Research Catalog

[Interview with Mel Watkins : raw footage]

Title
[Interview with Mel Watkins : raw footage] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Publication
New York, 2002.

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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
Videocassette 1Moving imageRestricted use NCOX 2135 Videocassette 1Performing Arts Research Collections - TOFT
Videocassette 2Moving imageRestricted use NCOX 2135 Videocassette 2Performing Arts Research Collections - TOFT

Details

Additional Authors
  • Watkins, Mel, 1940-
  • Kantor, Michael, 1961-
  • Squires, Buddy
  • Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
  • Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Description
1 videocassette (VHS) (60 min.) : sd., col. SP; 1/2 in.
Summary
Raw interview footage used for the documentary Broadway, the American musical. Author, editor and columnist for the New York Times Mel Watkins discusses the American musical. Topics include the Minstrel show, a popular form of American entertainment during the 19th century, which featured white entertainers in blackface makeup who portrayed blacks in stereotypical and often disparaging ways; the incorporation of black entertainers and music into the strict three-act Minstrel show, beginning with the innovative tap dancer William Henry "Master Juba" Lane; the Cakewalk, a traditional African American form of music and dance whose syncopated rhythms gained wide popularity on Broadway and in New York society; Ragtime music, as well as Black dances like the Black Bottom and the Shuffle, which likewise were embraced by Broadway audiences; the culmination of these trends in the show Shuffle along, one of the first African American musicals to be produced on Broadway, written by Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, with music by Eubie Blake. Watkins goes on to discuss Bert Williams, the pre-eminent Black entertainer of his era. Topics include Williams' partnership with George Walker, whose onstage persona as a flamboyant dandy contrasted with Williams' melancholy one; Williams' onstage persona as a "shuffling Black coon," which instead of being laughed at gained him the empathy of White audiences; his talent as a dancer and a mime, whose poker routine is widely admired; Williams' sensitive, well-read, intellectual personality in contrast with his onstage persona; Williams and Walkers' partnership and early commercial success as producers of their own shows like the landmark Bandana land, in which a Black trickster outsmarts his White adversaries; Williams' signature song "Nobody," which became one of the most popular songs of the 20th century; Walker's death in 1911; the job offer from producer Flo Ziegfeld for Williams to become a star performer in his Folllies, a rare event for a Black performer; the widespread admiration of Williams by his professional peers, including W. C. Fields and Eddie Cantor; Williams' view of his own use of blackface; Williams experience with racism and an anecdote involving Williams and a bartender; Williams' ambivalance toward society, which viewed him as a star on the one hand, and a second class citizen on the other, and his gradual descent into alcoholism.
Alternative Title
  • Broadway, the American musical
  • Broadway: the American musical : Mel Watkins int.
  • Broadway: the American musical : Watkins/Furia int.
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Documentaries and factual works.
  • Musicals.
  • Unedited footage.
Note
  • This interview is one of a group of interviews with 90 individuals used in making the documentary Broadway, the American musical. The completed production is available on NCOX 2058.
  • Credits for completed production from pbs.org: A film by Michael Kantor ; produced by Jeff Dupre, Michael Kantor and Sally Rosenthal ; written by Marc Fields, Michael Kantor, Laurence Maslon, and JoAnne Young ; directed by Michael Kantor.
  • Time code on frame.
  • Contains various takes, at occasional brief intervals, audio continues without sound.
Credits (note)
  • Cameraman: Buddy Squires.
Performer (note)
  • Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Mel Watkins.
Event (note)
  • Videotaped at Mel Watkins residence in New York, N.Y. on Oct. 22, 2002.
Biography (note)
  • Broadway, the American musical, which aired on PBS in October 2004, is a documentary chronicling the entire history of a unique American art form, the Broadway musical. Each of its six episodes covers a different era in American theater history, and features the Broadway shows and songs which defined the period. The series draws on feature films, television broadcasts, archival news footage, original cast recordings, still photos, diaries, journals, first-person accounts, and on-camera interviews with many of the principals involved in the development of the genre.
Call Number
NCOX 2135
OCLC
124041281
Title
[Interview with Mel Watkins : raw footage] [videorecording] / [directed by Michael Kantor]
Imprint
New York, 2002.
Credits
Cameraman: Buddy Squires.
Performer
Interviewer: Michael Kantor. Interviewee: Mel Watkins.
Event
Videotaped at Mel Watkins residence in New York, N.Y. on Oct. 22, 2002.
Biography
Broadway, the American musical, which aired on PBS in October 2004, is a documentary chronicling the entire history of a unique American art form, the Broadway musical. Each of its six episodes covers a different era in American theater history, and features the Broadway shows and songs which defined the period. The series draws on feature films, television broadcasts, archival news footage, original cast recordings, still photos, diaries, journals, first-person accounts, and on-camera interviews with many of the principals involved in the development of the genre.
Local Note
Gift of Broadway Film Project, Inc. and Thirteen/WNET, 2005.
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Added Author
Watkins, Mel, 1940- interviewee.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- interviewer.
Kantor, Michael, 1961- director.
Squires, Buddy, cameraman.
Broadway Film Project, Inc, donor.
Thirteen/WNET, donor.
Research Call Number
NCOX 2135
View in Legacy Catalog