh was the first severely vicious battle of the war that produced casualties in five figures.
(Don) Thousands of soldiers lie gravely wounded on the muddy battlefield.
[distant shouts of pain] Doctors tend to the injured using primitive medical kits, just like this one at the Mütter Museum.
(Robert) The priority of the moment was to save lives and to get those soldiers out of that wet, muddy, swampy environment into some kind of a healthful atmosphere.
[pained sobbing] (Don) But the sheer number of wounded troops is overwhelming, and as night falls, the physicians come to a devastating realization-- they will have to leave hundreds of soldiers on the battlefield to die.
(Robert) The doctors dreaded it.
They knew the extreme wounds could by mortal as a result.
(Don) But then, according to legend, events take a strange turn.
A soldier is examining his wounds when he notices something bizarre.
(Robert) A faint blue glow began emanating from the wound itself.
(Don) And he's not the only soldier to experience this incredible phenomenon.
One by one, soldiers' injuries start to light up, and before long, the battlefield at Shiloh is bathed in a bright blue-green glow.
Soldiers marveled at a glow within their own wounded bodies.
(Don) But this strange glow does more than just light the night.
It seems to have some kind of healing effect.
Despite being left for dead, the men survive the night.
By daybreak, the glow disappears, and when the medics return to the battlefield, they're stunned to find so many men still alive.
(Robert) The doctors are in a state of shock.
It's a medical miracle.
(Don) So what's the truth behind this seemingly magical glow? [dramatic music] It's 1862, Tennessee.
Soldiers hurt in the Battle of Shiloh say as they lay injured on the battlefield, a strange light emanated from their wounds, and soon after, they began to heal, so what is this mysterious medicinal glow? In the aftermath of the battle, no one is able to explain the mysterious blue-green glow and its miraculous healing powers, but, over the years, several theories emerge.
Some attribute the glow to divine intervention.
(Robert) Some of the intensely Christian soldiers may have seen it as an omen, perhaps a divine visitation, divine spirits.
(Don) But others think that the soldiers witnessed a completely natural phenomenon.
There is a luminescent phenomenon known as swamp gas, chemical reactions in the ground that release photons that is light-emitting energy.
(Don) But neither of these theories can fully explain what happened.
Finally, in 2001, a scientist named Dr.
Phyllis Martin decides to solve the mystery once and for all.
Phyllis Martin was a microbiologist with the United States Department of Agriculture.
She was rather excited about the possibility of a scientific investigation of an historic mystery.
(Don) Dr.
Martin thinks the answer lies in the putrid conditions of the battlefield.
(Robert) The battle took place in the early spring.
It was a wet, muddy, swampy environment.
(Don) Martin theorizes that the muddy soil would have provided the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, but there's one particular bacteria that's known for a unique characteristic-- its name is Photorhabdus luminescens , and it glows in the dark.
(Robert) The presence of the glow in Shiloh begins to make sense.
(Don) But that's not all.
Photorhabdus luminescens also helps fight infections.
The bacteria takes over and displaces other microorganisms, therefore pushing away opportunity for infection.
(Don) Dr.
Martin is convinced that the strange, glowing wounds on the soldiers at Shiloh and their miraculous recovery can be attributed to this small bacteria.
There's a strong likelihood that we have an explanation for this phenomenon.
(Don) Today, this medical kit is on display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.
It's a reminder of one of the strangest and most illuminating mysteries of the Civil War.
A 28,000-year-old Neanderthal skull, tools made by early Homo sapiens, and a giant model of a double helix are just some of the displays at the DNA Learning Center.
Located within the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, New York, this facility charts the course of human evolution.
But its star attraction is dedicated not to life but to death.
The artifact is tannish-brown, a little over five feet tall.
It has legs, it has feet.
It looks almost alien, though we are pretty sure it is of this world.
(Don) This relic is at the center of a chilling murder mystery that stretches back more than 5,000 years.
This unusual body confounded researchers and electrified the scientific community.
(Don) September 1991, northern Italy.
Two German tourists named Erika and Helmut Simon are hiking the Alps.
They're in a little-known section of the Ötztal Mountains when they spot something sticking out of the glacial snow and ice.
(Dustin) The saw this strange brown thing off to the side of the path from a distance.
(Don) The curious hikers move in for a closer look and make a grim discovery.
The object is a human head.
The Simons were shocked and probably pretty horrified.
(Don) As they peer deeper into the ice, they're able to make out the shape of an entire human body.
The Simons rush down the mountain to alert the authorities.
Soon after, police arrive on the scene.
At first, they assume the frozen figure is a lost hiker who died of exposure.
It's not uncommon for even experienced climbers to become trapped during violent storms in this part of the Alps.
Police assume it's someone who died going off the beaten path and maybe getting lost.
(Don) But when police check their list of missing persons, they can't find any that fit this bizarre discovery.
Determined to identify the body, the officers start to dig it out.
And as they chip away at the ice, they make an even more disturbing discovery.
The body is a man's, and it's naked.
Not only that, but there doesn't appear to be any clothing or hiking equipment in the vicinity.
(Dustin) So the authorities realize this probably is not a dead hiker, and their next thought is, "We gotta figure out what the heck is going on here.
" (Don) Authorities are forced to consider a chilling possibility-- the man didn't die as a result of an accident but was murdered, but what they don't realize yet is that they've just uncovered the oldest cold case in human history.
It's 1991.
A dead body has been discovered, frozen in ice on a remote path in the Italian Alps.
The strange corpse appears to be naked, leading investigators to suspect foul play.
So who is this mysterious iceman, and how did he die? Six days after they first began digging, authorities finally pry the body from the glacier.
Remarkably, the skin still appears to be fresh.
The naked corpse is sent to a laboratory for analysis, but the results are not what anyone expected.
The body is that of a 45-year-old man who died more than 5,000 years earlier.
This isn't a cold case, it's an archeological find.
This is one of the oldest and the best well-preserved human specimens every found.
(Don) Officials hand the body over to scientists, who perform a barrage of tests.
Using CT scans and DNA analysis, they piece together exactly how this man ended up naked and dead on a mountain in the year 3,000 B.
C.
It seems he may indeed have been the victim of a murder mystery.
(Dustin) The face and skull had a huge dent in the center, potentially from trauma while alive.
Researchers discovered there was an arrow tip lodged in one of his shoulder blades, which led them to believe he died from that arrow wound and ultimately succumbed to blood loss.
(Don) Scientists also find evidence of wounds on the man's hands, suggesting he was involved in some sort of violent struggle before his demise.
(Dustin) He was either being chased or hunted and ended up in a fight that led to his death.
(Don) This fatal conflict most likely coincided with a massive snowstorm, which encased his body in thick ice, preserving it perfectly for thousands of years.
Researchers are even able to reconstruct what he looked like before he died.
(Dustin) It provides an amazing snapshot into the life and times of central Europeans thousands of years ago.
(Don) The findings awe the scientific community, and the perfectly preserved man is nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman, after the Ötztal mountain range in which he was found.
Today, Ötzi is the most studied human specimen of all time.
An exact cast of his body is now on display at the DNA Learning Center in Cold Spring Harbor.
It recalls the incredible discovery of a man who was literally frozen in time.
London, England.
This city's picturesque parks and gardens cover more than 35,000 acres and offer a range of sporting activities throughout the year.
Locals looking to get in shape can paddle a rowboat in Regent's Park, jog around Hampstead Heath, or go horseback riding on Wimbledon Common.
And in the eastern part of the city is an institution that's also dedicated to health and wellbeing-- the Royal London Hospital Museum.
It displays antique surgical instruments, nurses' uniforms from the 19th century, and a letter purportedly written by the infamous Jack the Ripper.
But there's one strange item here that looks like it belongs in a Halloween parade rather than a museum.
(woman) This artifact is made out of black velvet and tan flannel.
On the top, there is a cap, and there is a rectangular cutout in the center.
It was designed to protect an innocent man from a terribly cruel world.
(Don) This artifact covered the misshapen face of a man whose life was beset by tragedy.
(woman) It's a story of where the beauty within us as human beings really lies.
(Don) It's the 1880s in Leicester, England.
Twenty-two-year-old Joseph Merrick is unlike most men his age.
Ever since birth, a mysterious medical condition has left him badly deformed.
(Hallie) His head looked about three times the size of an average head-- he had massive growths coming out of one side of his face with his mouth completely contorted.
(Don) Because of his appearance, Merrick is made the constant target of ridicule.
(Hallie) People thought that he looked absolutely terrifying.
He was treated as-- as a freak or an animal.
(Don) As if the social stigma wasn't bad enough, Merrick's condition also renders his hands nearly useless.
As a result, the only work he can find is low paid, menial labor.
His only wish is to live in peace in a house he can call his own.
(Hallie) Merrick just wanted to be left alone to retreat from society.
(Don) But his meager wages mean that his dream is completely out of reach.
Then, one day, the young man learns of something that could turn it into a reality-- a traveling freak show.
Merrick thought that he would use his appearance to his advantage and try to make money from it.
(Don) Merrick writes to the manager of one such show, and in August 1884, he joins the tour as one of its star attractions under a new stage name.
(Hallie) The manager came up with half-man, half-elephant, and he became known as the Elephant Man.
People found him completely grotesque.
Women screamed.
Men gasped.
(Don) For two years, Merrick travels around Europe, fascinating audiences all over the continent.
Among the throngs of people who come to see him is a young physician named Frederick Treves.
(Hallie) Treves invited him to the hospital so he could study his condition.
(Don) Merrick takes the doctor's business card but explains that he's making too much money on tour to take time off for scientific study.
By 1886, Merrick has almost saved enough money to buy a house.
It looked like he could retire and get what he wanted in life.
(Don) But just when his dream is within reach, the fickle hand of fate intervenes.
One morning in June, Merrick wakes up to a terrible discovery-- all his money has been stolen, and his tour manager has disappeared.
Merrick's life on the road and his dream of buying a house are at an end.
Everything that Merrick had worked for was gone.
(Don) Impoverished and alone, he's forced to live on the rough streets of London.
He was penniless, distraught, abandoned, without a friend in the world.
(Don) And then things get even worse.
One night, Merrick is set upon by a violent mob.
(Hallie) Merrick was terrified.
He wasn't able to defend himself.
(Don) Merrick fears for his life, but this tragic turn of events will change his life in ways he never could have imagined.
It's 1886.
Joseph Merrick, more famously known as the Elephant Man for his grotesque physical appearance, is at his lowest ebb, penniless and alone on the cold streets of London, but fate is about to intervene and change his life forever.
[shouting] The violent mob continues its vicious assault, but then, to Merrick's relief, the police spot the frenzied scene and come to the rescue.
They managed to get him away from the crowd.
(Don) Merrick is so battered and weak, he cannot even tell the authorities his name, so the police search him and find a tattered business card in his pocket-- it bears the name of Frederick Treves, the young physician Merrick met on tour years earlier.
Police escort Merrick to Treves' office.
(Hallie) Treves took him in, cleaned him up, showed him kindness.
Merrick felt looked after.
He felt cared for.
(Don) Treves helps him get back on his feet and over time gives Merrick the confidence to aspire to become more than just a recluse.
Treves convinced Merrick to go out in public.
Merrick really start to come out of his shell.
(Don) With Treves' help, Merrick slowly integrates himself into London society.
He attends the theater, reads books, and even meets with royalty.
Before long, he becomes the talk of the town, not merely for his appearance, but for his intelligence and curiosity.
(Hallie) It was the most incredible turnaround of circumstances.
He loved the attention.
He loved it that people were treating him as a human being.
(Don) Decades later, the Elephant Man's story of acceptance and tolerance is immortalized in a Tony Award-winning play and an Oscar-nominated film.
And today, this cloth mask, used by Merrick to hide his face, is on display at the Royal London Hospital Museum.
It recalls the man who overcame a lifetime of adversity to courageously face the world.
A 19th-century legal satchel, a lunchbox that belonged to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and a 1469 copy of the Magna Carta are just some of the items that line the hallowed halls of the Harvard Law Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
But buried deep in the archives is a set of artifacts linked to a bizarre legal case that seems ripped right out of a detective novel.
(man) It's a beige folder.
The pages are bound by three rusty staples.
When you open it up, newspaper clippings tumble out of it.
(Don) These newspaper columns were penned by a brilliant literary figure who proved that truth really can be stranger than fiction.
(George) This is the story of a miscarriage of justice and the famous author who tried to right it.
(Don) 1906, London.
Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, is at the height of his success.
(George) Sherlock Holmes is a global sensation.
It has made Arthur Conan Doyle rich, wealthy, and influential.
(Don) One day in December, [knocking noises] the author receives a surprising request, not to write about a mysterious crime, but to solve one.
Conan Doyle is approached by an Indian man named George Edalji.
Edalji says he's the victim of a grave injustice.
He tells Conan Doyle that he is a former resident of the small English village of Great Wyrley.
Because of the intolerant attitude of some locals, Edalji was the target of racial slurs, vandalism against his property, and hate mail, yet despite this, he persevered and found success as an attorney.
But in August of 1903 he received an unexpected visit from the police.
To his amazement, the officers accused him of being responsible for a string of brutal livestock mutilations.
Police took one look at George Edalji and thought that he must have been guilty of this crime because he came from India, where strange, savage rites were said to have taken place.
(Don) Although there was no tangible evidence against him, Edalji was arrested and swiftly convicted.
He spent three long years doing hard labor before being released, but with his reputation in tatters, a return to normal life is impossible.
(George) He can't practice law anymore.
His whole life has been destroyed by these absolutely baseless charges.
(Don) Edalji is desperate to clear his name.
His only hope is to find the real culprit behind the animal mutilations, so he's turned to Arthur Conan Doyle.
If anyone can help him, surely it's the world's greatest crime writer.
For Conan Doyle, taking on a real-life case is a huge risk.
If he can't solve the mystery, it could damage his reputation, not to mention the image of his famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Nevertheless, the author feels he can't allow this injustice to go unchecked, so he agrees to help.
(George) One could almost imagine him saying the same words as Sherlock Holmes would say, "The game is afoot.
" (Don) Conan Doyle travels to the village of Great Wyrley.
He visits crime scenes, examines physical evidence, and pores over witness statements.
But he finds that cracking a case is a lot harder than writing about one.
After months of investigating, he's still no closer to clearing Edalji's name.
(George) At this point, Conan Doyle is beginning to think, what has he gotten himself into? (Don) And then things get even worse.
Conan Doyle receives vicious hate mail from locals who want him to mind his own business.
(George) All he's been trying to do is clear George Edalji's name.
But now he's in something much deeper than that.
(Don) The author is at his wit's end.
Not only is he unable to exonerate a seemingly innocent man, but the public is also turning against him.
Then he has a moment of Holmesian brilliance.
Conan Doyle realizes that this outpouring of hatred may provide the key to solving the mystery.
This deduction was exactly something Sherlock Holmes would've done.
It's 1906, England.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, takes on a real-life case.
An Indian man has been convicted of a crime he didn't commit.
But the author finds that solving a crime is a lot harder than writing about it.
So can Conan Doyle overturn this miscarriage of justice? Conan Doyle reads every piece of hate mail he's received.
Then he compares it to the hate mail sent to George Edalji years earlier.
And that's when he notices that the sprawling, racist rants have one bizarre thing in common.
(George) All of them seemed to mention this one grammar school near Great Wyrley.
(Don) Sensing he's on to something, the writer-turned-sleuth contacts the school.
Conan Doyle asked them if they know of any pupils who maybe were violent, and, in fact, there was someone who this fits.
(Don) His name is Royden Sharp.
He's a trained butcher with a reputation for fits of uncontrollable rage.
According to reports, Sharp left the village in the summer of 1903, exactly the same time the slew of animal mutilations stopped.
Conan Doyle feels a kind of Holmesian satisfaction.
Here, in front of him, is the guilty party.
Sidestepping the prejudiced police force, Arthur Conan Doyle publishes his findings in a series of newspaper articles, many of which can still be found in the archives of the Harvard Law Library.
The tactic does the trick.
(George) When the public reads about the George Edalji case, they are up in arms.
How could one man have his life completely destroyed purely because of the color of his skin? (Don) The public outcry forces the British government to reconsider Edalji's case.
In May 1907, it absolves him of all charges.
While Sharp is never located, Edalji's reputation is fully restored, all thanks to the sly sleuthing of his favorite author.
George Edalji must've thought that this was something beyond his wildest dreams.
He could once again practice law.
(Don) Today, these aging articles remain at the Harvard Law Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
They're proof that Arthur Conan Doyle's powers of deduction were just as sharp as his famous creation.
A mastodon skeleton from the Ice Age, 300 pounds of gold nuggets, and a 63-foot-long whale are all on display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
But deep in the archives is an object with origins not in nature but popular culture.
(woman) It is a rectangular piece of gray felt with a black oval and two white Xes.
It almost looks like something that you would've made in grade school in craft hour.
(Don) This piece of fabric recalls the little known story of how the world's most famous silent movie star fell from grace.
This is the tale of the downfall of one of Hollywood's greatest icons.
(Don) It's the early 1950s.
The United States and the Soviet Union are locked in the grip of the Cold War, leaving many Americans terrified of the threat of Communism.
(Beth) There was tremendous fear in the United States the Communists were going to infiltrate from within and take over the United States.
(Don) To combat this threat, the U.
S.
government begins a massive campaign to root out possible Soviet spies and Communist sympathizers.
Federal officials identify hundreds of suspicious individuals in the highest echelons of politics, business, and entertainment and accuse them of using their power to advance a Communist agenda.
(Beth) There were a number of attacks by conservatives fearing Communism and its spread in the United States.
(Don) Then, in September 1952, the government takes aim at someone no one would have suspected-- America's favorite silent movie star, Charlie Chaplin.
(Beth) Charlie Chaplin had been an icon of American cinema for a quarter of a century at that point.
(Don) The British-born actor has been churning out hit movies for decades, making him one of the industry's wealthiest figures.
(Beth) Chaplin lived the American dream.
He was a millionaire and a world-famous celebrity.
(Don) But according to the U.
S.
government, Chaplin was not the man most Americans knew him to be.
They allege he is a Communist sympathizer who has even given money to support the Soviet regime in Russia.
In fact, the threat posed by Chaplin is deemed so great that the government revokes his visa, effectively exiling him from the United States.
Across the country, Chaplin's fans are stunned.
This was not the vision that many of his fans had of Charlie Chaplin.
Chaplin had gone from America's favorite star to public enemy number one almost overnight.
(Don) So is Charlie Chaplin really a closet Communist? It's 1952.
Charlie Chaplin's reputation is in tatters.
Under suspicion for being a Communist, the famous movie star has been exiled from the United States.
So is the Little Tramp really a Communist? Unable to remain in the United States, Charlie Chaplin moves to Switzerland.
After 40 years of Silver Screen successes, his career is effectively over.
Chaplin never worked in the United States again.
(Don) But was Chaplin really a Communist? Decades after the allegations against him surfaced, historians reexamine the events surrounding Chaplin's downfall.
They discover that the entire case against the actor was orchestrated by a single politician bent on making a name for himself-- Senator Joseph McCarthy.
McCarthy saw the nation's fear of Communism as an opportunity to advance his own political career.
And so the Wisconsin senator made it his mission to expose as many people as Communists as possible, often without any substantial evidence.
In one day alone, McCarthy levied accusations of Communism at over 200 people, from members of the State Department to high-ranking military officials.
But to truly capture the attention of the American public, the ruthless politician turned his attention to Tinseltown.
(Beth) Hollywood, with its liberal political views, was one of his favorite targets.
(Don) McCarthy convinced the government that Hollywood actors, directors, and producers were using their films as the ultimate form of Communist propaganda, and as the most popular movie star in America, Chaplin was a ripe target.
(Beth) McCarthy knew Chaplin was the most famous.
He was the one who had the means to send a political message in cinemas throughout the world.
(Don) Although there was no proof that Chaplin was a Communist, McCarthy and his allies gathered enough circumstantial evidence to have the star banned from the United States.
By 1954, McCarthy's influence was on the wane.
He fell out of the public grace and eventually lost his senate seat, but the damage to Chaplin's reputation was irreparable.
The Little Tramp lived in exile for 20 years.
Eventually, America extended the fallen star an olive branch.
In 1972, Chaplin was granted permission to travel to California and receive an honorary Oscar.
(Beth) It was a triumphant return.
He was very moved by the homecoming he received.
(Don) Today, this costume piece from Chaplin's last hit film, The Great Dictator , is housed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
It recalls a Hollywood icon who became the hapless target of a relentless political crusade.
From a country music legend to a literary sleuth.
A battlefield miracle to a man frozen in time.
I'm Don Wildman, and these are the mysteries at the museum.