I saw this movie on TV in the mid 1980s. The story hits home in several ways. I attended Robert E. Peary Junior High School in Gardena, CA in the 1960s and from day one we were indoctrinated that "Peary was the first man to reach the North Pole," "Accept no substitutes," "He's it and that's that," etc., etc. Then, during Negro (1960s, remember) History Month, we found out that Matthew Henson did most of the grunt work but, because of his skin color, didn't get any credit (we were never able to get anything at the school named for him). Finally, in the summer of 1966 (my first after starting at Peary), I made my annual visit to my grandparents where my grandmother told me that Dr. Cook was a distant cousin of hers (at least a second cousin). When I brought this up with some of my teachers and classmates at Peary, I suddenly found myself at the top of the Special High Intensity Treatment (S.H.I.T.) list and, for the remainder of my time at Peary, received all the Special High Intensity Treatment that could be dished out on an individual. Teachers and students alike hated me for disrespecting the legacy of Admiral Peary when, simply enough, I was related to a woman who was related to Dr. Cook. Back to the movie...there was a lot of criticism of the casting. All-American good guy and "King of the Miniseries" Richard Chamberlain played Dr. Cook while All-American tough guy Rod Steiger played Admiral Peary. The story seemed to match the real life events...Dr. Cook claimed to have gotten there first but was discredited...Admiral Peary got the credit when, in reality, someone else did most of the work. Again, this movie was a good way to spend two hours...but it did open some emotional scars. For years (even into high school) I was treated as a pariah until it eventually subsided and life went on.
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