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Alternate history

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Michelle Jahn
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2010, 01:16:42 pm »

Radio
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In 1953, the NBC radio network aired a show called Stroke of Fate that posited different point of divergence creating an alternate time-line for each episode and dramatized the results along with commentary from various historians. Episodes included changes in the American Civil War, Alexander the Great surviving his illness, an alternate fate for James Wolfe at Quebec City, no Julius Caesar assassination, a different outcome of Aaron Burr's duel amongst other stories. All episodes have been preserved.

The idea of an alternate history was used for satiric and comedic effect in the BBC Radio comedy Married. The protagonist, a confirmed bachelor, awakes one morning in a world where he has a wife and two children, and people familiar to him are radically changed. One historical divergence in this world, exploited mostly for comedy, was the decision of King Edward VIII not to abdicate in 1936. His heirs were a King Richard and a King John, the latter of whom was openly homosexual.

[edit] Films
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Several films have been made that exploit the concepts of alternate history, most notably Kevin Brownlow's It Happened Here (1966), depicting a Nazi-occupied Britain. Other alternate history films include the HBO TV movie Fatherland (1994), set in the 1960s in a world where Germany won World War II. Although foretelling a world where Germany is poised to be defeated in World War II, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds offers a satirical revenge fantasy where a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler succeeds.

Alternate histories in film are sometimes presented as mockumentaries to provide verisimilitude to fictional events, including C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America (2004), a satirical look at the history of an America where the South won the Civil War.

Other examples of cinematic alternate history are: 2009 Lost Memories (2002), a Korean film supposing that Hirobumi Ito was not assassinated by An Jung-geun in Harbin, China, in 1909; and Timequest (2002), in which a time traveler prevents the assassination of John F. Kennedy, resulting in an altered subsequent history.

A few movies about alternative universes focus on individuals rather than historical events, for example, Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, and more recently the Back to the Future series of films, Blind Chance, Sliding Doors, Run Lola Run, Me Myself I, The Butterfly Effect, Groundhog Day, Frequency and Inglourious Basterds.

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