Iconic America

In this new eight-episode documentary series, David Rubenstein explores America’s 400-year history through a close examination of iconic national symbols such as the Hollywood Sign, Fenway Park, American cowboys and the Statue of Liberty: indelible artifacts, places, and archetypes. Each episode tells the story of an American symbol to reveal its origins, significance and the arc of its resonance.

The Cowboy

55m 24s

The cowboy is the quintessential American — fiercely independent, brave and laconic. This episode examines the myths and realities of this archetype, which remains as potent as ever in the 21st century.


  • The Cowboy: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Cowboy

    S1 E4 - 55m 24s

    The cowboy is the quintessential American — fiercely independent, brave and laconic. This episode examines the myths and realities of this archetype, which remains as potent as ever in the 21st century.

  • The Gadsden Flag: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Gadsden Flag

    S1 E3 - 55m 11s

    The “Don’t Tread on Me” flag is such a potent symbol of independence that it has been co-opted by a wide variety of Americans over its long history.

  • The Hollywood Sign: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Hollywood Sign

    S1 E2 - 55m 35s

    The Hollywood Sign episode examines the history of the Los Angeles landmark, which was erected in 1923 originally as a real estate advertisement, and went on to become an international symbol of fame, fortune, and the American dream.

  • Fenway Park: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Fenway Park

    S1 E1 - 55m 27s

    Baseball is a favorite American pastime and obsession, and no ballpark is more iconic than Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. This episode tells the story of a city’s loyalty to its team and love for its ballpark through thick and thin.

Extras + Features

  • Could Hollywood Be Successful Again?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Could Hollywood Be Successful Again?

    S1 E2 - 1m 10s

    Throughout the '60s, Hollywood was losing its financial infrastructure and its audience, and undergoing a major identity crisis. But much to everyone's surprise, a once-popular genre started to regain popularity, and helped save the industry.

  • Power not Afforded Equally: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Power not Afforded Equally

    S1 E2 - 1m 2s

    When it comes to different types of mass cultural production, the tremendous influence and power of Hollywood is unparalled. But like all power throughout history, it is not afforded equally to most segments of society.

  • The Hollywood Sign Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Hollywood Sign Preview

    S1 E2 - 31s

    The story of how a real estate advertisement erected in 1923 became an international symbol of fame, fortune and the American dream.

  • Hollywood as the Ultimate LA Symbol: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Hollywood as the Ultimate LA Symbol

    S1 E2 - 1m 14s

    In many ways, the Hollywood sign is a perfect emblem Los Angeles -- first as an advertisement for a subdivision, then as an ad for Hollywood writ large. This video explains the role that car culture played in creating this timeless icon.

  • Often Imitated, Never Duplicated: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

    S1 E2 - 3m 15s

    From Dollywood to Bollywood in India and Nollywood in Nigeria, the Hollywood sign has inspired numerous imitations and replicas around the world, but stands alone as a unique and internationally recognized symbol of the American entertainment industry.

  • The 1967 Red Sox and The Impossible Dream: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The 1967 Red Sox and The Impossible Dream

    S1 E1 - 45s

    The 1967 Boston Red Sox captured the hearts of their fans and became known as the "Impossible Dream" team. After finishing ninth in the American League in 1966, the Red Sox made a remarkable turnaround and won the American League pennant. During this time, there was also a proposal for a multi-use stadium that would have been shared by the Red Sox and the New England Patriots.

  • The Red Sox' "Cursed" 1986 and 2003 Seasons: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Red Sox' "Cursed" 1986 and 2003 Seasons

    S1 E1 - 4m 48s

    This clip revisits an error by Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in game 7 of the 1986 World Series that remains one of the most memorable plays in baseball history. The error prevented Boston from going into a tie-breaking 11th inning against The New York Mets, and epitomizes The Curse of the Bambino -- a superstition about the team's decades-long drought of World Series Championships.

  • Racism and The Red Sox: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Racism and The Red Sox

    S1 E1 - 3m 18s

    The last team to integrate MLB, The Boston Red Sox have a "shameful past with respect to race relations," according to Sam Kennedy, President and CEO of The Boston Red Sox. In this clip, we look at the history of racism in a franchise known for turning away legendary athletes of color such as Willie Mays.

  • The Curse of the Bambino: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Curse of the Bambino

    S1 E1 - 2m 57s

    After winning winning five of the first 15 World Series, the Red Sox committed the original sin of baseball by trading star pitcher Babe Ruth to the Yankees for cash. They were the greatest team in Major League Baseball, but after they traded Ruth, they wouldn't win another World Series for 86 years.

  • The Curse is Lifted: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Curse is Lifted

    S1 E1 - 37s

    The Boston Red Sox's World Series win in 2004 was a historic moment for the team and its fans. It marked the end of an 86-year championship drought, known as the "Curse of the Bambino," which began after the Red Sox traded baseball legend Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1919. The Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and swept them in four games.

  • Should Fenway be a National Monument?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Should Fenway be a National Monument?

    S1 E1 - 54s

    As the number one tourist attraction in Boston, Fenway Park's allure transcends the sport of baseball. In this clip, fans and historians discuss the merits of the park as a destination for visitors from around the world, and a historic monument.

  • Behind the Scenes: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Behind the Scenes

    S1 - 1m

    David Rubenstein examines the history of America through some of its most iconic symbols, objects and places, on location and in conversation with historical thinkers, community members and other experts. Together, they dive deep into each symbol’s history and how its meaning has changed over time, using them as a gateway to understanding America’s past and present.


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