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Episode credited cast:
David McCullough ...
Himself - Host
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
H.J. Bartels ...
Himself - Curator, 'Iolani Palace
Thelma Bugbee ...
Herself - Commentator
Malcolm Naea Chun ...
Himself - Cultural Specialist
Glen Grant ...
Himself - Historial Researcher
Patricia Grimsaw ...
Herself - Historian
Aaron Mahi ...
Himself - Conductor, Royal Hawaiian Band
Davianna McGregor ...
Herself - Historian
Tennant Mcwilliams ...
Himself - Historian (as Tennant McWilliams)
Thurston Twigg Smith ...
Himself - Grandson, Lorrin Thurston


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Release Date:

27 January 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?


The narrator says that the U.S. Marines came ashore with Gatling Guns and Revolving Cannons. In fact, a Gatling Gun is a Revolving Cannon, so this statement was inadvertently repetitive. See more »


A Hilo Au
composed and arranged by Larry Spivak
performed by The Gaillard String Quartet
courtesy of Wa Nui Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Profoundly sad and very informative.
22 August 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is an hour-long episode of the PBS show "The American Experience" and aired over a decade ago. Fortunately, many of the episodes are available on DVD. I think it's fascinating that most Americans have no idea how the Hawaiian islands were acquired. And, I must admit I was a bit hazy on this--and I am a retired history teacher! So, when I saw this on DVD, I jumped at a chance to see it in order to learn more about this.

The story of the last queen, Hawaiian monarch, Liliʻuokalani, turned out to be a sad one. In some ways it might be seen as an indictment of American imperialism (as one reviewer talked about at length) but it's also a case of her people simply being outnumbered and the rich and powerful majority forcing her out and pleading to become a part of the United States. Both aspect of the story are essentially correct--the displacement of the original owners of the land and the majority making the rules. Sad, though, that it came to this--and the story makes for, at times, rather heart-wrenching viewing. Overall, a super-informative show that didn't seem to stack the deck too far either way of the argument--and I appreciated that. An exceptional historical show.

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