Friday, June 20, 2008

Don Cornelius Sells The Soul Train Franchise

As a teenager each and every one of my Saturday mornings was spent doing my chores designated for the day and watching “Soul Train”. Sometime I would watch “American Bandstand” when Dick Clark had a guest that I wanted to see; however I watched “Soul Train” religiously. Don Cornelius, with his huge afro and his laid back demeanor was a perfect complement to the high energy dance moves and talented array of guest stars who graced the stage week after week. My best friend and I made a vow to get on that show (it never happened of course).

I was a little sad to here that after 37 years, "the hippest trip America" has come under new ownership. Although the show was never the same after Cornelius’s departure as host and I haven’t watched the show in years, I still feel like I have lost something from my youth.

It seems the franchise, has been sold to MadVision Entertainment, a a multimedia company specializing in branded urban content and production. The deal includes production rights to "Soul Train's" weekly series, including a catalog of more than 1,100 hours of archival footage. New episodes haven't been produced since 2006, but it's understood that MadVision may bring the show back sometime in the future.

"The 'Soul Train' legacy and brand are of the utmost importance to me and to 'Soul Train's' millions of fans," Cornelius told the Hollywood Reporter. "After years of offers, I feel the time is now finally right to pass the torch. The MadVision team understands and respects my vision."
Peter Griffith, who founded MadVision with Kenard Gibbs and Anthony Maddox, said the company also is eyeing new opportunities for "Soul Train" on DVD, broadband and video-on-demand. The goal, according to the new owners, is to preserve the show's legacy and expand the brand for the generations to come.

I don’t think it can ever be the same. Oh well, as Don would say "... and you can bet your last money, it's gonna be a stone gas, honey! I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!" I would like everyone to join me in bidding a fond farewell to the SOOOOUUUULLLL TRAIN!

Enjoy This Clip Featuring The Late Great Willie Hutch and Don Cornelius with his big Afro


Malcolm said...

At first I was disappointed to read that Don had sold the Soul Train franchise (kinda like how people felt when Motown moved from Detroit to L.A.).

However, it sounds like Don has placed Soul Train in good hands. For years, I have been saying that Soul Train should be released on DVD. It's cool to see the classic eps. on Saturday afternoons, but DVDs would allow us to do Soul Train marathons at our own leisure.

Did you hear that there is a Soul Train movie in the works? I read about it a couple of months ago and meant to bring it up to you. Here is the link to a blog post about the movie.

X. Dell said...

Did I just see people doing the Scorpio? Haven't seen that dance in years.

I would like to see some of the early clips, actually. I didn't care for the dancing, so much (anti social even then), but the artist interviews were always fascinating.

pjazzypar said...


It's about the nostalgia I guess because as I mentioned in my post I haven't seen a regular airing of the show since the 90's. Thanks for the link.

X. Dell,

Yep that was the Scorpio. Different strokes for different folks, because I watched it primarily for the dancing. Antisocial? X. you slay me (lol)!

Malcolm said...

Pjazzy: I quit watching Soul Train on a regular basis even before you, lol. I can't remember exactly when it stopped being relevant for me, but I was definitely through once Don stopped hosting. One thing I found interesting is that the show still managed to get major acts (such as Mariah Carey) to appear even towards the end. That's a testament to the cache that Don had in the music biz.

By the way, I see you updated your blogroll. I am really loving that feature which tells you what blogs have been updated.

pjazzypar said...

Hey Malcolm,

I finally made the time to update the blog. It's cool because it helps me keep up with my favorite blogs. While living in California I worked with a woman who boyfriend was an employee of Don. She said Don was pretty much out of the loop as far as that whole Soul Train thing goes.

Soul Train could still pull the creme de la creme of acts because of its history and artist respect for Don Cornelius. When the rap artist took over it was almost laughable as far I was concerned. I actually stopped watching before Don threw in the towel. In the lean times (when I didn't have cable) I watched because it was the only alternative I had.

Lori said...

Hey, another SOUL TRAIN fan here! I love the Saturday re-runs of the show, in part because it reminds me of the time I spent in Germany when I was in the 6th-8th grade. We had what was called, I believe, Armed Forces television, which was basically a limited selection of old programming on one channel. Even though the Soul Train episodes were old, they were still some of my favorites--'cause it was all I had (LOL).

I'd love to see the show on DVD, especially the SOUL TRAIN Line, not just for the dance moves, but the hair styles and the fashions. A SOUL TRAIN movie?! Sweet!

pjazzypar said...

Hey Lori,

I enjoy the old Soul Train episodes circa 1970 - 1978, when Little Joe Chisum, Damita Jo Freeman, Pat Davis, and Fawn Quinlen use to dance on the show. I also liked Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniels as partners. I remember when Soul Train use to have an annual dance contest and couple from all over the country would compete. It was a riot to see all the different dance styles under one roof.

Do you remember when Afro Sheen use to be one of the sponsors. What fun I had with the platforms, the happy leg slacks, and the fringed vest. Ahh, the good old days.

Lori said...

I remember Damita Jo. Also Jody and Jeffrey--they looked so cute together. You forgot about Rosie Perez--my hubby was one of her fans (smile).

My personal favorite was this tall, slender dark-skinned, mustache-wearing brother named Tyrone. I think his dance partner was a woman named Sharon. She went onto to marry one of the Whispers. The reason I know all of this--RIGHT ON! magazine, of course (LOL).

pjazzypar said...


It was Tyrone "The Bone" Proctor. He was from Philadelphia (LOL)! I knew them all at the time, but I am really dating myself, as are you (smile). By the time Rosie got there I had settled into adulthood and given up my dream of being the next big thing on "Soul Train". I kinda of stop watching when I started watching this dance show out of Detroit called "The Scene".

The dancing was way better than Soul Train in the early to mid 80's. You can catch some of the clips of The Scene on You Tube.

Malcolm said...

You are really bringing back some memories Pjazzy. It's been awhile since I thought of "The Scene" with Nat Morris. Although I wasn't a regular viewer, I occas. checked it out on channel 62. Thanks for mentioning that clips are on You Tube. After watching one of the clips, I did a Google search and found a site that has some photos/info on The Scene:

pjazzypar said...

Hey Malcolm,

I have been to that website and I actually emailed Nat about releasing some of the shows from the early 80's on DVD (I lost my VHS tapes of the show). Anyhow he wrote me back and told me that he might be releasing the show on video in the near future, but I never heard anything else. I use to come home early from the club just to pick up new dance moves from that show. If you recall it came on at 2:00 am on Sunday morning.

The Rock Chick said...

I can't say that I've ever used Afro Sheen described in your above post, but I loved Soul Train! Used to watch it every week.

The other dancing show I really liked was Solid Gold with Denny Terrio. Do you remember that one?

pjazzypar said...

Hey RC,

You're referring to "Dance Fever" with Danny Terrio. "Solid Gold" was the music show hosted first by Dionne Warwick and later by Marilyn McCoo from the Fifth Dimension. As for your question, I not only remember it, but I use to watch it :)

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