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Rock ' n ' Soul Audiovisual History Project Collection

Interviewer:
Daniel, Pete  Search this
McGovern, Charles  Search this
Meehan, John P.  Search this
Less, David  Search this
Sponsor:
National Museum of American History (U.S.)  Search this
Author:
Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum (Memphis, Tennessee)  Search this
Names:
Stax Records  Search this
Sun Records  Search this
Presley, Elvis, 1935-1977  Search this
Interviewee:
Anderson, Clara  Search this
Berger, Bettye  Search this
Blackwood, James, 1919-2002  Search this
Burlison, Paul  Search this
Dickinson, Jim, 1941-  Search this
Fontana, D.J., 1954-  Search this
Ford, Fred  Search this
Gist, Morse  Search this
Gordon, Willie  Search this
Jackson, Cordell, 1923-  Search this
Kesler, Stan  Search this
Lansky, Bernard  Search this
Manuel, Bobby, 1945-  Search this
Mitchell, Willie, 1928-  Search this
Moore, Scotty, 1931-  Search this
Nelson, Ford  Search this
Newborn, Calvin  Search this
Novarese, John, 1923-1996  Search this
Perkins, Carl  Search this
Phillips, Sam, 1923-  Search this
Porter, David, 1941-  Search this
Rich, Charlie, 1932-1995  Search this
Riley, Billy Lee, 1933-  Search this
Roll, Bobby  Search this
Sammons, George  Search this
Stewart, Jim  Search this
Talley, Bob  Search this
Thomas, Rufus, 1917-  Search this
Withers, Ernest  Search this
Yelvington, Malcolm, 1918-2001  Search this
Extent:
20 Cubic feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Video recordings
Interviews
Oral history
Audio cassettes
Transcripts
Audiovisual materials
Place:
Memphis (Tenn.)
Date:
1992 and 1999
Summary:
In 1990, curators at the National Museum of American History began a project to develop a traveling exhibition about American music, and in the course of research, curators repeatedly returned to the Mississippi Delta area and Memphis, Tennessee to conduct interviews. A group in Memphis organized to raise the funds to complete the research, to acquire objects and artifacts, and the project ultimately became the Smithsonian-affiliated Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, which opened in 2000 at 191 Beale Street.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of oral and video history interviews conducted by curators at the National Museum of American History with musicians, recording executives, disc jockeys, and others involved with the development of rock'n'soul music. Complete transcripts of all of the interviews exist.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in four series.

Series 1, Original Interviews

Series 2, Reference Copies

Subseries 1, Umatic Videos

Subseries 2, Reference DVDs

Series 3, Audio Cassettes

Series 4, Transcripts
Biographical / Historical:
In 1990, National Museum of American History curators Dr. Pete Daniel and Dr. Charles McGovern, began conducting research with the intention of creating a traveling exhibit about "American music." Their investigations led them to the Mississippi delta and ultimately to Memphis Tennessee, which had developed as a crossroads where people and musical traditions met beginning in the 1930s. Based on their discoveries they refined their scope in order to focus on the music that grew out of the traditions that met and mixed in Memphis. They weren't able to secure funding for the originally proposed exhibit, but instead partnered with the Memphis Rock'n'Soul Museum to develop the exhibit Rock'n'Soul: Social Crossroads. The museum and exhibit opened in 2000 and explores the influential musical form that has its roots in Memphis.

Much of the basic research for the exhibit as well as the production elements for the companion radio series, "Memphis: Cradle of Rock'n'Soul" came from oral and video history interviews conducted with musicians, record producers, radio disc jockeys and others involved with the development and popularization of rock'n'soul during 1992 and 1999. Daniel and McGovern partnered with John Meehan of Smithsonian Productions to create high-quality, informative interview tapes. The Rock'n'Soul Video History Collection is comprised of these unedited interviews.
Provenance:
Made at the National Museum of American History for the Smithsonian-affiliated Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum in 1992 and 1999.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment. Only refrence DVDs and digital reference copies in the Smithsonian Institution's Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) may be used.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Soul musicians  Search this
Soul music  Search this
Rockabilly music  Search this
Rock musicians  Search this
Rock music -- Interviews  Search this
Rock music  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings -- 1990-2000
Interviews -- 1990-2000
Oral history -- 1990-2000
Audio cassettes -- 1990-2000
Transcripts
Audiovisual materials
Citation:
Rock 'n' Soul Videohistory Collection, 1990-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0879
See more items in:
Rock ' n ' Soul Audiovisual History Project Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0879

Norman and Sally Coe Scopitone Film Collection

Donor:
Coe, Norman  Search this
Musician:
Alpert, Herb  Search this
Singer:
Anka, Paul  Search this
Bach, Vivi  Search this
Carr, Vikki  Search this
Damone, Vic  Search this
Eckstine, Billy  Search this
Ennis, Ethel  Search this
Greco, Buddy  Search this
Hallyday, Johnny, 1943 -  Search this
Lansing, Joi, 1934-1972  Search this
McNair, Barbara  Search this
Morgan, Jane, 1920 -  Search this
Rawls, Lou  Search this
Reese, Della  Search this
Reynolds, Debbie  Search this
Riley, Billy Lee, 1933-  Search this
Rydell, Bobby  Search this
Sedaka, Neil  Search this
Sinatra, Frank, Jr., 1944-  Search this
Starr, Kay  Search this
Vee, Bobby  Search this
Warwick, Dionne  Search this
Vocalist:
Darren, James  Search this
Gore, Lesley, 1946-  Search this
Composer:
Legrand, Michel, 1932 -  Search this
Extent:
141 film reels
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Film reels
Music
16mm motion picture film
Date:
circa 1962-1970
Summary:
Scopitones are three minute long 16mm films that were viewed on a Scopitone machine, a jukebox-like player. A precursor to music videos, Scopitones -- both the films and the machines -- were popular in the United States from around 1962 to 1968. The films featured sets, costumes, and dancers in support of well-known performers singing a single song. The collection includes Scopitone films from the United States and Europe.
Scope and Contents:
The collection comprises approximately one hundred and forty 16mm color composite magnetic track motion picture prints produced to be played on a Scopitone juke box. These films were produced in Europe and the United States.
Arrangement:
The collection is organized into one series. The order follows the original catalogue/distribution numbers.

Series 1, Original Films, 1962-1970
Biographical / Historical:
Referring to both the films and the machines that played them, a Scopitone is song-length film viewed on a juke-box like machine with a screen. Introduced in the late 1950s in France, and based on technology developed during World War Two, the Scopitone machine offered a selection of up to thirty-six titles. Patrons would insert coins (twnty-five cents per play in the United States), press the button for the film desired, and the film would appear on a small screen that formed the top of the machine. The Scopitone films were three minute-long 16mm composite magnetic track prints that featured performers singing popular songs of the time. Like their predecessor, Soundies, and paving the way for music videos, Scopitones included basic sets, costumes, and choreography. Scopitones were made in France, Great Britain, and Germany. Scopitones (both the machines and the films) were most popular in France. Consequently, a large number of the films are in French and star performers well-known in France. One of the major producers of American Scopitone films was Harman-ee Productions, a company owned by Debbie Reynolds. In the United States, Scopitone machines could be found in bars, restaurants, and lounges. Performers as varied as Debbie Reynolds, Neil Sedaka, and Ethel Ennis appeared in American Scopitones. In many of the films the stars sang the songs while surrounded by scantily-clad dancers. On occasion the production numbers told the "story" of the song. More often, the sets, dance moves, and costumes appeared superfluous. The "look" of the films reflected the times with choreography influenced by the Twist and other contemporary dances and clothing and hair-dos straight from a mid-1960s teen fashion magazine. Scopitones flourished in the United States for a very short period of time. First introduced around 1962, interest in producing and viewing Scopitones had ended by 1968. Most American machines and films were tossed in the trash. Collectors acquired the remaining machines and films. Scopitone films, once a mostly forgotten genre, are now easily viewed on Youtube, introducing this short-lived cultural phenomenon to new generations of viewers. The donor, Norman Coe, became involved with Scopitone as a business in 1964 when he purchased ten machines from the Scopitone division of Tel-A-Sign, Inc. of Chicago, Illinois. Coe placed his machines and the films in bars and restaurants around the Albany, New York area. He left the business in the late 1960s, selling all but one of his machines and several cartons of Scopitone films. He donated his remaining machine and films to the National Museum of American History in 2011.
Related Materials:
Materials in the National Museum of American History

The Division of Culture and the Arts acquired a Scopitone machine as part of the same donation. Accession #: 2011.0056
Provenance:
Scopitone machine and films donated by Norman and Sally Coe in 2011.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Genre/Form:
Music
16mm motion picture film
Citation:
[Title], Norman and Sally Coe Scopitone Film Collection, circa 1964-1970, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1230
See more items in:
Norman and Sally Coe Scopitone Film Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1230

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