Newly restored video of Martha and the Vandellas at Ford plant

Newly restored video of Martha and the Vandellas at Ford plant
Brian McCollum
| Detroit Free Press


It’s one of many quintessential items of Detroit footage from the 1960s — a younger, exuberant Martha and the Vandellas singing Motown inside an auto manufacturing unit.

The group’s “Nowhere to Run” video was taped because the kickoff phase for a nationwide CBS present in June 1965 referred to as “It’s What’s Happening Baby,” hosted by New York disc jockey Murray the Ok.

Till now, the video hasn’t aired in its entirety since that evening in summer time ’65.

“For Ford, it was kind of a pocket endorsement for the Mustang, which was new at the time,” mentioned Peter Altschuler, son of the late radio persona. “They mentioned, ‘Positive, you may movie in right here, however provided that you are selling the automobile.'”

The “Nowhere to Run” clip was not too long ago remastered for the primary time, a part of a meticulous restoration of the CBS present’s unique low-band videotape.

The whole restored “It is What’s Occurring Child” program will air at 7 p.m. Saturday on Detroit Public Tv and PBS stations throughout the nation.

ExtraMotown, Detroit star in TV particular airing for first time in 56 years

Shot inside Dearborn Meeting, now often called the Rouge advanced, “Nowhere to Run” options Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford and Betty Kelly miming the recorded observe as they romp amongst Mustangs in manufacturing.

At one level, in a transfer that may draw stern appears from right now’s security officers, the women climb into an unfinished Mustang and roll down the road.

Reeves says she was “half asleep” on the best way to the early morning video shoot, however she has vivid, pleased reminiscences of her frolic by means of the Ford plant.

The upbeat spirit wasn’t precisely reciprocated by each employee there.

“We didn’t complain — we simply acquired cursed at lots by the fellows engaged on the road. And I imply cursed,” Reeves says. “It wasn’t, ‘There go the Motown artists! Hello, ladies, pleased morning!’ It wasn’t something like that, honey. They had been pondering: ‘This work is difficult sufficient. Now we have to place up with these ladies working round in right here?'”

Nonetheless, Reeves and her group mates “had been on a mission” that day, she says, delighted to crew up with a DJ who was an enormous supporter of their music.

And he or she is aware of that diploma of entry to a bustling auto plant was a uncommon alternative.

“That was a monumental second. They will by no means let anyone else do this once more,” Reeves says. “I’m eternally grateful to the Fords for that have.”

“Nowhere to Run” was considered one of a number of Motown movies shot in Detroit for the Murray the Ok particular, together with scenes at Greenfield Village and musical segments with the Supremes, the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells and the 4 Tops.

They’re all fascinating glimpses of younger Detroit artists of their prime. However the Martha and the Vandellas video is high of the lot: With its distinctive setting — sizzling music on an meeting line — it’s virtually a Motown metaphor come to life.

Contact Detroit Free Press music author Brian McCollum: 313-223-4450 or

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