Al Eicher – Topics

“Ballooning, Blimps & the Great Airships” by Al and David Eicher
This lecture and multi-media presentation covers three types of aircraft used in man’s early effort to maintain flight. We begin with the 1873 balloonists and progress into the Civil War observation balloon program. Along the way we meet Thaddeus Lowe, Michigan’s own General Custer, B.T. Barnum, Prof. Hogan from Jackson, Michigan, Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. You will witness the building of the Great Dirigibles of the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation and see Henry Ford’s mooring tower at the Dearborn Airport. Old photographs and movie footage of the period make this an outstanding program.

“The Early Days of Radio in Michigan” by Al and David Eicher 
This lecture and multi-media presentation features the first commercial radio stations in Michigan and follows a time line which explores the history of early radio programs. From the mid 1920’s, as radio receiver sales soared, we review the classic radio programs of that Era and into the 1950’s. By 1930, radio listening became an “All American past time”. When 1950 came around, more than 200 classic programs had been created by the radio networks. Some of the best shows originated from Detroit and Chicago. This lecture will stimulate many wonderful memories of the early days of radio and display several hundred old photos and movie footage of the characters on radio. Program Length 45 minutes plus Q and A.

“European Waterways: Legends & History from Amsterdam to Vienna” by Al & Dave Eicher
This adventure in European History begins at Amsterdam with a Canal Tour of the city and a visit to a Museum and Diamond Factory. Our river boat “The River Melody” will be your floating hotel and dining room for this 15 day journey. We visit 23 cities and villages along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers.  The adventure was recorded in the HD! Walking tours and visits to several cathedrals, castles, palaces, wineries in caves, a brewery and prison, plus home visits are only a few events in the adventure.  We also visit the Hall of Justice and Room 600 where the Nuremburg Trials were held and the Parade grounds of the 3rd Reich.  At historic Heidelberg, the Castle Fortress, the University tour, meeting the Student Prince and a Wagon ride up to Old Rothemburg and the Christmas Museum adds to the adventure. River cruising offers a spectacular view of the Danube Valley Grand Gorge. It also makes it possible for convenient stops at the Weltenburg and Melk Abbeys. We will pass through 66 locks on our way to Vienna, Austria.  The Lecture and Visual presentation can be tailored for a 1 1/2 to 2 hour program with Q & A to follow.

”History & Legends…Greece, Turkey & the Islands” by Al and David Eicher
Al Eicher traveled to over 50 locations in these countries visiting sites of the early civilizations. He also traveled to the islands of Mykonos, Crete, Patmos, Petra and Santorini. This lecture and visual presentation captures spectacular views of the ancient ruins, snow capped mountains and stories of Greek mythology. Sites visited include Athens,Corinth, Ephesus, Patmos, Rhodes, Lindos, Knossos, Sounion, Thira, Oia, Mycenae, Mars Hill, Kalambaka, Kusadasi, Delphi, Olympia, St. John’s Cave, St. Andrew’s by the Sea and more. The most incredible panoramic views were captured at Meteora where 13 monasteries were built in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many of the monasteries are located on the high pinnacles of the Pindos mountain range. The presentation gives the audience a front row seat,including the sights and sounds of cruising to the islands and climbing to the Acropolis sites of many old cities. Experience the visual history and legends of Greece and Turkey. Program Length 80 minutes plus Q & A.

History & Legends…Traveling the Russian Waterways from St. Petersburg to Moscow” by Al & Dave Eicher
Al Eicher traveled the rivers and lakes on a 1200 mile journey capturing the sights and sounds from St. Petersburg to Moscow. We begin our profile on the Legends and History of Russia’s past plus current economy and lifestyles. Among the many stops along the way, he visited  the historic Peter and Paul Fortress, the Palace of Catherine the Great, Peterhof, Yusupow Palace, the Ballet at the Alexandrinsky Theatre, the Volga Baltic Waterway, the Village of Svirstroy, Kizhi Island and the 22 domed Church of the Transfiguration, and Ivan the Terrible’s 16th Century Fortress in Uglich among the many stops along the way. The trip ended with 3 days in Moscow visiting Red Square, Cathedral of St. Basil, State Armory, the Kremlin, Russian Space Training Center, the Tretvakov Art Gallery and the Russian War Museum.  No visit to Russia would be complete without a trip to the famous Moscow Circus. Besides learning about the Legends and History of Russia, you’ll get a look into the current economy and lifestyle for Russia’s citizens.

“The History of Music Boxes in Michigan” by Al and David Eicher
This lecture and multi-media presentation was developed by Al Eicher who has been a music box collector for many years. He and his son, David went to auctions, where the collectors gather, and traveled throughout Michigan filming and recording the sounds of Music boxes. This presentation covers the historical beginnings in Europe of the early chiming watches, musical snuff boxes, barrel organs and carillons. A segment of the program is devoted to the history of music, revealing the great music composers of the period and their contribution to eventually bring music into homes by the 1860’s and for the next 30 years. Program length 45 minutes plus Q and A.

“The History of Michigan’s Largest Commercial Fishery” by Al and David Eicher
This lecture and multi-media presentation documents the history of Michigan’s largest commercial fishery on Lake Huron’s, Saginaw Bay. The lecture covers the early fisheries at Bay City, Bay Port, East Tawas, Caseville, Oscoda, Au Sable and Sebewaing. The timeline of events begins with the 1850’s to current times. This 150 year history includes salt well operations, ice harvesting using 100’s of old photographs and movie footage of the 1920’s. Two years of research and underwater photography plus interviews with the fishermen of the 1920’s make this an outstanding program and proves that Saginaw Bay was the world’s largest freshwater fishery. Program length 45 minutes plus Q and A.

“Indian History of Southeastern Michigan” by Al and David Eicher
This lecture and multi-media presentation provides “proof positive” information about Michigan’s Thumb region, being rich in Native American History dating back to ancient times. Al and David Eicher working with the Ziibiwing Cultural Center in Mt. Pleasant and several Michigan Museums, over a period of two years, made it possible to develop the story of the early Indians of the Paleo era to the coming of the Anishanabe. Al and David went to many Indian Village sites, Pow Wows, Indian Mission locations, burial mounds and the Petroglyphs in Sanilac County. They traveled to the “Great White Rock” in Lake Huron and walked the river banks where Indian Treaties were signed. Program length 45 minutes plus Q and A.

“Michigan in the Civil War” by Al and David Eicher
This lecture and visual presentation was developed over a 5 year period by Al and Dave Eicher. More than 150 Michigan research centers such as Libraries, historical societies and individuals contributed information and photographs. The presentation includes visits to the many Historic sites relating to Civil War events in Michigan and old photos of places where the recruits joined the Union cause. The producer’s television cameras also went to the Harper’s Ferry Arsenal, Gettysburg Battle fields, the Battle of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, the crossing of the Rappahannock River, Petersburg, Bull Run and Fredericksburg. Michigan men and women were there! This presentation is unique in that it develops a month by month timeline of events in Michigan and at the Eastern battlefields. This program in 77 minutes tells true stories about Michigan people and Governor Blair’s search for troops to meet Lincoln’s request. The music and sounds created at the reenactment events make this a very special program relating Michigan’s role in the Civil War.

“Michigan’s Lumbering Days and Camp Life” by Al and David Eicher 
This lecture and multi-media presentation covers the history of lumbering in Michigan from the first settlements and the earliest forms of lumber harvesting. We follow a timeline progressing from hand hewn logs to making finished lumber using the water powered mills. We then progress to the 1870’s steam engines which powered the mills in lower Michigan. Over 200 photographs and old movie footage recreate the life of the lumberjack and river hogs in their quest to harvest the big trees and get them to the mill.  Program length 45 minutes plus Q and A.

“Michigan’s Passesnger Pigeons:  Gone Forever” by Al and David Eicher   Al and David Eicher have created a unique Lecture and Visual presentation about a 70 year event in Michigan’s history.  From the 1830’s and through the 1890’s, the Passenger Pigeon was the most beautiful bird and the dominate species in the State of Michigan.  It was also the most hunted bird from April into September, depending on its roosting patterns.  Professional hunters and game dealers came from New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio to get in on the hunt.  The program follows a timeline of historic events in Michigan’s History which led to the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.  This presentation was developed over several years of collecting data, newspaper articles, photos,colorful artwork, visiting museums and libraries in Michigan.  The Passenger Pigeon project is the 18th lecture topic developed by the Eicher’s.  The “Orphan Train In Michigan” was their first research project, which became a lecture and visual presentation.  This led to the creation of “When Mark Twain Came to Michigan” and most recent “When Amelia Came to Michigan.  With over 340 lectures given to their credit and the Award of Merit from the Historical Society of Michigan several years ago, they enjoy a statewide audience at many Libraries, Historical Societies and several Colleges. This presentation is 60 minutes in length (plus Q & A) and features a wonderful story, beautiful artwork, specimens from the Cranbrook Institute of Science, plus sounds of nature as it was in the middle 1800’s.

“The Orphan Train In Michigan” by Al and David Eicher 
Al and David Eicher, while doing research on the History of Oxford,Michigan, found evidence of the Orphan Train coming to Michigan. From a period starting in 1854 to 1927 approximately 12,500 orphans were placed in Michigan, many coming from the New York Children’s Aid Society.  The lecture and 100 or more old photos present the early formation of the Orphan Train, the collecting of children from various orphanages, the story of the orphan train agents and nurses plus “The Placement” process. The first placement of Orphan Train Riders in the United States occurred at Dowagiac, Michigan on a Sunday morning in September of 1854. Come ride with us, on the “Baby Train”, across the state traveling the route of the Michigan Central Railroad.  Program length 45 minutes plus Q and A.

“Spain:  History & Legends by Al & Dave Eicher” is a 70 minutes lecture and visual  presentation created  in 2014.    The adventure begins  in Madrid and visit historic sites such as “Valley of the Fallen”, Basilica De La Santa Cruz, the El Escorial Monastery and the Royal Palace of El Pardo.  Later, we go to Toledo and visit the Toledo Cathedral and San Domingo De Silos,  where El Greco spent many years painting.  We also visit the countrysides of Spain and see their agricultural resources and the windmills made popular by  Don Quixote.   Our tour continues through the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Grenada, with stops along the Costa del Sol region of the Spanish Riviera.  A trip to Spain wouldn’t be  complete with out a visit the the Rock of Gibralter, where we ventured into the WWII tunnels and natural  caverns.  We also  met the local  population of the Macaque apes.   Heading to Seville, we go to a restaurant, known for their tapas,  stop at bull  rings, enjoy a Flamenco  Dance show and visit the the Royal Palace of Seville and the Royal Cathedral.  Stops are also made at the Mosque of the Caliphs before returning to the US from Madrid.  For more information, contact us at 248-333-2010  or email al (at) program-source.com

“Traveling the Inside Passage to Alaska” by Al and David Eicher   This lecture and multi-media presentation is a grand view of the last American frontier. Al Eicher spent 11 days cruising and going on land tours at each port to portrait a current and Historic look of the last frontier. The television camera captured the days of the Klondike Gold Rush, the glaciers, the White Pass Railroad and the main streets of these old frontier towns. The real “Eye Openers” are the scenes of Alaskan Wildlife, the Salmon Run and the “Whale Watch”. Come cruise the Inside Passage with us! Program length 45 minutes plus Q & A.

“When Amelia Came to Michigan” by Al and David Eicher
This is the real life story of Amelia Earhart’s adventures in Michigan.  Our many years of research indicates she was here more than 25 times promoting the aviation industry and opportunities for women in this field.  Our lecture and visual presentation begins with her childhood at the turn of the century, her family life and education, early flying experiences, the world records and her 8 years of adventures in Michigan.  Over a 10 year period, we collected Michigan newspaper articles about Amelia, also hundred’s of photographs, old film footage, plus the music from the 1920’s and 30’s.  Our presentation reveals the life and times of the woman who flew for the fun of it! Call Al or Dave Eicher at 248-333-2010 for lecture bookings.   Program length 60 minutes plus Q & A.

“When Hollywood Went to War” by Al & David Eicher
This is the real life story of nearly 90 celebrities who served in the United State Military during World War II. In our research, we collected hundreds of photographs, films and several interviews of men and women from the entertainment world. These 1940’s celebrities, young and some older, took time out in their successful careers to protect and preserve our freedom. This presentation will explain where they went to serve and what battlefields and/or naval battles they experienced. The most challenging facet of the project was finding photographs of these celebrities in uniform and in various theaters of the war. Most of the men served in the Army Air Corp. The Navy was the second most chosen service. As part of our research we found out what aircraft they were flying and if they were in the Navy, the ships they were on. Kirk Douglas was on a Sub-Chaser. Jimmy Stewart piloted the B-24 Liberator. Jonathan Winters was an Anti-aircraft gunner on the U.S.S. Wisconsin in the Battle of Okinawa. Henry Fonda served on a destroyer, the U.S.S. Satterlee. Mickey Rooney served in the Army under General Patton and earned a Bronze Star. Tyrone Power was a Marine Corp pilot flying missions at the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Audie Murphy, the most decorated American soldier. Art Carney and Charles Durning were both wounded during the D-Day landing at Normandy, you will see that landing. Bea Arthur was a U.S. Marine Corp Staff Sgt. and Julia Child was an American spy. There are also the sad stories of Glenn Miller and Carol Lombard, wife of Clark Gable and the Malmedy Massacre.  A host of Hollywood women were active in War Bond Rallies and USO shows such as Helen Hayes, Lucille Ball, Greer Garson, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Garland and the Andrew Sisters. We didn’t forget the Bob Hope USO shows. Hedy Lamarr’s World War II story is most intriguing of all. Be prepared for some real surprises! This lecture and multi- media presentation is 60 minutes in length. Call Al or David at 248-333-2010 for lecture bookings.

“When Mark Twain Came to Michigan” by Al and David Eicher
This lecture and multi-media presentation was developed after several years of research and the on going collecting of old photographs of this world famous author. The lecture focuses on a period in Samuel Clemens life when he took the name, Mark Twain, and came to Michigan. The presentation also covers stories of his early childhood in the 1850’s. We obtained a diary of his travels in Michigan which was the beginning of his World Tour. He traveled with his wife and daughter plus his business manager. The diary provides interesting comments about the St. Clair flats and sites along the way to Mackinac Island and other parts of Michigan. The lecture along with 150 or more photos presents a time line of events in his family life. You will see the good years and his times of great loss. Program length 45 minutes plus Q and A.