Rock Docs Series “Soul Train: The Hippist Trip In America” Air Date 02/10/10:
“Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America” is narrated by Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard and features an original score by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots.
Description: Few television series were as innovative and influential to pop culture as “Soul Train.” Set first in Chicago, “Soul Train” launched on WCIU-TV with local radio and television personality, Don Cornelius on August 17, 1970. After moving the dance show to Los Angeles, “Soul Train” skyrocketed nationally and firmly secured its place in television by becoming the longest running, first-run syndicated series in history. To commemorate the show’s 40th anniversary, VH1 Rock Docs and Soul Train present “Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America,” a monumental 90-minute documentary celebrating the show’s impact on pop culture, music, dance and fashion. The film also features a rare interview with Don Cornelius in which he reveals exclusive details regarding the launch and early days of the legendary series.
From 1970—2006, “Soul Train” offered a window into African American music and culture, and its charismatic host, Don Cornelius, was the man responsible for a new era in African American expression. A trained journalist, Don created a media empire that provided an outlet for record labels and advertisers to reach a new generation of music fans. He was and still is one of the first African Americans to own his own show. As the epitome of cool, many of his expressions entered the popular American lexicon: “A groove that will make you move real smooth,” and “Wishing you Love, Peace, and Soul!”
The documentary includes memorable performances and moments from the show, as well as behind-the-scene stories from the people who lived the “Soul Train” movement, including the cast, crew, and dancers. In addition, popular musicians (Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Snoop Dogg, Aretha Franklin), Sly Stone’s first exclusive documentary interview in years, comics (Cedric “The Entertainer,” Nick Cannon), music industry executives (L.A. Reid, Clive Davis, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff) and actors of yesterday and today will comment on growing up with the show and will share their stories of how “Soul Train” affected their own lives.
Background History: In the 70’s there was American Bandstand and there was Soul Train.Few television series were as innovative and influential as Soul Train. Set first in Chicago, and later in Los Angeles, the Soul Train dance party reached national significance and became the longest running syndicated show in television history. In commemoration of its 40th anniversary, Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America is a 90 minute documentary celebrating the show’s many contributions to pop culture, music, dance and fashion. From 1970-2006 the series offered a window into the history of Black music, and its charismatic host, Don Cornelius was The Man responsible for a new era in Black expression. A trained journalist, Don created a media empire that provided an outlet for record labels and advertisers to reach a new generation of music fans. As the epitome of cool, many of his expressions entered the popular American lexicon: “A groove that will make you move real smooth,” “Wishing you Peace, Love and Soul!” The documentary will feature performances and great moments from the show, as well as behind-the-scene stories and memories from the cast and crew. In addition, popular musicians, comics and actors of yesterday and today will comment on growing up with the show and will share their stories of how Soul Train affected their own lives.
Popular program elements (from Wikipedia) were the “Soul Train Scramble Board” – “Two dancers are given 60 seconds to unscramble a set of letters which form the name of that show’s performer or a notable person in African American history. In describing the person’s renown, the host concluded their description with the phrase “…whose name you should know. Near the program’s conclusion, there was also the popular “Soul Train Line”, in which all the dancers form two lines with a space in the middle for individual dancers to strut down and dance in consecutively. Sometimes, new dance styles or moves are featured or introduced by particular dancers.” Famous and notable in-house dancers included Rosie Perez, Carmen Electra, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Jermaine Stewart, Fred “Rerun” Berry, Pebbles, NFL legend Walter Payton, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel.