By Olu Alemoru, Staff Writer
Among this week’s 50th anniversary celebrations of the march on Washington, immortalized by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, fledgling 24/7 African-American broadcast network Bounce TV has scored a coup with a 1970 documentary that has never been shown on television before.
“King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis,” premieres Wednesday at 4 p.m., and throughout the evening Bounce will run an accompanying series featuring prominent interviews about the civil rights legend. These include influential figures like Rev. King’s eldest son Martin Luther King III, former ambassador Andrew Young and music stars Usher Raymond and Tyrese.
The film, directed by renowned Hollywood filmmakers Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, features appearances by such luminaries as Sidney Poitier, Diahann Carroll, Bill Cosby, James Earl Jones, Paul Newman and Marlon Brando.
According to Bill Hall, Bounce’s executive vice president of programming and production, the network was looking for a way to commemorate the anniversary and happened on this rarely seen gem.
“I knew this documentary existed because I’d seen it maybe 20 years ago,” he said. “But it’s so rare and I wasn’t even sure it was available for TV at all. We did a little research and found out that not only was it available, but it had never been on television before. So, we’re very proud to present it for the first time.”
Hall revealed that the filmmakers had to secure foreign money as the project was considered “pretty unmarketable” at the time.
“It’s not necessarily a historical film, like [the critically acclaimed documentary] ‘Eyes on the Prize,’” he noted. “This was really made for people at the time. It wasn’t looking back 10 or 12 years; this was about a man whose life had ended two years ago.”
A link to clips can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ugwyb9stmoft2q9/7UZstMYzAd.
Rev. King in 1964. Courtesy Wiki Commons