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Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (1991)

TV-G
113 min | Documentary, History

For 50 years, radio dominated the airwaves as the first mass medium. Ken Burns examines the lives of three men who shared the responsibility for its invention and early success.
Director
Writers
Ken Burns (additional) | Tom Lewis (book "Empire of the Air") | Geoffrey C. Ward
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Status
Edit Released
Updated Oct 31, 1991

Release date
Oct 1991 (United States)

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Cast

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33 cast members
Name STARmeter Known for
Jason Robards
Narrator (voice) Narrator (voice)   See fewer
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Red Barber
Himself - Radio Announcer Himself - Radio Announcer   See fewer
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Erik Barnouw
Himself - Historian Himself - Historian   See fewer
Members only
Ken Bilby
Himself - Biographer of David Sarnoff Himself - Biographer of David Sarnoff   See fewer
Members only
Norman Corwin
Himself - Writer Himself - Writer   See fewer
Members only
Susan Douglas
Herself - Historian Herself - Historian   See fewer
Members only
Frank Günther
Himself (engineer) Himself (engineer)   See fewer
Members only
Jeanne Hammond
Herself - Niece of Edwin H. Armstrong Herself - Niece of Edwin H. Armstrong   See fewer
Members only
Loren Jones
Himself - Engineer Himself - Engineer   See fewer
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Garrison Keillor
Himself - Writer Himself - Writer   See fewer
Members only
Helen Kelley
Herself - Radio Broadcaster Herself - Radio Broadcaster   See fewer
Members only
Robert Morris
Himself - Engineer Himself - Engineer   See fewer
Members only
Dana Raymond
Himself - Friend of Edwin H. Armstrong Himself - Friend of Edwin H. Armstrong   See fewer
Members only
Gertrude Tyne
Herself - Engineer Herself - Engineer   See fewer
Members only
Fred Allen
Himself - Predicts Demise of Radio (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Predicts Demise of Radio (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
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Gene Autry
Himself - Sings (archive sound) (uncredited) Himself - Sings (archive sound) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
John Barrymore
Hamlet (archive sound) (uncredited) Hamlet (archive sound) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Winston Churchill
Himself - Finest Hour Speech (archive sound) (uncredited) Himself - Finest Hour Speech (archive sound) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Charles J. Correll
Himself - Prepares for Amos 'n' Andy Broadcast (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Prepares for Amos 'n' Andy Broadcast (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Lee De Forest
Himself - Objects to Quality of Radio Programming (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Objects to Quality of Radio Programming (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Ralph Edwards
Himself - Host of 'This Is Your Life' (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Host of 'This Is Your Life' (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Himself - Announces Landing in Normandy (archive sound) (uncredited) Himself - Announces Landing in Normandy (archive sound) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Freeman F. Gosden
Himself - Prepares for Amos 'n' Andy Broadcast (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Prepares for Amos 'n' Andy Broadcast (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Guglielmo Marconi
Himself - Visits Sarnoff at RCA (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Visits Sarnoff at RCA (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Marie Mosquini
Herself - with Lee De Forest (archive footage) (uncredited) Herself - with Lee De Forest (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Nelson Rockefeller
Himself - Eulogizes Sarnoff (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Eulogizes Sarnoff (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Himself - Makes Broadcast About Banking Reform (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Makes Broadcast About Banking Reform (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
David Sarnoff
Himself - with Marconi at RCA (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - with Marconi at RCA (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
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Frank Sinatra
Himself - Serenades Sarnoff (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Serenades Sarnoff (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
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Arturo Toscanini
Himself - Conducts NBC Symphony (archive footage) (uncredited) Himself - Conducts NBC Symphony (archive footage) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Harry S. Truman
Himself - Announces Bombing of Hiroshima (archive sound) (uncredited) Himself - Announces Bombing of Hiroshima (archive sound) (uncredited)   See fewer
Members only
Bob Warren
This is Your Life Announcer Dr. Lee DeForrest episode (uncredited) This is Your Life Announcer Dr. Lee DeForrest episode (uncredited)   See fewer
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Orson Welles
Professor in War of the Worlds Broadcast (archive sound) (uncredited) Professor in War of the Worlds Broadcast (archive sound) (uncredited)   See fewer
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Ratings Breakdown

7.7 / 10 | 401 votes