Submitted by: Marla Thompson & Written by: Marla Thompson

soul Train is an American musical variety television program, which aired in syndication from 1971 until 2006. In its 35 year history, the show primarily featured performances by R & B, soul, and hip hop artists, although funk, jazz, disco, and gospel artists have also appeared on the show. The series was created by Don Cornelius, who also served as its first host and executive producer.

Soul Train aired over 1,117 episodes. Their were several hostess after Don Cornelius  and they were a various guest who hosted from (1993- 1997), and then Mystro Clark hosted the show from ( 1997- 1999), Shemar Moore hosted the show from (1999 – 2006), and Dorian Gregory hosted the show from (2003 – 2006 ). Soul Train had a narrator and his or her name was Sid Mcoy. Soul Train aired for 45- 48 minutes on channel 9 WGN, The show aired its first episode of the program featuring Jerry Butler, The Chi- Lites, and the Emotions as guest on the show. Don Cornelius was assisted by Clinton Ghent, a local professional dancer who appeared on early episodes before moving behind the scenes as a producer and secondary host.

After securing a sponsorship deal with the Chicago- based retailer Sears Roebuck Co., Soul Train premiered on WCIU -TV on August 17, 1970, as a live show airing weekday and afternoons. Cornelius and Soul Train syndication targeted 24 markets outside of Chicago to carry the show, but stations in only seven other cities, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Huston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco purchased the program, which began airing on a weekly basis on October 2, 1971. By the end of the first season, Soul Train was on in the other seventeen markets. Though Don Cornelius moved his operations west, Soul Train continued in Chicago as a local program.

Cornelius hosted the local Chicago and Los Angeles- based national programs simultaneously, but soon focused his attention solely on the national edition. He continued to oversee production in Chicago, where Clinton Ghet hosted episodes on WCIU-TV until 1976, followed by three years of once-weekly reruns. In May 2008, Cornelius sold the rights to the Soul Train libarary to MadVision Entertainment, whose principal partners came from the entertainment and publishing fields. Soul Train’s website acknowledged that the program had ceased distribution on September 22, 2008.

In April 2009, MadVision launched a Soul Train channel on YouTube. Three months later, the company entered into a licensing agreement with Time- Life to distrubute Soul Train DVD sets. MadVision then came to terms with Viacom- owned Black Entertainment Television to relaunch the Soul Train Music Awards fro BET’s new spin- off channel, Centric, in November 2009. a move that may be one step into reviving the program. Archived episodes of the series can also be seen on Bounce TV, and Atlanta-based television network that launched on September 26, 2011.

MadVision sold the rights to Soul Train to a consortium led by basketball player Earvin ” Magic ” Johnson in 2011. Cornelius contunued to apperar for Soul Train documentaries and ceremonies up until his death in February 2012. In 2013, a cruise-based revival, called the Soul Train Cruise, began taking place; the cruise is presented by Centric. The first game to ever hit  “Soul Train was the Scramble Board, ” where two dancers are given 60 seconds to unscramble a set of letters that form the name of that show’s performer or a notable person in African American history.

There was also popular ” Soul Train Line.” in which all the dancers form two lines with a space in the middle for dancers to strut down and dance in consecutive order. Originally, this consisted of a couple– with men on one side and women on the other. In addition, there was an in- studio group of dancers who danced along to the music as it was being performed. Rosie Perez, Damita Jo Freeman, Damita Jo Freeman, Darnell Williams, Carmen Electra, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Jermaine Stewart, Fred ” Rerun ” Berry, Laurieann Gibson, Pebbles, and NFL legend Walter Payton were among those who got noticed dancing on the program over the years. This was a little something that I wanted to share with ccnewsmedia readers. All I want to say is Love, Peace and Soul.



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