By Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne. A co-presentation with PBS.
History teacher and collector, Mike Zahs, uncovers a rare collection of films owned by one of America's first motion picture impresarios, William Franklin Brinton. Among the treasures: rare footage of President Teddy Roosevelt, the first moving images from Burma, and a lost relic from magical effects godfather Georges Méliés. Fascinated by projection and the illusion of motion, Brinton brought the moving pictures to America's Heartland.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, The Brinton Entertainment Co. of Washington, Iowa, would travel throughout the Midwest bringing films, magic lantern slides, and other forms of entertainment to populations who, in many cases, had never before seen such sights.
Zahs sets out on a journey to restore and present the showreels to today’s audiences - taking him to The Library of Congress, Paris, and back for a big screen extravaganza in the same small-town movie theater where Brinton first showed his movies. In this portrait of an unlikely Midwestern folk hero, SAVING BRINTON offers a meditation on the legacy of illusionist Frank Brinton, as well as the magic of living history.