Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — A new and unique resource for scholars of 20th century American Studies, Black Studies and early nuclear weapons cinema, the “Charles Lampkin Presents” videos are available at www.charleslampkin.org as well as TheHpubTube channel on YouTube.
Charles Lampkin was a professor of Music and Theatre Arts at Santa Clara University, San Jose, California, from 1969 to 1981. The videos feature the Charles Lampkin recordings of Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Frank Marshall Davis and other voices from the Harlem Renaissance. Written and directed by Daniel Bruno, the videos incorporate later 20th century jazz and soul recordings supportive of the themes developed by professor Lampkin.
The Last 5ive People on Earth, based on Daniel Bruno’s 2009 essay “Bad Dreams from My Grandfather”, is a cinematic review and historical look at pioneering director Arch Oboler’s 5ive, the very first Hollywood film to deal with nuclear annihilation.
Narrated by Daniel Bruno and rich in world events and music from the 1930s and 40s, this two hour odyssey through the seminal events of the mid 20th century, the atomic bombings of Japan and Charles Lampkin’s movie role as the last Black man in America is unlike any other media production. Charles Lampkin performs The Creation, by James Weldon Johnson and the mellifluous bass of Paul Robeson lends additional gravitas to the story. After touching on timeless themes of good, evil and the end of days, the video ends in Osaka, Japan, in 2009, with the 10,000 strong Osaka chorale singing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy following Paul Robeson’s 1940s rendition of the same in the German language.
The Charles Lampkin videos, based on audio recordings from 1957, are a superb introduction to the American scene and Black intellectual life in the early 20th century.
The historic 1951 movie 5ive, written and directed by Jewish playwright Arch Oboler, is the first movie about nuclear holocaust and the first commercial movie to feature a Black actor in a dramatic role that did not require buffoonery, delinquency, singing or dancing.
For further information, please visit www.charleslampkin.org