The Greely Expedition: American Experience on WXXI-TV

The Greely Expedition: American Experience on WXXI-TV

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 9:00pm

Pictured: The USS Proteus in Lady Franklin Bay

Credit: Courtesy of NARA

The harrowing tale of a scientific mission turned to tragedy.

In 1881, 25 men led by Lieutenant Adolphus Greely sailed from the harbor of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Their destination was Lady Franklin Bay in the high Arctic, where they planned to collect a wealth of scientific data from a vast area of the world’s surface that had been described by a British admiral as a “sheer blank.” Three years later, only six survivors returned, with a daunting story of shipwreck, starvation, mutiny and cannibalism. The Greely Expedition, from producer Rob Rapley (AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Wyatt Earp”), tells a harrowing tale of one of the great scientific adventures of all time. Drawing on an impressive documentary record that includes scientific accounts, diaries, photographs and letters, the film reveals the nearly unbearable pressures experienced by the members of the expedition, and shows how poor planning, personality clashes, questionable decisions and pure bad luck conspired to turn a noble scientific mission into a human tragedy.

The Greely Expedition: American Experience airs Monday, January 31 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 11/cable 1011).

Television's most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has been hailed as "peerless" (Wall Street Journal), "the most consistently enriching program on television" (Chicago Tribune) and "a beacon of intelligence and purpose" (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America's past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including 24 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards and 14 George Foster Peabody Awards.

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