TV Fourth of July Marathon

Category: Television and Streaming

There will be no jockeying for a vantage viewing spot to catch the Fourth of the July festivities since NBC, PBS, and CBS has reserved a first row seat to some of this year’s most spectacular fireworks displays. Celebrating its 40th anniversary is Macy’s pyro display originates from five barges stationed on New York City’s East River. The peacock network marks the occasion with a two hour star-studded broadcast hosted by Tamron Hall and Willie Geist.

The celebrity lineup welcomes Kenny Chesney, Meghan Trainor, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Jennifer Holliday premiering a brand new arrangement of America the Beautiful, while the United States Air Force Band supplies the musical accompaniment.

Turning northward, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas make a slight detour from touring to appear during the two hour live Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular via CBS. Set against Boston’s Charles River Esplanade, conductor Keith Lockhart will led the Boston Pops in a program of favorite melodies.

Set against the backdrop of the West Lawn of the White House, A Capitol Fourth airs on PBS Monday. Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron introduces Smokey Robinson, Kenny Loggins, Sutton Foster and the cast of Gloria Estenfan’s musical On Your Feet! And what could be more appropriate for the occasion than Christopher Jackson, who portrays George Washington from Broadway’s hottest ticket – Hamilton? Topping off the evening is the National Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner with The Voice’s Season 10 winner Alisan Porter.

Sony Movie Channel salutes America’s Armed Forces with an Independence Day Military Marathon leading off with western icon Randolph Scott in 7th Cavalry and Hangman’s Knot. Also included in the lineup is Jack Nicholson’s The Last Detail; Jean-Claude Van Damme in Second in Command; GeneHackman in Bat 21; Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox in Casualties of War; plus James Caan and James Earl Jones in Gardens of Stone.

Setting the record straight, the Smithsonian Channel airs The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima on Sunday. The documentary reveals that Navy Corpsman John “Doc” Bradley, the focus of the book and subsequent film Flags of Our Fathers is not in the iconic photo, but actually participated in the first and lesser-known flag-raising on Iwo Jima. Instead, that honor goes to US Marine Corps Pfc. And Purple Heart recipient Harold Schultz, based on forensic evidence provided by the Smithsonian Channel and production company Lucky 8 TV.

Schultz survived the bloody month-long battle in the Pacific, earning a Purple Heart, and later worked for the US Postal Service in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles. He never shared his story with the public, and after his death in 1995 a copy of the iconic photo was discovered among his meager possessions.

Traveling back in time, HDNET Movies celebrates the patriotic holiday with a fully focused emphasis on America western favorites beginning with Paul Newman as an outlaw with a unique brand of justice in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, while Spencer Tracy uncovers a small town’s violent past in Bad Day at Black Rock, followed by Henry Fonda in A Big Hand for the Little Lady. Keeping up the momentum is Paul Newman in Hombre and Jason Robards in The Ballad of Cable Hogue.

Then Union officers John Wayne and William Holden go behind enemy lines in The Horse Soldiers, as Glenn Ford builds a newspaper empire in Cimarron. All the titles repeat in the evening to complete the 24 hour marathon.

If anyone regrets not being at the beach this holiday weekend, AMC is quick to remind people of the dangers larking in the ocean’s depths with its Jaws-athon. StevenSpielberg’ monstrous great white made his debut in 1975 and returned for three encores – Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3 (1983) and Jaws: The Revenge (1987).

About the Author

Winnie Bonelli is a former entertainment editor for a daily metropolitan New York City area newspaper. She is passionate about movies and television and loves to take readers behind the scenes.