Emmy Award-Winning Documentary Barnum Lives Tells the Story of Showman P. T. Barnum in an Unorthodox Style

Release Date: 12/31/1969

Emmy Award-Winning Documentary Barnum Lives Tells the Story of Showman P. T. Barnum in an Unorthodox Style

 
Airs Friday, February 15 at 8:30 p.m. on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV); encore broadcast on Thursday, February 21 at 10:30 p.m.
 
Barnum Lives – airing on Friday, February 15 at 8:30 p.m. on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV), with an encore broadcast on Thursday, February 21 at 10:30 p.m. – is a half-hour mixed media documentary about the businessman and entertainer Phineus Taylor Barnum, widely known for being a former mayor of Bridgeport and founding the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. This unique stylized autobiography takes viewers on a trip through the life of P.T. Barnum and allows Barnum himself the opportunity to answer his critics who called him a huckster and a charlatan.
 
Produced by Bridgeport-based Borres Productions, Barnum Lives is not your typical historical documentary. This unusual special is told in a way that even a showman known for the occasion hoax like Barnum would appreciate.

The program opens on the premise that it is an examination of Pa-lb, the 4,000-year-old mummy on display at Bridgeport’s Barnum Museum, but things soon take a surprising turn. During a standard examination of the mummy’s body, Executive Director and Curator of the Barnum Museum Kathy Maher makes a stunning discovery: P.T. Barnum’s Last Reel and Testament. Is it real or is it a hoax? The producers will let the audience decide.

 
This lost film offers one last message from Barnum himself who takes viewers through the events of his life while making his own case to his critics. The film features interviews with some of Barnum’s most famous friends and colleagues, including Mark Twain, Queen Victoria, Tom Thumb and Walt Whitman.
Borres Productions set out to make a unique Barnum-like documentary in his image, using his own words, straight from the books he authored and his own quotations. While the film may not be an actual artifact found at the Barnum Museum, Barnum Lives is a treasure for anyone who wants an inside look at the showman’s life and motivations.  
The program received five regional Emmy nominations from the New England Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Post-Production Direction by Frank Borres.
 
Barnum Lives is produced by Borres Productions, and presented by Amazin’ Productions in cooperation with The Barnum Museum.
 
Producer/Director/Writer: Frank Borres
Executive Producers: Dan Makara, Frank Borres and Kathy Maher 
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