BILLY CONNOLLY’S TRACKS ACROSS AMERICA
Airs Fridays, July 20-Aug. 3, 2018 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Credit: Courtesy of American Public Television
Though Scottish comedian Billy Connolly has spent almost half his life living in the United States, he hasn’t seen many of the places that fall between the country’s major cities and airports.
In the three-part series, BILLY CONNOLLY’S TRACKS ACROSS AMERICA, he travels from Chicago to New York on a 6,000 mile, 26-state train journey through the “backyard of America.”
From the Minnesota state fair to a Californian elephant seal rookery, he’ll finally see the places he missed while flying from city to city – following in the tracks of the pioneers who built our nation and meeting the small-town residents, cowboys and free spirits who now call it home.
Episode 1 repeats Friday, July 20 at 10 p.m. - Billy travels from Chicago to Seattle on the mighty Empire Builder.
Traveling from east to west, across six states, Billy jumps off to witness a true slice of Americana at the Minnesota State Fair, where giant butter sculptures, corn beauty pageants and live animal births are just some of the bamboozling entertainment on display.
He tackles a world famous Juicy Lucy burger in St. Paul before skirting the badlands of North Dakota to experience the highs and lows of an oil boomtown.
He marvels at the thousands of acres of uninterrupted prairie land before arriving at Montana's answer to Glasgow, Scotland.
This is small-town America in all its glory — with cowboys and ranching families who have worked these lands for generations.
The episode concludes in windswept Seattle — not in the glamorous tech city but in Tent City, where Billy is moved by the tales of homeless residents.
Episode 2 repeats Friday, July 27 at 10 p.m. - Episode two takes Billy to the jewel in the crown of America's rail network — the West. Billy visits the West Coast and Pacific Ocean in all its cinematic glory as he hurtles past jaw dropping vistas of land and sea.
He begins in Portland, Oregon with Farmer Tom — a prize winning vegetable farmer who's turned his green fingers to organic cannabis growing.
Next stop is the stunning California coast, home to a cacophonous elephant seal rookery — the largest in the world.
Along the route Billy hears the extraordinary tales of a real life hobo who's been train hopping since the 1930s, and makes himself at home at Nitt Witt Ridge, where architecture and town planning are quite unique.
From there, its back on the train to the deserts of Arizona to meet the men and women on the front line of U.S. border control.
Deep underground, Billy learns of America's biggest cold war secret and meets the former wing commander who literally had her finger on the button of World War Three.
In El Paso, Texas, Billy succumbs to the charms of a luche libre wrestler and pays homage to a factory that made his beloved cowboy boots.
Episode 3 repeats Friday, Aug. 3 at 10 p.m. - In the final episode of the series, Billy Connolly travels the soulful Crescent Route from San Antonio to New York.
The excursion kicks off on a Friday night in Texas, which can mean only one thing — football.
Billy eats hot dogs at a 10,000-seat stadium where soccer moms, ambition and marching bands collide.
From there it's on to the swamps of Louisiana where Billy braves an attack from jumping Asian carp and visits the frog capital of the world.
After a moving tribute at the graveside of one of Billy's musical heroes — Hank Williams — it's onto Birmingham, Alabama to hear the startling stories of the child crusaders who changed the course of history and segregation in the south.
Billy's penultimate stop is Baltimore and a stop at the city's morgue where he uncovers the incredible tale of the multi-millionairess who became known as the "Mother of CSI" and her collection of creepy doll houses.
All that before arriving in New York – a nice little day trip eh?
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