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KUAC documentary premiere coincides with statehood celebration

Submitted by Tammy Tragis
Phone: 907-474-1890


Photo caption below.
Photograph from the Wrede-Babcock family collection
Ray Wrede, Bob Bartlett and Johnny Frasca, who mined together in the Circle District in the 1930s, together again in Anchorage nearly three decades later.
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With his horn-rimmed spectacles and plain speech, Edward Lewis "Bob" Bartlett was Alaska's face in Washington for two decades. His story has largely been forgotten, until now.

A new documentary from KUAC public television in Fairbanks explores Bartlett's life and celebrates his role in the creation of the 49th state. "Mr. Alaska: Bob Bartlett Goes to Washington" premieres on public television stations statewide Thursday, Jan. 29 at 9 p.m., as Alaskans begin a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of statehood.

The documentary continues the narrative begun with KUAC's Emmy-winning production, "The 49th Star," which chronicles Alaska's groundbreaking constitution and the grassroots efforts that led to Alaska becoming part of the United States. The program is funded by a wide range of sponsors, including New York Life, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and UA Eight Stars of Gold.

"KUAC is proud to produce this next chapter in the story of statehood and to once again be a part of Alaska history curricula throughout the state," said Claudia Clark, executive producer and KUAC director of programming and production.

From his roots as a small-town reporter and gold miner to his position as Alaska's territorial delegate, Bartlett left a legacy matched by few. He helped create the state he served, changing the features of both the American flag and the country. Spanning gold stampedes, the state's territorial days and two World Wars, Bartlett's story reflects the rapid changes that shaped Alaska during the previous century.

It's an honor to be trusted with telling Bartlett's story, Clark said. "We're privileged to offer a chance for viewers to hear directly from many of the people who played key roles in Alaska's successful bid for statehood."

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