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May 23, 2018
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Gino Merli Docudrama to Premiere
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Gino Merli: The Healing Hero, a 40-minute WVIA docudrama that recounts the World War II exploits of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and lifelong northeastern Pennsylvania resident Gino Merli, will premiere Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. as a regional complement to Ken Burns' The War.

The Merli program, which stars regional actor Michael Fallon and is based on a play written by Tom Flannery, is co-produced by Bob Shlesinger and Scranton Public Theatre. The show depicts Merli's extraordinary heroism at age 20 that resonated throughout the remainder of his life. Cinematically adapted for high-definition television from a one-man regional stage production, the docudrama intercuts World War II archival motion picture footage and photographs within four dramatic scenes that span the last afternoon of Merli's life.

The War, a seven-part PBS series directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, tells the story of the Second World War through the personal accounts of a handful of men and women from four American towns: Waterbury, Conn.; Mobile, Ala.; Sacramento, Calif.; and the tiny farming town of Luverne, Minn.

In every episode, veterans' accounts of battle are interwoven with the poignant recollections of their loved ones back home, who, for four long years, carried on with their lives, contributed to the war effort, and lived in constant fear of telegrams containing news too terrible to bear. The film honors the bravery, endurance and sacrifice of Americans who lived through what will always be known simply as The War.

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