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Black Chariot

Black Chariot(1971)

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According to reviews, "The Organization" depicted in the film was a Black Panther-like group. Although a Hollywood Reporter news item on December 9, 1971 reported that actress Gloria Delaney had been signed for the film, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Producer, director and writer Robert L. Goodwin (1927-1983), who had written episodes for a number of popular television series, such as Bonanza, had also acted in a few films and television programs prior to making Black Chariot, which was his last feature film. According to news items and reviews, Goodwin launched a production company in 1966 to produce films made by and for African-American audiences. Several feature articles in 1970 and 1971 detail Goodwin's financing of the production. According to a Los Angeles Times article, "95% of them [the film's owners] are black and many with investments of $50 or less." An additional $5,000 in financing was raised, according to statements made by Goodwin, from Blue Chip Stamps, a then popular grocery store premium. Goodwin explained in the Los Angeles Times article that backers were asked to give a minimum of five dollars or four books of Blue Chip Stamps [which, at the time, had a monetary face value of $1.20] to invest in the film.
       Other backers named by Goodwin were members of the Black Muslim community and several African-American entertainers, including Barbara McNair, Diahann Carroll, William Marshall and Madie Norman. The film's final production cost was stated as $125,000 in the Los Angeles Times article but $42,000 in the December 18, 1971 Los Angeles Times review of the film, which added that exteriors for the film, which was shot entirely in Los Angeles, were shot in 35mm, but interiors were shot on videotape.
       According to a June 25, 1971 Daily Variety article, at the film's premiere at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, pioneering black motion picture actors Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Clarence Muse and Mantan Moreland were to receive commemorative plaques of achievement. Following the July 2, 1971 Santa Monica premiere, the film's only other verified exhibition was in December 1971 at the Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles. The only ad located for the film displayed the tag lines "Will You Be a Witness?" and "The First Major Black Motion Picture." However, as pointed out in reviews, there had been many black films made prior to Black Chariot.
       Black Chariot was the first film of Barbara O. Jones and May have marked the first or only feature film appearance of Dennis Pryor. Although actor and former NFL football player Bernie Casey previously had appeared in several films and television programs, Black Chariot was his first starring role.