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History Detectives: Bob Dylan Guitar; Frank Zappa Collage; Beatles Autographs

Airs Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Guitar expert Andy Babiuk helps Elyse Luray determine whether this guitar is the famed guitar Bob Dylan plugged in at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

HISTORY DETECTIVES is devoted to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects. Traditional investigative techniques, modern technologies, and plenty of legwork are the tools the HISTORY DETECTIVES team of experts uses to give new - and sometimes shocking - insights into our national history.

The hosts of the program are a high-energy group of renowned experts in the world of historical investigations. Their expertise ranges from architecture, popular culture and sociology to archeology, collectibles and genealogy.

Wes Cowan is an independent appraiser and auctioneer; Elyse Luray is independent appraiser and expert in art history; Gwendolyn Wright is a professor of architecture, planning and preservation, and professor of history, Columbia University; Tukufu Zuberi is a professor of sociology and director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Eduardo Pagan is the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at Arizona State University.

In 1964, when the Beatles appeared in Miami with Ed Sullivan, a young Michael and Jimmy Mischner asked the hotel concierge to get the autographs from the band. Almost 50 years later they ask HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi (right) to authenticate the autographs.
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Above: In 1964, when the Beatles appeared in Miami with Ed Sullivan, a young Michael and Jimmy Mischner asked the hotel concierge to get the autographs from the band. Almost 50 years later they ask HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi (right) to authenticate the autographs.

HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwen Wright asks Frank Zappa’s widow, Gail, if she recognizes this artwork. Gwen explores the creative side to Frank Zappa many never knew.
Enlarge this image

Above: HISTORY DETECTIVES host Gwen Wright asks Frank Zappa’s widow, Gail, if she recognizes this artwork. Gwen explores the creative side to Frank Zappa many never knew.

Each hour-long episode of HISTORY DETECTIVES features three investigations that delve into family legends, local folklore and stories behind potentially extraordinary objects in everyday American homes, cities and small towns. Follow the twists and turns of each investigation and find out more about the historical events that shaped America.

"Bob Dylan Guitar; Frank Zappa Collage; Beatles Autographs" - In the 10th season premiere episode, Elyse Luray and Wes Cowan investigate whether they have found rock’s Holy Grail, the long-lost electric Fender Stratocaster Bob Dylan plugged in at the ’65 Newport Folk Festival, changing rock ‘n’ roll forever.

Tukufu Zuberi tracks down some autographs allegedly signed for two brothers in Miami Beach during the Beatles’ legendary 1964 “British Invasion” tour of the United States.

Finally, Gwendolyn Wright investigates a $5 thrift store find and unearths a little-known artistic side of musical iconoclast Frank Zappa.

This episode originally aired July 17, 2012.

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History Detectives: Season 10 Preview

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Watch Season 10 Preview on PBS. See more from History Detectives.

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History Detectives Web Extra: Frank Zappa

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Watch Web Extra: Frank Zappa on PBS. See more from History Detectives.

Above: Watch this clip to see examples of Frank Zappa's artwork.

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Submit Your Mysteries To History Detectives

Above: Do you have an object that you think may have played a starring role in American history but don't quite know how? Why not give the HISTORY DETECTIVES a crack at it!

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