CBS--Lily and Cleaver Tapes

1971 | 00:23:36 | United States | English | B&W | Mono

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Activism, African-American, Documentation, Film or Videomaking, History, Politics, Television

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The Videofreex had several experiences with the Black Panther Party, including interviewing Illinois Chapter Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton and New Haven Minister of Information Cappy Pinderhughes. In this tape, recorded on March 5th 1971, the Videofreex one-person camera crew Bart Friedman is walking the hallways of CBS, trying to find out where a video statement by Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver is located. The shots are mostly close up on people’s torsos and there is some image loss, but the sound is intact. The tape has an eerie espionage feel. There is a conflict between station personnel and Bart: they keep telling him, “You can’t tape in here.” He carries on taping. Bart talks to a woman with a French accent, identified in the tape only as "Lily" who brought the videotape reel from Algiers where Cleaver was in exile. Meanwhile a long segment from the tape was broadcast as the lead story on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. There is distinct irony of the Freex in production in the belly of the beast after their infamous CBS pilot. Soon after the Freex screened the Cleaver tape at Panther meetings in Harlem and New Haven.