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Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip

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Overview

This Ken Burns documentary is a vivid celebration of pioneering "automobilist" Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson. In 1903, Jackson accepted a 50-dollar bet to drive from San Francisco to New York City in his 20-horsepower Winton touring car, the Vermont. With only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire country, virtually no worthwhile terrain maps and absolutely no filling stations, Nelson and his co-driver, Sewall K. Crocker, literally had their work cut out for them. Accompanied by their pet bulldog, Bud fitted out in...
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Overview

This Ken Burns documentary is a vivid celebration of pioneering "automobilist" Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson. In 1903, Jackson accepted a 50-dollar bet to drive from San Francisco to New York City in his 20-horsepower Winton touring car, the Vermont. With only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire country, virtually no worthwhile terrain maps and absolutely no filling stations, Nelson and his co-driver, Sewall K. Crocker, literally had their work cut out for them. Accompanied by their pet bulldog, Bud fitted out in goggles and duster like his human companions, Nelson and Crocker embarked upon America's first transcontinental motor trip at a rate of 20 miles per hour -- and before their 63 1/2 day odyssey was over, they found themselves in the middle of a "race to the finish," thanks to the last-minute maneuverings of two competing automobile firms, Packard and Oldsmobile. Producers Burns and Dayton Duncan recreated Jackson's historical journey under many of the same condition, with a special camera mounted on their own car to simulate Jackson's point-of-view; and in typical Burns fashion, the two-hour documentary is rounded out with vintage still photos and recitations of Jackson's personal letters with Tom Hanks providing the good doctor's voice. Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip was originally telecast by who else? PBS.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Filmmaker Ken Burns continues his investigation of the United States' cultural roots with Horatio's Drive, a romantic look at the way the automobile has shaped American life. Subtitled "America's First Road Trip," Horatio's Drive follows Vermont doctor Horatio Nelson Jackson -- and a professional bicyclist and his pet bulldog, Bud -- as they set off on the first coast-to-coast car trip. After making a bet that he could drive from San Francisco to New York in 90 days this was 1903, folks, Jackson bought a Winton two-seater and began his long journey on roads that were almost entirely unpaved. Burns employs his signature documentary style, using newspaper articles, period movies, and Jackson's photographs to re-create one of the more quixotic and sadly forgotten anecdotes in American history. Supplemental features for Horatio's Drive include interviews with Burns and a featurette, "The Making of Horatio's Drive."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/28/2004
  • UPC: 097368858640
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Pbs Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:26:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Hanks Voice Only
Keith David Voice Only
Technical Credits
Ken Burns Director, Cinematographer, Producer
Dayton Duncan Producer, Screenwriter, Teleplay
Erik Ewers Editor
Drik Ewers Editor
Allen Moore Cinematographer
Susanna Steisel Associate Producer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Engaging, Romantic Unique Road Trip!

    Throughly enjoyable documentary on a unique man, Horatio Nelson Jackson, who accomplished a cross country driving trip on a sudden dare in 1903 when few roads were paved, roadmaps and signs nonexistant, and the car did not even have a windshield!! The trip morphs into a race when corporate funded cars take up the chase, and all the while Jackson writes love letters to his wife! A great story that I had never heard of before. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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