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Stream Hundreds of Hours of “Never-Before-Seen” Interviews in New ‘American Masters’ Archive

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 27, 2021

PBS TV series American Masters has been on the air since 1986, profiling prominent American cultural creators. Only a small fraction of the footage for the interviews they do makes it into the episodes, so they’ve created a digital archive of over 1000 hours of footage “from more than 1,000 original, never-before-seen, full, raw interviews”.

For four decades, we’ve asked: who has changed America? We’ve aired hundreds of carefully crafted programs that illuminate the stories of our cultural giants. But just a fraction of the interviews filmed for American Masters appear in the final films; nearly 96% of the footage never gets released. Now, the American Masters digital archive makes this rich catalog of interviews available to the public.

You can access the archive here. Many of them clock in between 20 and 40 minutes in length — like these interviews from Maya Angelou, David Bowie, Nan Goldin, and Betty White — but some are much longer, like Carol Burnett’s 3-hour 39-minute interview, Quincy Jones’ nearly 2-hour interview, and Steven Spielberg’s 1-hour 20-minute interview. What a treasure trove! (via @tedgioia)