PBS Kids Launches Spanish-Language Shows on Amazon Prime Video Channel

PBS Distribution has launched Spanish-language versions of a variety of PBS Kids programs on the PBS Kids Amazon Prime Video Channel.

Spanish-language versions of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Dinosaur Train,” “Scigirls,” “Cyberchase” and “Caillou” debuted on the PBS Kids Amazon Prime Video Channel May 24.

“We’re excited to expand our PBS KIDS channel offering to include a selection of episodes presented in Spanish,” said Andrea Downing, co-president, PBS Distribution, in a statement. “Our aim is to provide educational and entertaining programming for all kids, and this expansion helps further that mission.”

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The launch includes a total of 30 episodes of PBS Kids programming available in Spanish. Subscribers of the PBS Kids Amazon Prime Channel will not need to pay any extra fee for the newly available programs.

DEG’s New ‘4 Cups of Coffee’ Mentoring Program

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group on June 5 kicked off a new mentoring program, “4 Cups of Coffee,” at the “Cocktails & Coffee” event at Sony  Studios in the Norman Lear Commissary. Under the program, the DEG’s Canon Club will match women in search of mentors with one of its advisors or other women executives for 30-minute career conversations, either in person or over the phone, up to four times per year. The Canon Club was established by DEG to provide women at all levels and in all sectors of digital media the opportunity to share knowledge and build their business networks. Last month, the DEG announced the appointment of 10 advisory board members to provide input on Canon Club event programming, rotate as host at speaker-driven salons and social/networking events, serve as founding mentors in the “4 Cups of Coffee” program, and judge the annual Hedy Lamarr Awards for Women in Entertainment and Technology, among other responsibilities. The advisory board is led by chair Robin Tarufelli of Deloitte, and vice chair Meri Hassouni of Giant Interactive. Other members are Loren Nielsen, DTS; Sofia Chang, HBO; Dametra Johnson-Marletti, Microsoft; Karin Gilford, Movies Anywhere; Andrea Downing, PBS Distribution; Cheryl Goodman, Sony Electronics; Nadia Haney, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment; and Darcy Antonellis, Vubiquity. Other Canon Club mentors include Beth Kearns, 20th Century Fox; Heathyr Jozel-Garcia, ABC Studios; Samara Winterfeld, DTS; Ken Williams, ETC@USC; Kejo Swingler, HBO; and Rachel Crang, Paramount Pictures.

‘Splash and Bubbles: The Kelp Forest’ Swimming to DVD May 21 from PBS

Splash and Bubbles: The Kelp Forest, including six episodes from the series, will be available on DVD May 21 from PBS Distribution.

In “Cleaner of the Kelp,” Splash, Bubbles and Dunk meet the self-appointed Kelp Forest Ranger, Tidy, the Garibaldi fish. Then Splash and Bubbles are on seal-sitting duties with a fearless seal pup named Tyke. All are having fun in the kelp forest until Splash and Bubbles can’t find Tyke during a game of hide-and-seek. In the episode “The Kelp Needs Help,” some Asterina starfish end up in the Kelp Forest, where they don’t belong. Splash, Bubbles and Tidy must dive into action before the starfish eat all the kelp. In “Mrs. Tidy,” Tidy is expecting a new partner to arrive — a female Garibaldi fish named Neat. While Tidy stays busy cleaning the kelp forest, Splash and friends get Mrs. Tidy mixed up with another fish, one who’s not a good fit in the kelp forest. Other episodes included on the DVD are “The Seal Sitters,” “Tyke and Seek” and “Kelp Forest Keepers.”

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Episodes featured on the DVD will also be streaming on PBS Kids Prime Channel.

‘Reborn,’ ‘The Court’ and ‘Rough Justice’ From ‘Walter Presents’ Library Streaming in May From PBS

PBS Distribution will begin streaming three international crime dramas from the “Walter Presents” library on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in May.

The channel is available to Prime members for $5.99 a month after a seven-day free trial.

Streaming beginning May 10 is “Reborn,” a French crime-thriller taking witness-protection to a whole new level. Felon Alexis Marceau gives up his criminal friends in exchange for immunity. With his new identity, he also has reconstructive surgery to make him unidentifiable. Six years later, he is known as Matthias Leblanc. He is working in Turin, Italy, as a construction worker when judge Delphine Baron offers to revoke his house arrest, in exchange for three months of service. This means working undercover at his old job where he and his partner ran a small shipping business controlling the traffic of illicit goods. Matthias is hesitant but accepts — no one knows he’s alive or will recognize his new face. But he knows the people, place and methods better than anyone. Once undercover and back in Dunkirk, Alexis struggles to keep away from his ex-wife and son. And to make matters worse, his affection for his old life returns — the camaraderie, the easy money and the adrenaline.

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Streaming beginning May 24 is the second season of “The Court.” The Icelandic legal drama follows the professional and personal lives of three Reykjavik lawyers — Logi, Brynhildur and Hordur. Logi is one of the country’s most brilliant legal minds and the most troubled. He’s determined to uncover the truth about what really happened one night in his youth, an incident that left a man dead and Logi in prison for manslaughter. However, his internal demons threaten to send him spiraling into alcoholism. Standing between Logi and self-destruction are his two lawyer colleagues — Brynhildur and Hordur — whose own private lives are far from simple.

Streaming beginning May 31 is the Belgian crime drama “Rough Justice.” Set in Antwerp, Belgium, the series, based on the novels by Toni Coppers, follows superintendent Liese Meerhout as she leads her close-knit team in the homicide division to the bottom of the city’s darkest crimes. Always seeking to protect the vulnerable and maintain justice, she is not afraid to push the boundaries to get to the bottom of even the most complex cases — usually using unorthodox methods. But when haunting emails from an anonymous sender start appearing in her inbox, a case she thought she had long put behind her resurfaces, and the usually steely and implacable superintendent becomes unnerved.

‘Les Miserables,’ Seasons of ‘Finding Your Roots’ and ‘Unforgotten’ Among Disc and Digital Releases From PBS in May

The six-part miniseries Les Miserables, season five of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” and season three of “Masterpiece Mystery!: Unforgotten” are among the titles coming to digital, DVD and Blu-ray from PBS Distribution in May.

Based on Victor Hugo’s masterpiece novel, the drama Les Miserables streets May 21 on Blu-ray, DVD and digital. It stars Dominic West (The Affair, “The Wire”) as Jean Valjean, the most famous fugitive in literature. It also stars David Oyelowo (Selma, Queen of Katwe) as his relentless pursuer Javert; Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply; Love, Rosie) as the tragic seamstress Fantine; Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals) as Cosette; Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Adeel Akhtar (Unforgotten) as Cosette’s cruel overseers; and Josh O’Connor (The Durrells in Corfu) as the student and reluctant revolutionary Marius.

Season five of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” streets May 14 on DVD and digital. The season traces the families of Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei; Emmy and Golden Globe Award winners Laura Linney and S. Epatha Merkerson; actors Michael K. Williams, Chloë Sevigny and Kal Penn; author George R.R. Martin; journalists Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry, Joe Madison and Lisa Ling; bestselling author and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg; TV hosts Seth Meyers and Michael Strahan; artists Marina Abramović and Kehinde Wiley; politicians Marco Rubio, Tulsi Gabbard and Paul Ryan; Academy Award-winning filmmakers Alejandro G, Iñárritu and Michael Moore; and comedians Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman.

Due May 7 on DVD and digital is season three of “Masterpiece Mystery!: Unforgotten.” When human remains are found by a motorway near London, the crime-solving duo Cassie and Sunny are called to the scene. Dogged work leads the team to Hayley Reid, a 16-year-old girl who went missing on the eve of the millennium. The police’s failure to find out what happened to Hayley wrecked her family’s life. Cassie’s compassion makes her determined to correct the mistakes made by the original investigating team — whatever the cost is to herself.

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Coming May 21 on DVD and digital is the two-part docu-drama Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters. Since their brutal murders 100 years ago, the world has been fascinated by Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, the Empress Alexandra. Through the couple’s politically damning, sexually intimate and personally revealing letters, the docu-drama explores Nicholas and Alexandra’s complex love story and the couple’s role in the lead up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to their execution. From their total isolation to their political ineptitude and reliance on Rasputin, the letters chronicle their disastrous leadership in graphic detail.

Nova: Rise of the Rockets streets May 7 on DVD and digital. The show covers the explosion of private companies sparking the development of new technologies and lowering costs to bring space closer than ever. It also explores how NASA is returning to crewed spaceflight, building a rocket more powerful than Saturn V to take us far beyond earth.

Coming May 14 on DVD and digital is Nova: The Next Pompeii. The series joins investigators as they hunt for clues hidden beneath the surface of Italy’s lesser-known volcano, Campi Flegrei, and assess the risk of a new and potentially devastating eruption. The program also follows historians and geologists as they discover the latest evidence of Pompeii’s fiery destruction, unpacking the chain of events that led to the ancient world’s most notorious disaster.

Due May 28 on DVD and digital is Frontline: The Trial of Ratko Mladic. In the aftermath of the brutal wars that decimated Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic was accused of genocide and other war crimes — including the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica in July 1995 — considered the worst crime perpetrated on European soil since World War II. After 16 years on the run, Mladic was apprehended and brought to The Hague to stand trial before the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal. The two-hour special goes inside the historic five-year trial, with unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to the prosecution and defense teams, as well as to witnesses from both sides who came to present evidence.

Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files debuts May 14 on DVD and digital. The show uncovers the story of the Roman emperor Nero, considered one of history’s greatest criminals — a cruel, insane and brutal ruler. He stands accused of killing his step-brother, his wife and his mother, as well as burning Rome to the ground for his own artistic inspiration. Recent research, modern interpretations of historical sources and new discoveries cast a different light on the accusations levelled at the Roman emperor. The Nero Files investigates Nero’s reign with the help of criminal psychologist Thomas Müller, using “cold case” methodology, asking the question: Did history get it wrong?

Coming May 7 on DVD and digital is Henry IX: The Lost King. The program takes viewers on a journey to investigate the mysterious disappearance from history of a forgotten Scottish prince — Henry Fredrick Stuart. Not many of us know his name but Henry started the British Museum and the Royal Collection and was the first royal prince to back a permanent settlement on American soil in the early 17th century. In this documentary, host Paul Murton brings this forgotten figure from the shadows of history. It’s a detective story that reveals the tragedy of Henry’s lost potential.

The Best of the World’s Greatest, due May 7 on DVD and digital, is a six-part series going on a journey around the planet, revealing the world’s greatest ancient cities, natural wonders, extreme animal encounters, lost cities, journeys and adventures, monuments, and coral islands. Viewers get a chance to explore cities such as Venice, Rio, and Cairo; the islands of Galapagos; Hawaii; and the Maldives. Viewers also explore Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal, Mt. Everest, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Grand Canyon. In addition, viewers get up close and personal with killer whales, grizzlies, and silver-backed gorillas, among other animals in the wild.

Korea: The Never-ending War, coming May 14 on DVD and digital, is written and produced by John Maggio and narrated by Korean-American actor John Cho. The documentary sheds new light on the global upheaval that led to the Korean War in 1950, a moment when the Cold War turned hot, and how today that war’s brutal legacy has forced the world into a deadly nuclear showdown. With testimony from the soldiers on the frontlines, civilians caught in the crossfire, political leaders from then and now, journalists, and historians, the film is a comprehensive re-examination of a war that took the lives of tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Koreans.

April PBS Blu-ray and DVD Slate Includes ‘Victoria,’ ‘Mrs. Wilson’

PBS Distribution will release a variety of programming on disc and for digital download in April, including season three of “Victoria.”

Due April 2:

  • Nature: Attenborough and the Sea Dragon, available digitally and on DVD, a profile of the prehistoric Ichthyosaur, a fish lizard.
  • Nova: Einstein’s Quantum Riddle, available digitally and on DVD, an examination of the implications of the theory of quantum entanglement.
  • Dictator’s Playbook, available digitally and on DVD, an examination of the historical, sociological and psychological foundations of 20th century dictatorships, and why they succeeded or failed. Six episodes include looks at Kim Il Sung, Saddam Hussein, Benito Mussolini, Manuel Noriega, Francisco Franco and Idi Amin.

 

Due April 9:

  • Masterpiece: Mrs. Wilson, available digitally and on DVD, starring Ruth Wilson as her real-life grandmother in a true story about spies, plot twists, love and betrayal, as a woman searches for her husband’s real identity.

 

Due April 16:

  • Victoria: Season Three, available digitally and on Blu-ray and DVD, with Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria.
  • American Masters: Joseph Pulitzer, available digitally and on DVD, an exploration about the newspaper magnate who is best known through the journalism award he endowed in his will.
  • American Experience: Sealab, available digitally and on DVD, a documentary about the U.S. Navy’s efforts to explore the ocean’s depths in the 1960s.
  • Nova: Kilauea — Hawaii on Fire, available digitally and on DVD, a look at the recent eruption of the Hawaiian volcano and what could cause a rise in volcanic activity.

 

Due April 23:

  • Nature: Wild Way of the Vikings, available digitally and on DVD, a documentary narrated by Ewan McGregor about the lifestyle and discoveries of the Vikings hundreds of years before Columbus.
  • Frontline: Predator on the Reservation, available digitally and on DVD, an investigation of the decades-long failure to stop Dr. Stanley Weber, a government pediatrician who moved from reservation to reservation abusing young boys
  • Charm City, available digitally and on DVD, a feature documentary about a group of police, citizens, community leaders and government officials who, with grit, fury and compassion, are grappling with the consequences of violence and trying to reclaim Baltimore’s future.
  • Margaret: The Rebel Princess, available digitally and on DVD, a documentary about Queen Elizabeth II’s rebellious younger sister, with rare footage and interviews with those who knew her best.
  • Boss: The Black Experience in Business, available digitally and on DVD, a documentary that traces the lives of African-American entrepreneurs over 150 years.

 

Due April 30:

  • Living Volcanoes, available digitally and on DVD, an examination of the people and wildlife that live alongside the world’s volcanoes, plus a daring expedition of scientists and adventurers to one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, located in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.
  • Decoding the Great Pyramid, available digitally and on DVD, a look at the history of the Great Pyramid of Giza, how it was built and how its construction shaped Egypt’s civilization.
  • Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, available digitally and on DVD, in which professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. presents the definitive history of one of the least understood chapters in American history — the transformative years following the American Civil War
  • Homo Spatius, available digitally and on DVD, a look at how efforts to conquer outer space might guide human evolution.
  • Charley Pride: I’m Just Me, available digitally and on DVD, a documentary narrated by Tanya Tucker about the life of Charley Pride, from Negro League baseball player to country music superstar.
  • Right to Fail, available digitally and on DVD, an investigation into a court-ordered effort to move hundreds of those with mental illness into independent living.

‘Ready Jet Go!: Chasing the Sun,’ ‘Wild Kratts: The Briny Blue Sea’ Coming to DVD April 9 From PBS

Four episodes of “Wild Kratts” and eight episodes of “Ready Jet Go!” are racing to DVD April 9 from PBS Distribution.

In Ready Jet Go!: Chasing the Sun, kids learn about the sun as Jet and friends discover that the sun is actually a star in the episode “Our Sun is a Star.” Then Jet and his friends turn their treehouse into their own observatory in “Treehouse Observatory.” They build their own telescope to observe the nighttime sky. In “Galileo, Galileo!” Mindy tells Jet she can see the sun move across the sky. Jet has to explain to her that the sun isn’t moving, it’s the earth moving around the sun. Other episodes on this DVD include: “Just the Right Distance From the Sun,” “Solar Power Rover,” “Mindy’s Bedtime,” “Sunspot’s Sunspot” and “How We Found Your Sun.”

In Wild Kratts: The Briny Blue Sea, kids have some underwater adventures with Chris and Martin Kratt. In the episode “Osprey,” Jimmy accidentally drops the keys to the Tortuga into the ocean. Chris, Martin and Aviva are on a race to develop osprey creature powers to find the keys before they disappear forever. Then in the episode “Sea Otter Swim,” the Wild Kratts take time out for a swim but Jimmy reveals that he’s not a strong swimmer. Martin and Chris take Jimmy to meet his own personal swimming tutor — a sea otter named Coach. Other episodes included on the DVD are “Puffin Rescue” and “Aye Aye.”

PBS Distribution Launches Lifestyle Content Streaming Service PBS Living

PBS Distribution has launched PBS Living, a new streaming service featuring public media lifestyle content across the food and cooking, home, culture, and travel genres.

The service is available by subscription from Prime Video Channels on Amazon for $2.99 per month after a seven-day free trial.

The channel offers subscribers a curated selection of hundreds of episodes from award-winning series with new content to be added each month. Content includes both classic and current series, such as Julia Childs’s “The French Chef,” “This Old House,” “Antiques Roadshow,” “No Passport Required,” “Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street,” “America’s Test Kitchen” and “Born to Explore.”

“Public television has a long history as a home for unique and compelling lifestyle programs,” said Andrea Downing, co-president of PBS Distribution, in a statement. “We are excited to offer viewers another way to explore their passions and find inspiration through these series, with the convenience of being able to watch anywhere, at any time.”

Select programs are also streaming in PBS Passport, a digital member benefit available through local stations.

“Contact,” “The Court” and “Inspector Falke” Among Six “Walter Presents” Foreign Series Streaming on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video in March

PBS Distribution in March will begin streaming six new series from the “Walter Present’s” library on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel –– “Contact,” “The Court,” “Dead Beautiful,” “Flight HS13,” “Framed” and “Inspector Falke.”

“Walter Presents,” which launched in January 2016 in the United Kingdom as a video-on-demand service and is a joint venture between Channel 4 and Global Series Network, partnered with PBS Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in October 2018. The PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is available to Prime members for $5.99 a month after a seven-day free trial.

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Eight episodes of the French series “Contact” will be available March 4. The series follows Thomas Jouannet, who was sentenced to life after avenging his parent’s brutal murder and the kidnapping of his sister. He is freed after serving only 15 years when he makes a deal with the FBI to use his extraordinary ability — psychometry — to solve crimes. When he touches an object, he feels the “psychic footprint” of its owner, envisioning its owner’s memories, emotions and secrets. However, there is one stipulation — he cannot leave the United States. But, once he receives a mysterious package containing an object that shows his brother in trouble, Thomas heads for France. Having broken the arrangement, he now has the FBI on his tail while trying to save his brother’s life.

Also streaming beginning March 4 are six episodes of the Icelandic series “The Court.” The legal drama follows the professional and personal lives of three Reykjavik lawyers. Logi is one of the country’s most brilliant legal minds and the most troubled. He’s determined to uncover the truth about what really happened one night in his youth — an incident that left a man dead and Logi in prison for manslaughter. But his internal demons threaten to send him spiraling into alcoholism. Standing between Logi and self-destruction are his colleagues — two lawyers, Brynhildur and Hordur, whose own private lives are far from simple.

Streaming beginning March 11 are nine episodes of the French crime drama “Dead Beautiful,” It centers on the self-loathing police commissioner Martin — a compassionate investigator who is dedicated to solving some of the most shocking crimes against women. While trying to solve these crimes, Martin also juggles the three women in his life: his ex-wife, the police psychiatrist and his girlfriend, journalist Marion. Each episode pits Martin against a new killer.

Streaming beginning March 18 are 10 episodes of the Dutch thriller “Flight HS13,” which follows Liz and Simon, a seemingly happily married couple who have everything they could possibly want ‚ a lovely son, a beautiful home and successful careers. But their perfect life is over when Simon boards a plane — flight HS13 — to attend a conference in Barcelona.  A few hours later, Liz’s world collapses when she hears Simon’s plane has crashed. No one survived. Very quickly her grief turns to shock and disbelief when she finds out that Simon never actually checked in for the flight. His name was not on the passenger list.

Streaming beginning March 25 are 10 episodes from another Dutch series “Framed.” Communications consultant Michael Bellicher has just received a promotion at his software firm and a party is being held in his honor to announce it. When an ex-lover appears, however, he lapses back into his unfaithful ways and things begin to spiral out of control. His wife is sick of it and packs her bags. Things suddenly get even worse when that ex-lover suddenly turns up dead. His identity is stolen, and he is forced to become a fugitive when he is framed for the murder.  Though family and friends doubt his innocence, Bellicher eventually forms an alliance with his newly transgender sister and a computer hacker, Vince. Together, they set out to uncover what is really going on.

Also streaming beginning March 25 are seven episodes of the German series “Inspector Falke.” Thorsten Falke is a devoted police officer who has traded in a family and a social life in the name of justice. Having grown up in the throes of Hamburg’s grimy underbelly, he is now proud to take a stand against crime in his hometown. Falke and his partner, Katharina Lorenz, work to bring down the ruthless criminal gangs threatening Hamburg.

American Masters: Sammy Davis, Jr. — I’ve Gotta Be Me

DVD REVIEW:

Street Date 2/19/19;
PBS;
Documentary;
$24.99 DVD;
Not rated.
Featuring Kim Novak, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis.

Finding a bigger Rat Pack fan than I during that assemblage’s roughly 1960-64 heyday was no easy assignment, so Sammy Davis Jr., always got a pass from me despite my general lack of enthusiasm for performers who feel they had to wear jewelry stores to the car wash or the proctologist. Of course, prodigious talent helped, and Davis kept surprising me — per, just as one example, my fairly late discovery of his astonishing early tap dancing mastery in the 1933 short subject Rufus Jones for President, which featured him at age 7. How in the world does anyone manage to steal a piece of film from Rufus co-star Ethel Waters when even Julie Harris couldn’t quite do it herself?

On the other hand — and this is way before Davis’s embrace (both figuratively and literally) of Richard Nixon — Davis was also the epitome of that forced “professional show business” ethos that the early cast members of “Saturday Night Live” would later have so much fun putting down. Jerry Lewis and Bobby Darin were culprits as well on this count, but Davis was the worst, telling audiences that he would sing his next tune to them “with their kind permission.” So as early as early junior high, my waggish buds and I would always riff on this, telling each other that we were about to hit the men’s room “with your kind permission” or that we fantasized about placing a palm up some classmate’s cheerleader outfit “with her kind permission.”

This is all coming off harsher than intended, especially since we now have a standout entry in PBS’s reliably socko “American Masters” series to make the case that its subject earned the right to indulge in the kind of stylistic excesses that defined him, including enough jewelry to provide Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly with breakfasts forever. A black man through and through whose racial bullying and much worse in the army proved the point just by itself, Davis was an undeniable civil rights symbol who gained co-equal stature to share the Vegas stage — and also several larkish movies — with Frank, Dino, Joey and (for a while, Peter Lawford). Only later did it sink in that Davis was not always but too often the butt of the joke in ways the others were never quite.

Neatly dividing its subject’s life into chapters that reflected the dimensions of his career (singer, dancer, social progressive, social regressive, etc.), Sam Pollard’s documentary hits the expected bases we remember from past print biographies, press coverage and, in some cases, scandal sheets of the day including Confidential. These would include his show biz apprenticeship under “Uncle” Will Mastin (who was actually his godfather); the army experiences; the loss of his left eye in a 1954 auto accident; and his secret romance with Columbia Pictures’ top printer of money (Kim Novak), which sparked Columbia chief Harry Cohn to put a contract out on Davis if he didn’t marry a black woman — make that any black woman — within two days, which happened. I remember being so shocked at age 10 by the last when my grandmother told me that I didn’t believe it for years. Later, white co-star Paula Wayne talks about what she herself had to endure from kissing Davis in the 1964 stage production of Golden Boy.

Davis idolized Sinatra, and some say wanted to be Sinatra, and when Davis lost the eye, his idol spent one-on-one time with him trying to teach him how to pour water from a pot or decanter into a glass. Sinatra honored Davis by allowing him into the Rat Pack (though it’s tough even imagining that bunch without him) — yet at this height of his career Davis still had to reside off the Vegas Strip and in a boarding house on the dusty side of town, as all black performers did. Not covered here is the episode in which Davis said something in an interview that riled Frank, who then jettisoned him from playing what ultimately became the Steve McQueen role (big break there) in 1959’s Never So Few. Very much mentioned is the how Davis’s post-election late 1960 marriage to white actress May Britt resulted in his being bounced from performing at the JFK Inaugural gala that Sinatra produced. These were the times, and Republicans (already ready to make trouble over the election outcome) would have made hay, especially given that interracial marriage was still illegal in several states.

A key point of the doc is how Davis was color blind in how he treated people, which tended to make him tone deaf when it came to all the societal upheavals in the ’60s. Nixon seemed to be genuinely intrigued by Davis as a person but also cynically thought the performer could be used to attract a voting demographic that mostly loathed him. So, here we have footage of Davis entertaining the troops in South Vietnam and performing “The Candy Man” at a White House invitational before a bunch of ancient Republicans, the way Bob Hope used to do. Superfly this was not, and though there’s ample footage here to prove that Davis could totally charm audiences of all political persuasions prepared not to like him, Nixon fairly well dropped Davis when he realized the star was going out of fashion. The key shot at the White House show is an overhead one of tuxed-up white guys with their sea of bald domes photographed from the back and listening to “The Candy Man.”

Still, give me that voice, which has more power than I’ve ever heard coming out of someone that physically diminutive (a lot of people must have been envious at how completely Davis always kept the weight off). He was also, from the beginning, such a dancer that on a TV clip from very near the end of his life, Gregory Hines is able to pull him out of his audience seat for a duet when just a perfunctory tap or two would serve the situation and make us grateful he didn’t die on stage. Instead, we get something pretty close to the Full Sammy with no apologies needed as time momentarily stands still.

To this point, Davis was on TV a lot in the final couple decades of his career, so a lot of good and representative footage exists both of him and his time-capsule wardrobes. This really gives the doc a boost, though the interviews are good, too — and especially the ones with singer/actress Wayne, who got on the record for director Sam Pollard before his death just last November. Gotta writer Laurence Maison has a background in show biz docs, while Pollard has a heavy resumé in socially conscious race docs, including a couple for Spike Lee — a simpatico mix in theory. Pollard also directed the very fine “American Masters” on John Wayne and John Ford from 2006, so you can’t say he isn’t working from a diversified portfolio.

Mike’s Picks: ‘Sammy Davis, Jr. — I’ve Gotta Be Me’ and ‘Beat the Devil’