Saturday, February 16, 2008


(Continually we will spotlight films that are only available on VHS and of course are available at Rocket Video)

Maybe the most important videos in Rocket are the 10 VHS tapes that make up the monumental PBS documentary six-hour series Eyes On The Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 (1987) and the four-hour follow up Eyes On The Prize IIAmerica At The Racial Crossroads 1965-1985 (1990), both directed by Henry Hampton.
For years  Eyes On The Prize had been out of print due to legal issues over the rights to the footage, and Rocket was about the only place you could find it. Recently those thorny issues have apparently been been settled somewhat. Now PBS has been cleared to rebroadcast the epic and sell the videos for educational purposes.
This is a must. It’s a candy shop for anyone who loves historical documentaries. The footage and the recollections from the participants are perfectly placed. And it digs deep. It doesn’t just ‘hero worship’ or mythize it also reveals the in fighting and complicated legal and political shell games played between such titans as MLK, JFK and LBJ

And what a ‘fight the power’ all-star cast... 

Julian Bond, James Bevel, John Lewis, James Meredith, Diane Nash, Rosa Parks, Ralph AbernathyAngela Davis and Medgar Evers. 

With special apearences by Malcolm X, Huey Newtonn and Bobby Seale 

and introducing Police Commissioner Bull Connor as "The Dickhead".

 • Episode 1: Awakenings (1954-1956)

 • Episode 2: Fighting Back (1957-1962)

 • Episode 3: Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960-1961)

 • Episode 4: No Easy Walk (1961-1963)

 • Episode 5: Mississippi: Is This America? (1962-1964)

 • Episode 6: Bridge To Freedom (1965)

 • Episode 7 - The Time Has Come (1964-1966)

 • Episode 8 - Two Societies (1965-1968)

 • Episode 9 - Power! (1966-1968)

 • Episode 10 - The Promised Land (1967-1968)

 • Episode 11 - Ain't Gonna Shuffle No More (1964-1972)

 • Episode 12 - A Nation of Law? (1968-1971)

 • Episode 13 - The Keys to the Kingdom (1974-1980)

 • Episode 14 - Back to the Movement (1979-mid 1980's)

ALSO OF INTEREST: currently playing on PBS I happened across a documentary on John Lewis called Come Walk In My Shoes (2008). As one of the original students taking part in the Nashville lunch-counter boycotts and later a Freedom Rider, where he was famously almost beaten to death by asshole Alabama state troopers during the march across the bridge outside Selma much of his story is covered in Eyes on the Prize) also told beautifully in David Halberstam’s brilliant book “The Children”).. But this moving one-hour doc updates Lewis’s story, he later was elected to the US congress, and annually takes his fellow politicians on a tour of the freedom march he and others gave their nearly gave their lives for...


No comments: