The 1973 Save The Children Benefit Concert

The 1973 Save The Children Benefit Concert


Save the Children [aka Brothers and Sisters in Concert] (1973) - Made originally as a documentary film based on the 1972 PUSH Expo theme. The 123-minute version goes into depth on the theme of black self-determination; contains footage of Reverend Jesse Jackson and Black Expo; shorter version places emphasis on the various artists' performances.



Stan Lathan, who was already a veteran of directing multiple camera variety shows on network television in the early '70s, approached his landmark concert film, Save the Children, with the precision of a military campaign.

"Operation Push, which was a Jesse Jackson organization, was giving a huge exposition in Chicago in 1972 to encourage black-owned businesses," Lathan recalled. "It was always planned to have this gathering of black talent, and myself and a few other people including Quincy Jones and Matt Robbins, got together about six months before and came up with the idea of doing this film to help support the Black Expo. We raised $750,000 from the Ford Foundation as a grant and put it together."

At the time of Save the Children, Lathan was a director on Sesame Street and had done both dance and music specials for PBS, as well as multi-camera musical variety shows. "The big challenge for me was that we were shooting on film," Lathan noted, "and we were in this massive convention center with terrible acoustics. We used eight cameras, all shooting 16mm film, and I devised an elaborate com­munications setup with each camera. I took a bird's-eye position and directed as if it were a live TV show. The difference, of course, is that I had no video feed, so I tried to keep the coverage varied from camera-to-camera, and keep track of who was shooting what."

Lathan said that despite the technical challenges involved, shooting in the days before video assist, his team had the advantage of shooting for three days straight.

"We shot 28 groups," Lathan explained. "Everybody from Marvin Gaye to Gladys Knight and the Pips, to the Jackson 5, to the Rev. James Cleveland and a 100-boy choir. We spent a lot of time before the event with a chalkboard discussing camera coverage the way you'd talk about defenses for a football game. We knew which groups were going to be moving around a lot — Gladys Knight and the Pips were known for their dancing for example — so the key was to make sure each camera had assignments beforehand. What happens if you don't give assignments in a multiple camera concert shoot is that five cameras will shoot the same guy because he's the most interesting one on the stage at the time."

"Most of the cameramen I used for Save the Children were documentary filmmakers who were comfortable with just roving around and getting the stories beyond the music," he recalled. "I remember going to see Gimme Shelter and recognizing the advantage those filmmakers had because they essentially lived with the Rolling Stones and could come back with very personal stories. If there's anything that would distinguish a musical documentary it's the relationship between the audience and the artist and what's really going on inside the artist's head. With things like MTV, MP3, DVD, etc., we can already deliver musical recordings at a very high level. So, today's documentary filmmaker should bridge the gap between the artist's life and the music. I think you have to do that to stand apart."
Posted by SoleMannKing
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  1. play Rev. Jesse Jackson & Matt Robinson — D…
  2. play Marvin Gaye — Save The Children
  3. play The Temptations — Papa Was A Rolling S…
  4. play The Main Ingredient — Everybody Plays …
  5. play The O'Jays — Sunshine
  6. play Zulema — This Child Of Mine
  7. play Cannonball Adderley — Country Preacher
  8. play Rev. James Cleveland & The Push Expo Choir — …
  9. play Bill Withers — Lean On Me
  10. play Marvin Gaye — What's Happening Brother
  11. play Curtis Mayfield — Give Me Your Love
  12. play Sammy Davis Jr. — I've Gotta Be Me
  13. play Roberta Flack & Quincy Jones — On A Cl…
  14. play Gladys Knight & The Pips — I Heard It …
  15. play Jerry Butler & Brenda Lee Eager — (The…
  16. play Ramsey Lewis Trio — People Make The Wo…
  17. play Nancy Wilson — The Greatest Performanc…
  18. play The Jackson 5 — I Wanna Be Where You A…
  19. play Marvin Gaye — What's Going On
  20. play Jackie Verdell & The Push Expo Choir — …
KnightD12 Comment by KnightD12
Stan Lathan did a good job capturing and editing this concert. Great sound too.
SoleMannKing Comment by SoleMannKing
I fell in love with the scenes in the marvin gaye, bill withers, and isaac hayes videos...Those neighborhood and ghetto scenes were awesome
Edie2k2 Comment by Edie2k2 
This is a masterpiece blog!!!!!!!!!! So nostalgic!!!! *Bravo* 

Save The Children (1973)

Blaxploitation Pride!

This post is why Blaxploitation Pride exists. We know the genre is a lost one. It's revered but was not preserved. Pride is a necessity but in excess quickly becomes a sin. Pride is an element of cultural identity that has been washed away in today's world. One can never receive enough excessive imagery of Black pride if you love what you see and hear on BP. Of course, the history was rich well before the 70's, truth be told.

I learned plenty from filmmaker Jamaa Fanaka regarding the power of moving pictures and Save The Children is the prototypical example of that power. All of the enthusiasts and loyalists of the genre ask "What about Save The Children? Does that exist? Has anyone seen it?" I say that's a 'double entendre', I, too, wonder if it exists and I also ask is there an actual interest to literally "Save The Children"?

From a documentary to an actuality, this post can be metaphor for those priceless lost tapes, uncovered footage, pride, the power of film to the question of whether or not does anybody care to "save" anything be it "blaxploitation", children, or simply making quality film with dignity, meaning and that which is revolutionary in scope.

Save The Children does exist as a tangible treasure for our viewing pleasure but is non-existent in the sense the world may not bear witness to that power ever. It may be a DVD rip of a VHS rip but even still, it's a historical artifact. Stan Lathan, director of this documentary, speaks about in his experience in an interview here What's interesting is there is no talk of where the film is today or if there is a possibility of a DVD release.

Classics like The Mack, When We Were Kings, Wattstax, Soul Power and Black Rodeo were directed by Michael Campus, Leon Gast, Mel Stuart, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Jeff Kanew respectively. These white men all speak on their commentaries and interviews of how either it was hell to get the film made, hell to get it released in the theater, and some years later, hell to retain the film and transfer it to DVD. They saved their children, regardless.

As beautiful and as powerful as these productions are, the necessity to present these experiences to next generations was made possible by men not even from the culture. Save The Children is not talked about as being released anytime soon, if at all.

Stan Lathan formed a media group with one of the richest Black men in the world, Russell Simmons and through HBO the successful Def franchise was born. Save The Children remains stillborn. Def Comedy versus a Def Tragedy. Brother Self-Science, Funkback, the BP familyhood and I see how imperative it is not only to "Save" that which is not left to be saved, but to preserve the antiquity and edify these "children" into adulthood so they can pass on the preciousness to generations beyond.

By the way, wait 'til you see this pretty baby........

Review to Save The Children soundtrack

Review from
The "Save The Children" double live album contains great live recordings from fabulous names like Marvin Gaye, the Staple Singers, the Temptations, the Chi Lites, the Main Ingredient, the O'Jays, Isaac Hayes, Zulema, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Cannonball Adderly Quintet, the Push Mass Choir, Albertina Walker, Loretta Oliver, the Rev. James Cleveland, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, Sammy Davis Jr., Roberta Flack, Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jerry Butler, Brenda Lee Eager, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Nancy Wilson, the Jackson Five, Jackie Verdell and Dick Gregory. Everything based of course on the documentary "Save The Children" which chronicles all the above artists that appeared during Jesse Jackon's Operation PUSH exposition held in 1972 in Chicago. Since I don't know too much about the "Save The Children" documentary, I can't give you any more information about it to be honest, but the most important thing of course, as always, is the music. The one thing I thought was interesting though, is that bits and pieces of Rev. Jesse Jackson's speeches on this gem are also to be found on the WattStax albums from the same period.


A1-a Rev. Jesse Jackson Dialogue
A1-b Matt Robinson Narration
A2 Marvin Gaye Save The Children
A3 The Temptations Papa Was A Rolling Stone
A4 Main Ingredient Everybody Plays The Fool
A5 The O'Jays Sunshine
A6 Zulema This Child Of Mine
B1 Cannonball Adderley Country Preacher
B2 Rev. James Cleveland & The Push Expo Choir Sermon - Praise Him With A Stringed Instrument
B3 Bill Withers Lean On Me
B4 Marvin Gaye What's Happening Brother
B5 Curtis Mayfield Give Me Your Love
C1 Sammy Davis Jr. I've Gotta Be Me
C2 Roberta Flack On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
C3 Quincy Jones Killer Joe
C4 Gladys Knight And The Pips I Heard It Through The Grape Vine
C5 Jerry Butler & Brenda Lee Eager (They Long To Be) Close To You
D1 The Ramsey Lewis Trio People Make The World Go Round
D2 Nancy Wilson The Greatest Performance Of My Life
D3 The Jackson 5 I Wanna Be Where You Are
D4 Marvin Gaye What's Going On
D5 Rev. Jesse Jackson Dialogue
D6 Jackie Verdell & The Push Expo Choir I'm Too Close To Heaven To Turn Around

Provided by Smooth at My Jazz World

Note: The credits online list STC as a 123 minute documentary. This is a tad under one hour consisting mainly of the musical performances.

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