The July 17 episode of Public Television’s History Detectives will be of great interest to Bob Dylan fans–and anyone interested in 60′s music and rock memorabilia. The show, the first in History Detectives’ 10th season, is devoted to solving three mysteries involving potentially historic music artifacts.
On History Detectives, a group of researchers from various backgrounds help people answer historical questions, usually involving a family heirloom or historic object. The show devotes itself “to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects.”
A producer from History Detectives contacted me in late 2011, asking for help with one of their “cases.” He explained that a viewer had contacted the show about a guitar they claimed had been used by Dylan, possibly at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when he famously “went electric.” The owner was the daughter of a pilot who had allegedly flown Dylan and other clients of his manager, Albert Grossman, including The Band and Peter Paul and Mary. Some handwritten lyrics had been found in the guitar case, and they asked if I would inspect them to determine their authenticity. A friend, vintage guitar expert Andy Babiuk, had agreed to examine the guitar to see if it was indeed Dylan’s, and I agreed to do the same with the lyrics.
At the end of last year, I examined the lyric sheets and filmed my interview, and a few weeks later Andy examined the guitar and filmed his segment. History Detectives also interviewed Rolling Stone associate editor Andy Greene and former Dylan road manager Jonathan Taplin for the episode.
History Detectives asked Andy and me not to discuss the results of our investigations for now–sorry–but after the show airs, I’ll post a detailed explanation of what I found. In the meantime, I can assure all Dylan fans this is a program you won’t want to miss. The episode also includes investigations into a painting possibly created by Frank Zappa, and autographs allegedly signed by The Beatles during their second Ed Sullivan appearance. The research done by the History Detectives team is top notch, and there are many surprises along the way.
History Detectives, Season 10 Premiere. Tuesday July 17. 9:00/8:00 central. (According to one online article, History Detectives will be available for viewing the day after broadcast on the PBS Video site and PBS mobile apps for iPhone and iPad.)
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