Film: "Newark It's My Home" Interviews and Footage
2 boxes, 1 folder, and 11 film reels "It's My Home," is a full-length documentary film on life in Newark as seen through the eyes of three families, one black from the South Ward, one white from the North Ward, and one Portuguese from the Ironbound section. The documentary was created by Gordon Bishop and Saul Taffet. Bishop, a graduate of Rutgers University-Newark (1967) and a journalist, began his career as a theater and movie critic for the North Jersey News (1960-1968), and later became a feature writer and columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger (1969-1996). Saul Taffet, a Newark native who grew up in the Weequahic section of the city, was an independent filmmaker and a film instructor at New York University's School of Continuing Education. "It's My Home" grew out of a class that Bishop took with Taffet in the late 1970s. Bishop wrote, produced, and narrated the film; Taffet directed and edited it. The documentary was broadcast on PBS during the winter of 1980-1981. From March through September of 1980, the five-member crew shot interviews and background footage throughout Newark. Along with members of the three featured families, prominent individuals interviewed for the film included Mayor Kenneth Gibson, Congressman Peter Rodino, N.J. State Senator Wynona Lipman, U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, Archbishop Peter L. Gerety; Executive Superintendent of Schools Alonzo Kittrels, Prudential Chairman Robert Beck, Newark Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rudolph Novotny, funeral director and founder of City National Bank (Newark's first African-American bank) Charles Whigham, and the first Director of the Urban League of Essex County William M. Ashby. Informal interviews with laborers, welfare recipients, city workers, and other individuals regarding food stamps, unemployment, etc. were also included in the documentary. Locations where filming occurred included, among others, Beth Israel Medical Center (Dr. Victor Parsonnet performing open heart surgery); churches: Eden Baptist Church (the Rev. John Shorter), and Our Lady of Good Counsel (the Rev. Tom Smith); schools: St. Benedict's, So. 17th Street School, St. Columba's School, and Vailsburg High School; parks: Weequahic and Lincoln; City Hall; Prudential offices; the North Ward Cultural Center; unemployment offices; a drug rehabilitation center; a corrections center; and street scenes.
The library has no equipment to play many of the items. Some files have been digitized but not made public. The completed film has been digitized and is public.
- Bishop, Gordon, 1938- (Author, Person)
The collection consists of two boxes containing 58 individually dated and labeled audiotapes; 1 loose folder of camera reports; and 11 15" reels of 35mm color film labeled "dailies." The contents of the two boxes of audiotapes are as follows: First Box: 35 "sync tapes," including interviews with the Freeman family (Willie) of 28 Stuyvesant Avenue, the Pye Family (Robert, Tom, and Elizabeth), Kenneth Gibson, Wynona Lipman, William Ashby, Archbishop Gerety, Peter Rodino, the Lang-Perry Family (Jolla Lang, and Patricia and Cleveland Perry), Joseph and Elsie Liu, the Ferreirinha (sic) family, and Manuel and Vic De Luca; 6 reels labeled "Pilot" (August 13, 1980); 5 reels, including "Last Survivor" interview with a widower living in an abandoned house, Weequahic Park "Wild Sound," Newark Airport and Port Newark, police car and interview with police, and Bill Bradley Second Box: 12 reels, including Alonzo Kittrels (2), Kenneth Gibson (3), Bill Bradley (1), Wynona Lipman (3), Peter Rodino (2), and "July Fest at Lincoln Park" (1) One folder of completed camera report forms includes information on the scene, crew, footage, film type, and remarks that may include the names of the individuals filmed or descriptions of shots. 11 reels of 35 mm color film, labeled "dailies" are stored offsite. NOTE: Original audiotapes and film footage cannot be played or screened; consult staff for information on arranging for transfer to CD or DVD. No copy of the completed version of the film has been located at the Library.