Articles at BlaxDotCom:
The whole thang
part one

see also:

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight

Convention in NY
Blax Chix

Introduction
Influence it had
Soundtrack index
Blax Chart Hits

Poster index
Movie index
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I WAS THERE & I SAW THE WHOLE THANG PART ONE
Anpu Ankhamen from Saint Louis, Missouri


I was there & I saw the whole thing ... in relation to the birth & death of the so-called Blaxploitation Movie Experience in the late 60's & early 70's ... produced by Hollywood, U.S.A.

Between the years of 1969-1973 I worked as an usher in the largest motion picture theater in Saint Louis, Missouri. The FOX THEATER also bragged that it was the second largest of its kind in the world.

The FOX was very popular. It was enormous,too, with its three floors of reclining, crushed velour seats. It was also old-world with its elaborately ornate, gold, columns, friezes, trrim, & hidden catacombs above the balcony & behind the huge silver screen & under the motorized lift which raised & lowered a huge pipe organ leftover from the days of the silent movies that played during movie intermissions & behind the huge Broadway-styled, neon marquee.

Anyway ... from my perspective I think 'Sweet Sweetback's Badaaasss Song' was truly the very first 'blaxploitation movie', even though, after touring www.blaxploitation.com I have discovered that 'Cotton Comes To Harlem' chronologically was released one year earlier in 1970 (us: hmm... we'll have to look that up again sometime) but in the achives of my mind I always remembered that we saw 'Sweet Sweetback' first ... in Saint Louis & 'Cotton Comes To Harlem' later after the release of 'Shaft' & 'Superfly'.

*********HOW YOU READ?***************STAND BY********MORE************

As an usher working 12 hour shifts from 12:00p.m. to 12:00a.m. for $1.90 an hour I rate the three biggest & most profound blaxploitation movies as:

1.SHAFT
2.SUPERFLY
3.THE MACK & ACROSS 110th STREET

In my humble opinion these movies had the most long-lasting & most profound effects on the Black American Diaspora...simply because they "BLEW NIGGAS' MINDS!!!!"

Black people had never seen anything like that on the big screen before. In these four movies one can experience the entire length & breadth of the black underworld...at that time. These movies were a fairly accurate, albeit glamorized, reflection of the "The Life"... the hidden world of pimps, players, hustlers all over the country.

One of the most amazing things about this experience is that blacks in Saint Louis, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philly, B-Mo, D.C., L.A., K.C., Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, & etc. realized they knew the same thing. It was an amazing revelation for the time period!

I discovered this phenomena when I enlisted in the United States Army (to avoid the Draft) & began meeting brothers form around the country. All the hip cat studs saw the same movie & instantly have a common frame of reference for communications ... no matter which part of the country you were from.

Before the so-called Blaxploitation explosion hit the theaters it was comon practice for the FOX to show two full-length features, two different cartooons, & feature Stan Kan On The Organ for the whopping admission of $.50. During those days one could stay in the movies all day long for the one admission paid & many boys & girls did because if was an outstanding place to meet members of the opposite sex.

I remember it costing $.75 to see Sweetback as a double feature but when Shaft came out it cost $1.50 & by the time I left to go to Vietnam in 1973, the price was a whopping $3.00 for all day & one cartoon!!!!!!!

B-movies like 'The Man With Two Heads' always, always came as all day double features. The worst the movie the more goodies (like T-Shirts, posters, buttons) that came along. For a big premeire the stars made a personal, cameo appearance at the FOX ... such as Thalmus Rasalala, Tamara Dobson, William Marshall. Now let me tell you about the Big Three (really four).................

****************************************END***************************
NEXT: BLOW MY MIND!

© Copyright 1999
Anpu Ankhamen from Saint Louis, Missouri


We would like to thank Anpu and the Mothership
falettin us publish the whole thang here...
Stay tuned for the next parts...

All site contents ©1998 blaxploitation.com. The author has asserted his moral rights. Cover scans, album reviews, all other text content and/or pictures may only be used by prior permission of the.man@blaxploitation.com. But what the hell, I'm a nice guy, so drop me a line!