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#101 Off the Beaten Path.
To find the truly interesting people, one must travel off the beaten path. WSIU-TV's producers have done that, heading for the back roads of Southern Illinois-where places on the landscape usually are also places in someone's heart. Terry Wheeler's passion for nature has led him to tree farming, making the land better for wildlife and also receiving a steady return. Dwain McFarland' interest is "for the birds"-he raises ostriches. A. E. Corzine fancies himself a "swamp rat" with a special mission-saving his swamp land along the Cache River. His efforts landed him a place in the October 1992 issue of National Geographic.
#102 Behind the Scenes.
Backroads takes you behind the scenes to visit the unique people, places and events in Southern Illinois. Witness law-abiding citizens locked up for a night as they get an inside look at the Big Muddy Prison in Ina. Then, Gilbert Todd is the caveman and the Salt Peter Cave is his domain. What's it all about? You'll have to see it to believe it. Finally teams of runners race over hill and over dale across the southern tip of Illinois competing in the River-to-River Run. As the runners follow the backroads, Backroads follows the runners.
#103 Men and Women of Steel.
Metropolis may be the home of Superman, but Backroads proves there are many other men and women of steel right here in Southern Illinois. Meet Darryl Meiers who forged a spectacular knife for President Bush. He is taking the art of metal working where it has never been before. Jerry Smith, on the other hand, is keeping metal working where it has always been. He is a farrier and his skills didn't disappear with the horse and buggy. Finally, sculptors from around the nation converge on the SIUC Foundry for one of the country's few large-scale iron pours. Watch as they use skills as old as the Iron Age to cast today's art. This program is the 1995 Winner of CEN's award for Best Production of Informational Programming.
#104 Games People Play.
Backroads looks at the games people play, the exotic and interesting things they do in their spare time. You would think flying a jet airliner would be enough excitement for Susan Dacy. But on her days off, she performs acrobatic displays in an open cockpit biplane. Fox hunting, a merry old English tradition, is not just your average dog and pony act. Alan Schoen and Bill Perk have made a puzzle, for fun and profit, hoping it has the popularity of Rubix Cube.
#105 A Circle of Friends.
Artists Bill Boysen, Marilyn Boysen and Geneva Basler are featured. Bill Boysen has a portable glass-blowing studio. Marilyn Boysen makes unusual decorative hats for museum displays. Geneva Basler is a self taught artist whose pictures are primitive scenes of rural Illinois farms and landscapes.
#106 Best of Show.
See how Kyle Kinser crafts the furniture that won "best of show" for three straight years in Illinois' Ozark Craft Guild Competition. Then learn how a giant hot air balloon, depicting Noah's Ark got off the ground in Centralia, Illinois. Next, if you've ever wondered what it's like to fly in a balloon, hold on to your hats as pilot Mark Deuwer gives us a ride in the Army balloon. And Shelly Gimenez utilizes Southern Illinois University's international students to open up the world for young people at a camp called "Bridges to Other Cultures."
#107 Living Southern Illinois History.
It's history lessons from the heart. The history of southern Illinois comes to life when people struggle to preserve, interpret and share it. We are all enriched by the historical efforts of these special people. First, meet the people behind the National Coal Museum. Founder Christopher Ledvina did the impossible-he got a real live mine donated and has staffed it with real miners so that visitors can experience and appreciate the reality of coal mining. At age 12 Ezekiel Johnson learned of his great grandfather's civil war experience. Now he shares it with others in a unique living history presentation utilizing violin, songs and clothing from that era. Finally, people from all over the country really dig our history. Each summer they come here to help unearth the mysterious past of the Mississippian Indians. A unique National Forest Service program called Passport in Time, allows these people the opportunity to work on a actual archeological dig.
#108 Is it Business or Pleasure?
Backroads looks at some people who really enjoy what they do. You could say that Susan Fehrenbacher has a feel for the clothing business. Her family ran a clothing store and so she decided she could run one too, despite the fact that she is blind. Then, Jane Payne and George Majka describe their wine making as a "hobby run amok". They now operate the Pamona Winery, and turn southern Illinois' abundant apple crop into unique wines. Finally, Helen Killion's craft shop in Ava is home to a weaving club, where hundred-year-old looms turn scraps of fabric into beautiful rugs. For two dollars, anyone can join this unique group of women who are keeping a traditional craft alive.
#109 Extraordinary Pastimes.
They say that everyone needs a hobby, but what the folks in this episode of Backroads do with their spare time is much more intense than most past times. Jason Cradock, Jeff Jurgens and Jonathan Scattone, like to Hawg. It's fishing in the most basic sense. They use their barehands to catch monster catfish. Then Jim Grisley and his kin take old log cabins apart and reassemble them on Jim's property. In the process they expose a lot of history. History that can be experienced by spending a few nights in one of these restored cabins at Jim's Bed and Breakfast, called the Old Squat Inn. Finally, Charlie Ryder builds old models cars that are almost perfect replicas of the real thing. He doesn't use a kit or have written plans and his main building material is old tin beer cans. Learn about these extraordinary hobbies on the next Backroads.
#110 Wild Life.
Backroads looks at two people who are preserving wildlife in Southern Illinois, one literally and one figuratively. Barb Shofstall has given up a large part of her home to a menagerie of injured and orphaned animals. Together she and a group of dedicated volunteers feed and care for scores of injured animals. With the help and tolerance of her husband Jim and her family Bev almost wills Free Again Rehabilitation Center to work, if she didn't do it no one else would. Then wildlife is also being preserved at the Lick Creek General Store. Nick Rion has transformed his families traditional store front into a restaurant that does things a bit different. For example, they have handicapped accessible outhouses. This doesn't seem to keep the customers away, however. Backroads witnesses an evening of outrageous dinning, drinking and merry making that spills out into the street for the pyrotechnic display as Nick blackens shrimp in a blaze of fire. A fitting grand finale to an evening of revelry, food and friends at the Lick Creek General Store. (3/98)
#111 The Backstory.
The backstory is term for things that need to be explaimed in order for a movie audience to appreciate a story. For example anybody can go to the Metropolis Jet rally to watch these miniature jets race across the sky, but not what's it like to fly one, how they work, how much they cost and what if one crashes. Backroads gives you the backstory to this event. You might have seen an ad in the paper asking for volunteers to help teach Migrants English. If you couldn't speak Spanish, would you volunteer? Meet some of the people who are doing just that. Finally, what's with the "Beatle house" in Benton. Meet Bob Bartel the driving force for preserving this house and the history of George Harrison's visit to southern Illinois. (7/98)
Best of Backroads.
Produced by David Kidd, this local program special features highlights from the best episodes of Backroads. The program includes character studies of A. E. Corzine, whose efforts to save the Cache River resulted in its establishment as a National Wildlife Refuge; Gilbert Todd, the caveman and proprietor of Salt Petre Cave; Jason Craddock, Jeff Jurgens, and Jonathan Scattone, who like to "hawg" (catch monster catfish with their bare hands); Darryl Meirs, a metalsmith who forged a knife for President George Bush; Bev Shofstall, who operates the Free Again Rehabilitation Center for wounded wild animals; and Nick Rion, who transformed his family's traditional store, the Lick Creek General Store, into a restaurant that serves delicious food in an unusual dining environment. TV-G (3/99)
#112 Artists on Display.
Backroads features the unique art work and contributions of three talented local artists. Seona Benjamin-Kruge is an accomplished artist who shares her artistry with elementary students through the Artist in Residence program. Dan Johnson is a prolific artist who challenged himself to create one piece of art work everyday for an entire year. Frances Oliver is an artist who practices many unique art forms such as scratch boarding and performing art to live music. She has an entire exhibit about her genealogy and is gaining much deserved recognition. (8/99)
#113 Performing Arts.
In this Backroads outing, go backstage for a behind-the-scenes look at the performing arts. First,travel to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to meet Liesl Shoenburger, a talented 17-year old violinist who has won numerous awards for her fiddling. Liesl has played with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and at the Grand Ole Opry. Then meet SIUC Cinema & Photography professor, Lily Boruszkowski, who with the help of her students, developed Myrtle's Magnificent Journey, a traveling puppet show for area grade schools. The unique show traces the adventures of Myrtle, Sleeping Beauty's maid, and features princes, princesses, and a host of other unusual characters. (7/00)
#114 Flight Under Fabric. They look like parachutes with a fan powered gokart hanging below. They're called Powered Parachutes. Southern Illinois is becoming a hot bed for this sport, thanks in part to the enthusiasm of people like Norm Burley, Roy Bieswenger and Jeff Lesan. retired airline pilot Norm Burley was hooked the first time he went up. He now has built his own air park for these odd looking aircraft near Herrin IL. Roy Bieswenger taught Norm to fly and is staging the first international powered parachute competition, in his hometown, Greenville, IL. Jeff Lesan, who can best be described as a Powered Parachuting fanatic, makes a road trip to practice at Norms and a few weeks later they both head to Greenville to compete in the world championships. What started out as a short segment about Norm Burley evolved into a complete program as our local pilots prepare to take on the best in the world, right here in Southern Illinois. (02/01)
#115 Old Buildings and Old Timers.
Before Jean and Calvin Ibendahl moved off the farm that once belonged to B.G. Roots, a leading historical figure in Illinois, Backroads visited the couple and toured the house, school and log cabin. Three years later, the crew returns to document the auction of these historic buildings, which once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Backroads also visits with the late Rambling Rudy, "King of the Hobos," who shares stories of his life on the rails during the Depression and as a Shawneetown restauranteur. TV-G (premieres Thu, July 15 2004, 8pm; repeats Sun, July 18, 8:30pm)
#116 Artists and Collectors.
Joan Lintault created her unique wall hangings in near obscurity before leaving Carbondale a few years ago. SIUC Cinema & Photography professor Lilly Boruszkowski talked with the artist about her life and work before Lintault's departure for New Platz, New York. Backroads also examines the work of painter David Gooden, who demonstrates the almost fanatical determination it takes to create artwork on a professional level. Finally, Backroads joins local treasure hunters Rob and Peggy Ittner as they unearth relics from the past using metal detectors. (L) TV-G (premieres Thu, July 15 2004, 8pm; repeats Sun, July 18, 8:30pm)
#117 Home is Where the Heart Is.
This episode features three variations on the theme of "home." First, meet architect Harlan Bonhnsack, who along with a group of lay volunteers, is providing home repair assistance to the elderly and those unable to perform basic maintenance through Carbondale's Rebuilding Together program. Their efforts are making it possible for those in need to remain in their homes. Then it's off to visit the Stearns family of rural Nashville, Illinois, where the Backroads crew finds out what it's like to live in a former school building. The Stearns residence, located on Highway 127 South, was once Rice School in District 212. Finally, Dede Ittner explains the important role that oral histories play in preserving local history and how such stories strengthen the ties that bind residents to their respective communities. TV-G (premieres June 30, 2005, 8pm)
To order a VHS copy of any episode shown, please email us now.
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