AMERICAN EXPERIENCE : The Secret of Tuxedo Park

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE : The Secret of Tuxedo Park

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 9:00pm

Alfred Lee Loomis in his Tower House lab, Tuxedo Park, NY.

Credit: Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives, image # SIA2008-5428

Meet the unknown tycoon whose secret lab developed the technology that altered the course of WWII.

In the fall of 1940 the fate of Western civilization hung in the balance. Hitler's armies were encamped along the English Channel, preparing for an invasion of Britain. In a desperate bid to form a technological alliance with the then-neutral United States, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent a small team of scientists on a clandestine transatlantic mission to deliver his country's most valuable military secrets to America's scientific leaders. When Churchill's emissaries arrived, they delivered the most precious item in their collection — a revolutionary radar component — to a mysterious Wall Street tycoon, Alfred Lee Loomis.

Loomis had for years led a double life, spending his days earning vast fortunes on Wall Street and his weekends working with the world's leading scientists at his private laboratory in Tuxedo Park, outside New York City. Using his connections, his money, and his brilliant scientific mind, Loomis assembled a team of the brightest scientists, and directed their efforts such that radar would arguably play a more decisive role than any other weapon in the war. Based on Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science that Changed the Course of WWII by Jennet Conant, The Secret of Tuxedo Park reveals the long-overlooked story of an extraordinary yet unheralded man. Written and directed by Rob Rapley and executive produced by Mark Samels, The Secret of Tuxedo Park premieres on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Tuesday, January 16, 9:00 p.m. on WXXI-TV.