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January 17, 2009

Tom Hanks narrates public service announcement extolling the importance of CW to the American experience

Award-winning actor and producer Tom Hanks has described Colonial Williamsburg as an important part of the American experience in a video public service announcement produced by a Los Angeles production company. Mr. Hanks, who narrates the 30-second video, appears on screen near the end of the announcement with the Capitol in the Historic Area in the background.

The half-minute message encapsulates the American experience using Historic Area scenes to portray the American dream of land ownership; the ingenuity of historic tradesmen creating products in small, hands-on manufactories; fine craftsmanship as skilled cabinetmakers fashion intricate furniture; the origins of American justice in our early courtrooms; and the perseverance of the enslaved in seeking and securing their eventual freedom. A gathering of Revolutionary-era patriots personifies the “very idea of America itself.”

The video was shot, edited and produced by Herzog Cowen Entertainment, a California production company known for its documentary work and its strong ties to Mr. Hanks’ production firm, Playtone Productions.

The public service announcement will be distributed to television stations and broadcast and cable networks for airing during the year on behalf of the non-profit Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. In addition, the video may be viewed on Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site,, at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center and on in-room television throughout the hotels of the Colonial Williamsburg Resort Collection.

“We are very grateful to Tom Hanks for speaking so generously about the Colonial Williamsburg experience,” said Colin G. Campbell, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “His abiding interest in history is not only evident from this video, but also from his past leadership of an impressive range of high-quality historical productions, including the multiple award winning HBO miniseries, ‘John Adams’ a portion of which was filmed in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.”

In the interest of authenticity, Colonial Williamsburg experts and historians provided extensive knowledge and advice to Herzog Cowen Entertainment during filming of the public service announcement and to the production company filming “John Adams” in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. In the 2008 HBO special, “The Making of John Adams,” Mr. Hanks—along with lead actors Paul Giamatti and David Morse, director Tom Hooper and author/historian David McCullough—cited Colonial Williamsburg for its authenticity and assistance in the production.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281