Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL. Ellis Haizlip ensures the Revolution will be televised with "SOUL!," America's first "Black Tonight Show." From 1968 to 1973, the public-television variety show SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music, and politics-voices that had few other options for national exposure, and, as a result, found the program an improbable place to call home. The series was among the first to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. With participants' recollections and illuminating archival clips, Mr. SOUL. captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate, and an unsung hero whose voice we need now more than ever, to restore the SOUL of a nation.
Before Oprah - before Arsenio - there was Mr. SOUL! Ellis Haizlip makes television broadcast history with SOUL!, America's first "black Tonight Show."
Did You Know?
Ellis Haizlip was born in Washington, DC on September 21, 1929, where he attended Dunbar High School. In Europe during the 1950s, Ellis Haizlip produced plays by his friend James Baldwin, and concert tours for Marlene Dietrich. SOUL! was conceived in 1968 as the first "black Tonight Show." Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles appeared on the very first episode of SOUL! on Sept. 12, 1968. SOUL! was the creation of Ellis B. Haizlip, at the time the only African-American producer at WNET Channel 13, which was then called NET (National Educational Television). Haizlip, along with many emerging and musicians, hosted the show, which aired 130 episodes on Thursday nights out of New York from 1968 to 1973. Ellis Haizlip was instrumental in launching the careers of Anna Maria Horsford, Ashford & Simpson and many African American icons of the twentieth century. Arsenio Hall appeared on the SOUL! show on April 22, 1971. He was fifteen-years-old, performing magic tricks. In 1979, Ellis Haizlip produced Michael Jackson's 21st birthday party at Studio 54. December 6, 1988 was proclaimed Ellis Haizlip Day by the President of the Borough of Manhattan. In 1995, the Ellis B. Haizlip Papers were acquired by the National African American Museum Project, curated by Deb Willis for the Anacostia Community Museum Archives of the Smithsonian Institution. Ellis Haizlip's favorite quote: "It's been beautiful!' See more
22 April 2018 (USA)
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Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $1,696
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