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Recently (the same time as we found the Skipjack footage in fact), while clearing out the vault we came across a film can with the original elements (A-B rolls) from an
interview with Duke Ellington filmed in 1968 
on 16 mm film. 

BVI of Miami (Now Manhattan Transfer) graciously put the film up on their telecine machine for us to see if it had survived.  It has. 

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Duke Ellington ... Petersburg, Virginia 
Photographer: Me ... Bill Peterson

    It only aired once as far as we know, on the local public service station.  It's been way too long for me to have remembered what was said and we were not able to listen to the sound at this gratis video session, but ... this week we were able to get the sound track rough transferred at Continental Film Labs (Jan. 03, 2003) !  We should be able to post the transcript and maybe a couple of sound clips real soon. If you need to know more, sooner EMAIL me. 

Here's a sample: 

Question: You’ve kept together many of the members of your aggregation, Lawrence Brown, Harry Carney, Johnny Hodges, uh ...

Duke:  Cootie Williams

Question:  Cootie Williams, what’s the secret of your success?

Duke:  I have a gimmick.  

Question: What’s that?  

Duke: I give them the money and I get the kicks.  

I see.  


  It begins with a few keyboard shots, then it's Duke's interview and it ends with a few keyboard things. Some of the questions are: "Duke, rightly or wrongly many people tend to identify you with swing.  How do you feel about that identification?"  ... "What important changes have taken place in music since you began your career?" ... "Would it seem that the big band era is returning today? " ... "As an individual in the public eye, have you noticed any changes in race relations during your career?" ... "Do you feel that you and your fellow artists have contributed to these changes in any way? (Duke jumps to a response and talks over last of the question) ."  ... "Would you agree then that you’ve been way ahead of the public in terms of the music?" ... Those and the exchange above constitute most of the interview.  Short but interesting. 

It's about 5 1/2 minutes in length, and appears to be in reasonably good shape. So for the first time since the late 60's we know what Duke had to say ... cool. 

    Could this footage be worth saving?  If you think so, can you help raise funds to get this footage preserved?  It needs to be transferred to tape and the sound track, which is a separate 16 mm mag., transferred to digital and then synched back together with the film.  BVI still has the capability to transfer the sound on premises although the mag track technology is only a dim memory as a recording medium.  

   While we were in the session in the film transfer room I taped with my handy MiniDV cam off the monitor to give us an idea of what the footage would look like restored.  If you would like to see I've included a Gallery of the shots, just click on this link: DUKE SCREEN GRABS

So thanks to all that can help and those that already have.  Please contact us via EMAIL or give a call@ 954-764-2222

Bill Peterson
Colony Productions, Inc.