E. Morris/Wal-Mart HD doc “Buffalo Soldiers” on historic black Army unit to air over TV One

Wal-Mart’s first documentary made in honor of Black History month?”The Invisible Men of Honor: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers”?will air exclusively throughout the year on TV One.

“Buffalo Soldiers” was commissioned by E. Morris Communications and long-time client Wal-Mart and produced and directed by Jim White of Post Effects.

The 44-minute doc, produced in HD for a budget around $160,000, premiered in Houston last month at the National Buffalo Soldiers’ Museum, to which Wal-Mart made a substantial contribution.

“Buffalo Soldiers” is about a segregated Army unit that was formed after the Civil War in 1866 and existed until 1951 when the Korean War led to the integration of the U.S. Armed Forces. The name comes from a skirmish the black Army unit with Indians.

Said White: “We wanted to put a positive spin on the story and show the Soldiers’ heroism and valor throughout the years. They protected the railroads; they were the first border patrol; the first Park Forest rangers and also the Special Forces of their days. The only combat-ready troops were the Buffalo Soldiers.”

Legend has it, said White, that the Soldiers had a skirmish with the Cheyenne, who had never seen black men before. The Indians said they “fought with the tenacity of buffalo soldiers,” and the name was firmly attached.

“Soldiers'” opening animated montage of reenactors and archival images

White developed and researched the story and co-wrote it with E. Morris’ VP/ACD Kay Humphries. For reenactment, White discovered VisionQuest of Arizona, a program run by Bob Burton, that offers juveniles an alternative to incarceration. “They had kids the right age for our young soldiers, as well as horses and western scenery,” White noted.

A segment driving the whole theme were four World War II and Korean veterans who were interviewed on HD, said White. Included also were stills and archival footage.

Executive producers who created the project for Wal-Mart were E. Morris’ Kay Humphries and Al Hawkins, the agency’s director of commercials. Hawkins has directed Wal-Mart commercials for years through Directors Corner, the company he has with David Oakes. Barb Steiglitz was line producer.

For Post Effects, Alaric Martin edited; Rich Dziagwa created the graphics; music by Mike Salvatori and Fred Nelson.

Former Ch. 2 general manager and Discovery Channel executive Jonathan Rogers heads TV One. The network recently affiliated with Direct TV.

E. Morris’ phone is 312;943-2900; Post Effects, 312/944-1690.