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In Movies & TV Commentary

"Return to Pearl" airs Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. on Milwaukee Public Television.

Ordinary people did the extraordinary at Pearl Harbor

Sometimes, the only storytelling needed is the recounting of a previous experience.

When it comes to significant points in history, the retelling of what took place becomes key to our understanding of the wave of change that took over our world after that single moment.

Documentary makers Everett Marshburn, Mark Siegrist and a crew from Milwaukee Public Television tell the story of 19 World War II veterans returning to Pearl Harbor with a special presentation titled "Return To Pearl."

"They don't think of themselves as special folk," Marshburn said of the vets he features in his program, which is set to air Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. "They were responding to a situation ... it's an important story to tell."

These 19 veterans were stationed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese Air Force bombed the base in 1941. The organizers behind the Old Glory Honor Flight program made the trip possible, and escorted the group to different spots on the island, including the USS Arizona Memorial.

Marshburn said that this travel back to Hawaii was the first time returning to the battlefield for some, while others have been back a couple of times.

"Every time they come back they discover or remember something new," he said.

Earlier this year, Siegrist spoke of how special it was to talk to the vets about what they experienced during their time of service, and about their lives. Marshburn echoed that sentiment, saying that they were able to capture some wonderful moments in the documentary.

"They are regular human beings and did the best they could," Marshburn said of the veterans and how they remember themselves during the bombing. "They said that they were trained for the situation and they followed that training."

The crew shot about 12 hours of tape for the documentary, which Marshburn said is pretty typical in a project such as this one. Marshburn is the producer of "Black Nouveau" on MPTV, and works on a few other documentary projects each year.

Siegrist and Marshburn will present "Return To Pearl" at a special event at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at Discovery World. The program is free and open to the public. More details can be found here (

PHONE SUPPORT: Thanksgiving time is always great for perspective and taking a tally of our blessings. November is also a time for helping others as well. WISN-TV Ch. 12 collected more than $188,000 in various phone banks held this past month.

"As we were covering the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, one of our anchors came to me and said, 'We need to do something to help,'" Jan Wade, WISN-TV president and general manager, said in a statement. "We immediately turned that thought into a phone bank. Through the generosity of our viewers, we raised nearly $126,000 for the Red Cross' Sandy Relief Fund. These very real stories have a huge impact on our newsroom and on our viewers."

Funds were raised for Hurricane Sandy Relief and the Food for Families holiday campaign. The American Red Cross of Southeastern Wisconsin raised $125,904. Another $61,822 in donations was raised for Hunger Task Force, the station reported.

NOVEMBER NUMBERS: November ratings continue to roll in, including those for national cable outlets. In the business network race, Fox Business Network and CNBC continue to fight for audience share. FBN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" edged out CNBC's "The Kudlow Report" in the adults age 25-54 demographic with ratings of 45 to 40. As the economy and financial cliff continue to dominate national headlines, these networks should see an increase in audience in December, as well.


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