I'm Cheating here because this documentary was done on television on not at the theatre. I apologize.
I remember watching Ken Burns' documentary on the Civil Way in 1990 and became enamored with Shelby Foot ( not in that way BTW but as a historian, where in the hell are you people's minds. Gosh) along with this epic documentary about the largest event in our history besides the American Revolution. A complete southern historian he had written a three volume set on the war in 1956 and it sold a few copies. After Burns' documentary it was a best seller. Foote made the documentary for me and a lot of others. His insight into the time of the event is incomparable. I have watched this series at least a dozen times. It's the best thing done on television EVER in my opinion. The still photography for the events, the voice narratives and who they chose to have them were all incredibl along with the writing and music which is haunting. This clip is way over the asked for three minutes but trust me when I say it is well worth the watch. Thanks to our wonderful host Boxer for picking such a great theme. This has been my favorite.
In the late 1980s, Ken Burns had assembled a group of consultants to interview for his Civil War documentary. Foote was not in this initial group, though Burns had Foote's trilogy on his reading list. A phone call from Robert Penn Warren prompted Burns to contact Foote. Burns and crew traveled to Memphis in 1986 to film an interview with Foote in the anteroom of his study. In November 1986, Foote figured prominently at a meeting of dozens of consultants gathered to critique Burns' script. Burns interviewed Foote on-camera in Memphis and Vicksburg in 1987. In 1987, he became a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
When Burns' documentary aired in September, 1990, Foote appeared in almost ninety segments, about one hour of the eleven-hour series. Foote's drawl, erudition, and quirk of speaking as if the war were still going on made him a favorite. He was described as "the toast of Public TV," "the media's newest darling," and "prime time's newest star," and the result was a burst of book sales. In one week at the end of September, 1990, each volume of the paperback The Civil War: A Narrative sold 1,000 copies per day. By the middle of 1991, Random House sold 400,000 copies of the trilogy. Foote later told Burns, "Ken, you've made me a millionaire."
Here's to you Mr. Foote. I really don't think Ken Burns rises to his success without you.
(I know its kind of long. But at least watch Foote for the :30 mark to 1:14. )