Synopsis by Nathan Southern
As a second-generation Greek immigrant whose parents migrated to New York at the turn of the Twentieth century, the late Telly Savalas was an inspired choice to host the hour-long historical documentary Remembering Ellis Island: Everyman's Monument. This marks one of the most detailed filmic examinations to date of the legendary monument, which in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth century became the chief immigration port for those twelve million who traveled to the U.S. with plans of residency and citizenship. The film begins in the proverbial "Old World," and from there traces common migratory routes, cinematically, to the still-open Ellis Island museum and the now-defunct ruins of the immigration port itself. The program contrasts the current setting with vintage photographs, to convey how the once-thriving medical examination offices, the baggage room, the railroad ticket office, and immigrant wall of honor eventually fell out of use and now seem to be haunted by the spirits of old settlers and the ghosts of memory. This marked one of the last film projects for Savalas, who died in January 1994.