Episode credited cast:
Craig Brandon ...
Himself - Author: 'Electric Chair'
Scott Christianson ...
Himself - Author: 'Condemned'
Himself - Author: 'Killing with Kindness'
Himself (archive footage)
Larry Fitzgerald ...
Himself - Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Gary Gilmore ...
Himself - Criminal (archive footage)
Ethel Rosenberg ...
Himself (archive footage)
Julius Rosenberg ...
Himself (archive footage)
Lloyd Sherr ...
Narrator (as Max Raphael)


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Release Date:

14 November 2000 (USA)  »

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From Being Stoned To Being Injected
25 June 2008 | by (Lockport, NY, United States) – See all my reviews

The different ways man has put murderers to death are detailed in this unpleasant-but-fascinating topic.

The first recorded method of killing someone sentenced to death was by "stoning." Surprisingly, the announcer here points out that death was pretty fast with this method. I always thought it would take a lot of rocks to kill somebody since the throws would hit legs, chest, shoulders, etc., in addition to the head, but apparently not. After that came swords to decapitate people.

The next big step is bad stuff (not that the above isn't): death as a public "entertainment," as the Romans sent prisoners to the arena to be killed by gladiators or eaten by wild animals.

Then came perhaps the most painful and slowest death in history: crucifixion. I don't have to mention what famous person died that way but what you may not know is that usually it took days, sometimes a week or two, to die and it was unbelievably painful.

From that point in time, generally speaking, there have been outcries to make the death penalty as painless as possible. It hasn't always worked out that way, as this program explains as often an axe to the neck missed by a little, or trying to hang someone was messed up, or the guillotine wasn't sharp enough, or the electric chair required multiple jolts, etc.

Also explained on this show was another horrible punishment that I was unfamiliar with: "the wheel." This was a big wheel they put a human on and as the wheel turned people took turns smashing the person. It was slow and a horrible death. So was burning at the stake: just ask Joan Of Arc.

Did you know hangings began in England? Public hangings, there and in America, drew huge crowds. The crudeness of it, eventually, led to the invention of "Old Sparky," the electric chair. We learn all about that instrument and why it was a chair (hint: a dentist invented it). From there, it's on to the gas chamber and then, finally, to lethal injections.

Did I forget something? Oh, yeah - the "firing squad." You can still die by firing squad, if you desire, in certain states. You get your choice between an injection or the firing squad. Which would you choose?

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