The spread of Prohibition from Henry Ford's Detroit factories nationwide




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The spread of Prohibition from Henry Ford's Detroit factories nationwide

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10 October 1989 (USA)  »

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Demon Rum Livened Up By Straight Talk From Detroit Residents Who Lived Through Prohibition Era
6 October 2007 | by See all my reviews

At the start of this American Experience documentary, one old woman who lived in the Detroit area during Prohibition matter of factly says that everyone knew the Coast Guard staff was paid off to let the rum runners bring in their cargo by boat from Canada. An old guy mentions that you would see guys walking around with a bankroll of bills in their fist big enough to choke an ox.

The rest of this documentary can't keep up the pace, as it goes into the background of how Prohibition took hold of the country. Demon Rum has a fine selection of news footage from the era, stuff on how Henry Ford pushed for banning alcohol and how Prohibition eventually fell into the trash bin of history. But those "man in the street" type interviews with survivors of the era show why most of the "talking heads" you see in documentaries like this are well known authors, professors and government officials. "Talking heads" who would never state the obvious if it meant calling the Coast Guard crooked.

60 years from now, if American Experience has a documentary on the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War, I hope there are interviews with regular folks who can have a chance to state the obvious, that loads of people are making fistfuls of cash from this war. Maybe by then Demon Rum will again be available on video, I only have it because I taped it July 4, 1990, when PBS broadcast 6 American Experiences in a row, starting off with Demon Rum.

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