The 90’s, episode 401: Taking Chances

Episode 401 of the award winning series, The 90's. This episode is called "TAKING CHANCES," and features the following segments:

00:00Copy video clip URL Slate, color bars.

00:27Copy video clip URL Cold open with “Bungee Jump,” show open.

01:34Copy video clip URL “Bungee Jump” by Patrick Creadon and Randy Jaffe. Patrick Creadon prepares to bungee jump from a crane. he has a camera taped to his hand to capture the moment in all its glory. “It’s not that dangerous, is it?” Pat asks. “You’re gonna be just fine,” replies the jumping aid… And he is, despite a slight “drunk” feeling.

07:16Copy video clip URL “Lilly Barry” by Skip Blumberg. Lilly Barry, a blind woman, talks about the perils of negotiating New York’s streets. She says the best way a sighted person can help her is to “just ask me if I need assistance.”

08:56Copy video clip URL “Lane Sarasohn” by Nancy Cain. Lane Sarasohn, a lottery player, picks the following numbers: years he has lived in home, his daughter’s age, his son’s age, years married, wife’s age and his age. He partakes in this ritual as “insurance against a lifetime of self incrimination.” Nancy asks, “Is it taking a chance to buy it or not to buy it?” “It’d be courting disaster not to buy it,” he replies.

10:03Copy video clip URL “Visa Lottery” by Nancy Cain, Eddie Becker, Miguel Kohan and Fabian Wagmister. A look at the chaos surrounding the visa lottery. Attorney Vera A. Weisz helps describe how the lottery works. A post office box in Arlington, Virginia, handles the millions of applications, which they accept for one week. Of the 19 million applications received, 40,000 will get a permanent visa, 16,000 of these must be of Irish descent… Applicants discuss their strategies. Sending in 400 applications is not uncommon. Eddie Becker encounters an Argentinean camera crew. They say “The 90’s” is one of their favorite channels. Eddie suggests that they submit a tape. They happened to have shot tape of the riot that ensued at the post office the previous night, which is shown here. The masses surge toward the mail bins, their future determined by the bin they get their application in… A screen roll indicates that both the Senate and the House are working on an improved process. Meanwhile, the US Post Office grossed $5.51 million from this year’s lottery.

17:47Copy video clip URL “We Play For Tips” by Esti Galili Marpet. On the streets in New Orleans, Doreen’s Jazz Band belts out the classic “Down in New Orleans.”

18:46Copy video clip URL “72 Stories Up” by Nancy Cain and Hector Garcia. A window washer cleans pollution’s residue off a Los Angeles skyscraper. On the smog, he says, “It’s kind of unsightly, but it’s also home.”

21:58Copy video clip URL “Breathing in L.A.” by Aron Ranen. Aron Ranen visits a Los Angeles air quality control maintenance station. They have a machine that filters the air at the same rate of the human lungs. John Quigley, the caretaker of the station, displays a black filter, which had been white just 24 hours earlier. “The air is getting better,” he says without a hint of sarcasm. At the Dublin Fundamental Magnet School, members of a sixth grade class comment on their troubles breathing in Los Angeles: “It hurts. Real bad.” A bunch of the kids display their asthma inhalers.

29:05Copy video clip URL “Tovey Halleck” by Skip Blumberg. In New York: Skip Blumberg “burns some tape” on his way to see Tovey Halleck, an artist. “I guess every time I go out shooting I’m taking a chance. Who knows what I’m going to find?” ponders Skip. Tovey takes Skip to his “studio,” an outdoor sculpture/shed, where he forges iron into art. Skip asks him if he was taking a chance by his career choice. “I think some people aren’t cut out for it. Some people have to learn in a hands-on way,” he replies. “From the outside looking in, some people would say you’re taking a chance,” says Skip.

34:22Copy video clip URL “Fire Dance” by Judith Binder. In Bali, Indonesia, natives chant around a fire.

35:25Copy video clip URL More from “Lane Sarasohn”. Lane Sarasohn, the lottery player, says, “I saw a guy on a PBS documentary who said, ‘Look, this is America. You can win the lottery and tomorrow be a millionaire.’ That’s not the American Dream. The American Dream is a house, a car, two kids and a dog. Now the American Dream is never having to worry about money again.”

35:29Copy video clip URL “Bingo: You Betcha” by Suzi Wehling. In Cleveland: Sandy Collins gives a tour of a temple/bingo hall. She introduces us to the staff and various players. Tom Marzella says that bingo is the fourth largest form of gambling in the U.S

41:46Copy video clip URL “Pat Arbor” by Tom Weinberg and Patrick Creadon. Pat Arbor, a soybean trader at the Chicago Board of Trade, says, “The risks we underwrite are different than the risks of a bingo parlor or Las Vegas. You don’t have to turn a card, you don’t have to roll a dice. The farmer, however, does have to plant the grain, because we have to eat. As soon as the farmer plants the grain a risk is created. All we do at the Chicago Board is underwrite that risk. We do not create that risk, the risk is already created.”

42:37Copy video clip URL “From the Horses Mouth” by Jay April. A trip to the race track yields a collection of gamblers talking about the topic they know best. “What’s the biggest chance you ever took in life?” asks Jay. The man responds, “Getting married.”

46:02Copy video clip URL “Simian Sapien” by Ben Arie Swets. Ben Swets straddles a rope that is strung up between some trees. Voiceover: “From my earliest memory I always identified myself as a monkey… I’m 33. I always enjoy climbing as much as I can… When you’re climbing trees, you’re climbing something very tall, very embracing, very nurturing.” Meanwhile he rips branches from this majestic life giving force as he frantically makes the endeavor to move form one tree to the next. While overcompensating for his frailty, Ben attempts an acrobatic move, only to fall to the ground. The cameraman fails to capture this pivotal moment. Ben continues his monologue from a hospital bed: “I was living on the edge… It probably was an ego problem… I was immediately ashamed… It’s too bad nobody got videotape of it.”

49:42Copy video clip URL “John Schuchardt” by Andrew Jones. John Schuchardt, a former captain of the US Marine Corps, recounts his story of speaking up against the Gulf War while President Bush attended church in Kennebunkport, Maine. “We understand the church to be the place where urgent moral concerns belong and ought to be addressed… I stood up and said, “I have a concern… We must think of the 18 million people of Iraq… We must think of what it is to be bombed by 2000 planes a day’… Someone shouted for me to sit down and the congregation rose up to sing ‘God Bless America’ to drown out my voice. I continued, ‘I will speak for those who are suffering. Before we sing the Lord’s Prayer I have a word’ and it was for that statement that I was assaulted by the chief of police. I was expelled from the church. I lifted my voice and spoke, ‘I am the voice of the voiceless. Stop the bombing. Stop the massacre’ I was charged with disorderly conduct. They used the law as a weapon. They felt their purpose was to prohibit anyone from talking in front of the Commander-in-Chief.” Footage of Schuchardt being dragged away is also included.

56:25Copy video clip URL End Credits.



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