14 April 2016
American Experience announced on 12 April that The Boys of ’36, a new one-hour documentary inspired by Daniel James Brown’s critically acclaimed book The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, will premiere on Tuesday, 2 August, at 9 -10 p.m. ET on the American PBS Channel. The thrilling story of the American Olympic rowing team that triumphed against all odds in Nazi-Germany, The Boys in the Boat has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 95 weeks.
Executive produced by Mark Samels and produced by Margaret Grossi and Mary Carillo, The Boys of ’36 is the well-known story for HTBS readers of the nine working-class young men from the University of Washington who surprised USA and the rowing world when they captured the gold medal in the eights at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. These sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers overcame tremendous hardships – psychological, physical and economic – to beat not only the Ivy League crews of the East Coast in America but Germany’s elite oarsmen. Their unexpected victory, and the obstacles they overcame to achieve it, gave hope to a nation struggling to emerge from the depths of the Depression.
Featuring interviews with author Daniel James Brown, historians and surviving children of the 1936 Washington crew, The Boys of ’36 premieres in conjunction with the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 80th anniversary of the American crew’s triumph.
The broadcast of The Boys of ’36 will be accompanied by a series of screening events across America, many in partnership with USRowing, the national governing body for rowing in the United States.
‘USRowing is thrilled to partner with American Experience and Liberty Mutual to share this much-anticipated documentary with the rowing community,’ said USRowing Chief Marketing Officer Beth Kohl. ‘The story of the 1936 crew is one that transcends rowing and has captured the hearts of millions of people, from those who have never touched an oar to our U.S. athletes training for the 2016 Olympic Games.’
‘The Boys of ’36 is really an inspiring story,’ said Mark Samels, American Experience Executive Producer. ‘These remarkable young men – with nothing more than strength of character, hard work and determination – triumphed over unimaginable odds. We’re proud to bring this story, so vividly recounted in Brown’s bestseller, to our audience.’
Editor’s note: Some of HTBS’ writers, Chris Dodd, Tim Koch and Tom Weil, have worked ‘behind the scenes’ to provide the documentary team with information about crews and events featured in the story about the 1936 Olympic champions in the eights.