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The Blue and the Gray

By Donald Liebenson

Before Ken Burns, Glory, and Gettysburg, the Civil War proved an effective backdrop for this 1982 miniseries - available complete and uncut on this three-disc set - about two families divided by the War Between the States. John Hammond stars as John Geyser, a Southerner caught "betwixt and between" when he becomes a war correspondent for the Northern newspaper published by his uncle.

Like a Civil War-era Forrest Gump, he finds himself "where history's in the making," from the Battle of Bull Run to the scene of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Stacy Keach costars as an Army scout who takes the "fresh off the farm" Geyser under his wing. Julia Duffy is the schoolmarm who loves Keach. The ham-handed dialogue is a guilty pleasure ("What's wrong with this land that produces such a bitter fruit?" asks the embittered Geyser). The meticulously mounted battle scenes, though, are a Civil War reenactor's dream.


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Aired: 1982

Cast: Stacy Keach, John Hammond, Lloyd Bridges, Rory Calhoun, Colleen Dewhurst, Warren Oates, Geraldine Page, Rip Torn, Robert Vaughn, Sterling Hayden, Paul Winfield, Gregory Peck

Network: CBS

Genre: Miniseries

Theme song

Image courtesy of CBS

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