March 12, 2010

Save the Day

Stories about one person single-handedly taking charge of a situation gone wrong.


When Luke Davies was 11 years old in Australia, his family moved from the boring suburbs to an incredibly fun place: a tourist park full of attractions, where his dad had gotten a job. There, he was considered kind of a wimpy kid, until he got his chance to save the day. Luke wrote the novel  “Candy” and the films “Lion” and “Beautiful Boy." (12 minutes)

Act One

Midlife Cowboy

James Spring had hit his late 30s, and found his life utterly unremarkable. He needed to do something big. So James decided to try to rescue two kids who had been kidnapped by suspected murderers, and taken to Mexico. (29 minutes)

Correction: In Act One, the victim found in Richard Carelli's van is identified as Carelli's landlord. He was in fact his housemate, not his landlord. We regret the error.

Act Two

I'd Like To Spank The Academy

For the last 13 years, the University of Montevallo in Alabama has held an event called "The Life Raft Debate," where several professors take the stage and each tries to convince the students that his or her discipline—chemistry, say, or communications—is the most essential field of study. But in 2007, a professor named Jon Smith decided that the debate itself needed saving. Producer Nancy Updike tells the story. (14 minutes)