Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Soul Train

Note From Dada!
...και κάποιες εξαιρετικές τηλεοπτικές τζούρες από την εκπομπή "Soul Train".

Love & Happiness - Al Green


Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin

Lady Marmalade - LaBelle

About Soul Train

Soul Train was a syndicated, music-related television program. In its 35-year history, the show primarily featured performances by rhythm and blues, soul, and hip hop artists, although jazz musicians and gospel singers have also appeared.

The series was created by Don Cornelius, who also served as its first host and executive producer, and aired from 1971 to 2006, with reruns continuing until 2008.

The origins of Soul Train can be traced to 1965, when WCIU-TV, an upstart UHF station in Chicago, began airing two youth-oriented dance programs: Kiddie-a-Go-Go and Red Hot and Blues. These two programs—specifically the latter, which featured a predominantly African American group of in-studio dancers—would set the stage for what was to come to the station several years later.

Don Cornelius, a news reader and backup disc jockey at Chicago radio station WVON, was hired by WCIU in 1967 as a news and sports reporter. Cornelius also was emceeing a touring series of concerts featuring local talent (sometimes called "record hops") at Chicago-area high schools, calling his travelling caravan of shows "The Soul Train". WCIU-TV took notice of Cornelius's outside work, and in 1970 allowed him the opportunity to bring his road show to television.

After securing a sponsorship deal with the Chicago-based retailer Sears, Roebuck and Co., Soul Train premiered on WCIU-TV on August 17, 1970 as a live show airing weekday afternoons. The first episode of the program featured Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites, and the Emotions as guests. Its immediate success attracted the attention of another locally-based firm—the Johnson Products Company (manufacturers of the Afro Sheen line of hair-care products) -- and they later agreed to co-sponsor the program's expansion into syndication. Soul Train began airing in selected cities across the United States, on a weekly basis, on October 2, 1971. When it moved into syndication, the program's home base was also shifted to Los Angeles, where it remained for the duration of its run. Syndication of the program was initially handled by Syndicast Services until 1985, when Tribune Entertainment took over those responsibilities.

Though Don Cornelius moved his operations west, Soul Train continued in Chicago. Cornelius hosted the local Chicago and Los Angeles-based national programs simultaneously, but soon focused his attention solely on the national edition. He continued to oversee production in Chicago, where WCIU-TV aired episodes until 1976, followed by three years of once-weekly reruns.

Cornelius ended his run as host in 1993, and guest hosts were used from that time until 1997, when comedian Mystro Clark began a two-year stint as host. Clark was replaced by actor Shemar Moore in 1999. In 2003, Moore was succeeded by actor Dorian Gregory, who hosted through 2006.

The show was known for its animated opening titles and sequences between musical performances featuring the popular cartoon train created by various cartoon studios. As a nod to Soul Train's longevity, the show's opening sequence (during later seasons) also contained a claim that it was the "longest-running, first-run, nationally-syndicated program in television history," with over 1,100 episodes produced from the show's debut through the 2005-06 season.

Production of first-run episodes was suspended at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, the show's thirty-fifth. For two seasons starting in 2006-07, the program aired archived episodes (all from between 1974 and 1987) under the title, "The Best of Soul Train". The future of Soul Train was uncertain with the announced closing of Tribune Entertainment's syndication division on December 18, 2007, which left Don Cornelius Productions to seek a new distributor for the program. Cornelius soon secured a deal with Trifecta Entertainment & Media.

In May 2008, the rights to the Soul Train library were purchased by MadVision Entertainment, whose principal partners come from the entertainment and publishing fields. The price and terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, by the start of the 2008-09 television season, the Tribune-owned stations (including national carrier WGN America) that had been the linchpin of the show's syndication efforts dropped the program, and many others followed suit. The move coincided with Trifecta Entertainment and Media's transfer of its only other major syndication effort, American Idol Rewind, to network television, indicating it may have exited the syndication business as well. Soul Train's website acknowledged that the program had ceased distribution on September 22, 2008.

Despite this, in years on air, Soul Train will continue to hold the honor of the longest, continuously-running first-run syndicated program until at least 2016, if and when its nearest competitor, Entertainment Tonight, completes its 35th season. (If ET does not complete a 35th season, Wheel of Fortune would pass in 2017 if it continues to air.)


Anonymous said...


I watched Soul Train until about the time it was cancelled. I even watched some of the show when it was in syndication here. I wish they would broadcast it again.

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