Watch Meet the Past Episodes Online

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, September 1, in observance of Labor Day.

Library Life
Portrait of Jesse James by A.L. Dillenbeck - Missouri Valley Special Collections
Portrait of Jesse James by A.L. Dillenbeck - Missouri Valley Special Collections

Have you met Jesse James? Charlie Parker? How about Amelia Earhart? Last year, these and other local legends barnstormed the Library for Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper. Now you can watch all of KCPT's televised episodes and relive more than a century of KC history without leaving your homestead.

From April through October of last year, a series of top-notch re-enactors conjured the personas of some of the most memorable people in American history, all with ties to the Kansas City area: Harry S. Truman, "Boss" Tom Pendergast, Walt Disney, Thomas Hart Benton and others.

Fielding questions from Library Director Crosby Kemper III, as well as the audience in attendance (usually 450 or more), these denizens of the past brought flesh, blood and a fresh outlook to the stories held in the tomes on the Library’s shelves.

Now you can revisit those conversations in our online media center. Visit our complete episode guide, get the info, and follow the links to the videos on BlipTV.

Here’s a trailer for the episode that featured Kerry Altenbernd as the intense, passionate, and awesomely bearded John Brown.


About the series: Meet the Past began to take shape in 2007, when local historian Bill Worley approached the Library about portraying legendary political boss Tom Pendergast in a live setting. Public Affairs Director Henry Fortunato suggested having Kemper interview Worley before an audience, and in October of that year, Crosby and “Boss Tom” squared off before a crowd of 250 people, and Meet the Past was born. KCPT filmed an encore performance two months later, and the program was a hit, receiving a regional Emmy nomination.

More than 4,000 people attended the 2009 series, and many more caught it on TV. Each installment came with its own recommended reading list, too.

In 2010, Meet the Past came back for another installment, bringing actor Judd Bankert as President Woodrow Wilson to talk about the Fed, the League of Nations and World War I on the grounds of Kansas City’s Liberty Memorial Museum.

Stay tuned for more Meet the Past updates from the Kansas City Public Library.

-- Jason Harper

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