Modern Marvels (1993– )

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Documentary, History
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 1,228 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 5 critic

Fast-paced, fun and informative, Modern Marvels is The History Channel's signature series focusing on historical technology. The series has focused (among other things) on wonders of ... See full summary »


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Series cast summary:
Lloyd Sherr ...
 Narrator / ... (163 episodes, 1995-2015)
Harlan Saperstein ...
 Narrator / ... (49 episodes, 1995-2010)


Fast-paced, fun and informative, Modern Marvels is The History Channel's signature series focusing on historical technology. The series has focused (among other things) on wonders of construction (Erie Canal, the Pentagon, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the Big Dig), the machinery of war (nuclear submarines, tanks) as well as technology linked to the everyday (power tools, home tech, garbage). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

technology | educational | See All (2) »


If it changes your life, chances are it's a Modern Marvel!


TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

1 January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maravilhas Modernas  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the opening title sequence, an adjustable crescent wrench is seen turning a nut yet the sound of a ratchet wrench is heard. See more »


Featured in House M.D.: Airborne (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Manhatten Project episode
10 July 2008 | by (San Francisco, California) – See all my reviews

The first ¾ of this film is factual and useful. However, at the end it provides the usual moral distortion currently popular about America's use of the atomic bomb to end WWII. First, the main motive for dropping the bomb was not Russia but American casualties.

The American leadership was not indifferent to the spread of Soviet domination. However, at the time of decision the battle of Okinawa was still going on and Truman was looking at casualty reports of 5,000 a week and had been seeing those reports for weeks. In all, there were over 72,000 American casualties in this battle. So high was the casualty rate that congress called for an investigation. Over 200,000 Japanese died on Okinawa. It is not known how many were wounded.

Over 30 American ships were sunk and 164 were damaged. By comparison, only 9 ships were sunk and 14 damaged at Pearl Harbor. Several thousand American and Japanese aircraft were lost, far more than were lost in the Battle of Britain. In fact, more aircraft were lost at Okinawa than the entire June, 1940 combat strength of the RAF and Luftwaffe combined.

Thus, the small island of Okinawa was one of the largest battles of World War II.

It was estimated that there would be up to 1,000,000 American casualties if we had to invade and conquer Japan. Japanese casualties were estimated to be ten times higher. So many Purple Heart Medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties from the invasion that to this day wounded soldiers are awarded Purple Hearts from this WWII stock.

Ship losses were expected to be greater because a new form of Kamikaze, besides 10,000 remaining aircraft, in the shape of suicide attack boats, would also be met in the Home Islands. Aircraft losses were expected to be high because many more would be lost to ground fire. Thus, the invasion of Japan was going to be perhaps the largest and most horrendous battle in world history.

The second and little known reason was Japan had a secret biological weapons research program. They had also been bombarding America with balloon bombs that drifted across the Pacific to America on the jet stream. (In fact, it was a Japanese scientist, using balloons, that discovered the jet stream in the 1920's. It is used to this day by commercial airline flights from Tokyo to L.A. to save fuel.)

However, a strict news blackout kept the Japanese from knowing the success of this program, named "fūsen bakudan", and so they did not combine their biological weapons with these balloon bombs. Over 9,000 of these balloons were launched and about 1,000 reached the United States. They fell all over North America, as far north as Alaska, as far east as Detroit and as far south as Mexico.

As late as 1955 one with live ordnance was found in Alaska. Another was found in 1992, its ordnance too corroded to explode. Thus, only because of the news blackout were American and Canadian civil populations were spared widespread attack from biological weapons.

This was no small menace and the American leadership had to weigh it in the balance.

This film episode fails to mention either of these facts.

It is also a moral perversion to have the testimony of 'victims' of the atomic bomb without the moral balance of testimony of the victims of the true atrocities of the Japanese.

Such as: the victims of the Rape of Nanking where hundreds of thousands of Chinese were brutally raped, murdered and abused. Some were tied to posts and used for bayonet practice. Others were used for karate practice, 'practiced' on until they died.

The American and Philippine soldiers who were victims of the Bataan Death March who were brutalized, shot, stabbed, starved and given no water on their tragic march to their prison camps. Thousands died.

Or the Korean 'comfort'women who were enslaved and sent into prostitution by Japan to 'comfort' Japanese soldiers. Or the American captives who were sent to Manchuria where Japan conducted their secret biological weapons program. American G.I.'s were the guinea pigs. Or the U.S. Marines who were all beheaded after they were forced to surrender after defending Wake Island. Etc., etc.

It is a moral imbalance to present only the tearful testimony of a Japanese present at Hiroshima without providing a larger moral context of the war in general. Such an imbalance is a distortion to the point of moral perversion.

NOTE: This criticism is for the "Manhatten Project" episode only. The 'Modern Marvel" series in general is good to excellent and I recommend it.

11 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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