When we got word that the latest Ken Burns film “The Roosevelts” would be airing this fall, we at WMHT knew we had to produce some sort of companion program. After all, Franklin and Eleanor’s hometown of Hyde Park is in our viewing area. Plus, FDR and his distant cousin Theodore both occupied not only the White House but the Governor’s Mansion here in Albany. As someone who not only covers state politics but is also a major history buff, the station looked to me to come up with the best idea. There is certainly no shortage of good stories around this famous family and their ties to our region but for me the best one was clear.
Theodore Roosevelt is considered by the vast majority of historians to be one of our greatest presidents. He was the trust-busting, progressive Republican, offering a “Square Deal” to all Americans. He’s held in such high regard that he’s one of only four of our commanders-in-chief to have his face carved on Mount Rushmore. Be honest, though: Do you know how he became President of the United States? He was elected in a landslide, right? Not quite. In fact if not for the cruel hand of fate, the man we affectionately call “Teddy” may never have made it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
That is the focus of our documentary Nine Long Days: TR’s Journey to the White House. Our travels take us to every geographical area that played a role in the tragic events of September 1901, including Buffalo, Newcomb and North Creek here in New York as well as to Vermont and Ohio. Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes story coming up from our many travels.