RARE VIDEO: Here are the opening minutes of the “Soul Alive” episode featuring Paterson Catholic High School and “Kool & the Gang”. We’ll have more from this and other episodes soon.
NEW YORK, NY (PIX11) — Saturday mornings on WPIX in the late 1970s meant tuning in to “Soul Alive” — 11 Alive’s very own version of “Soul Train,” which featured local high schools and dance competitions.
Hosted by radio DJ Gerry “Golden Voice” Bledsoe, “Soul Alive” started in 1978 and aired every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The show featured New York City’s specialized high school Bronx Science, Brooklyn’s John Dewey High School and many more during its two-year run on air. The show included special guests and their “Super Circle Boogie Machine,” where students showed their moves in the middle of the dance floor.
Episode 15 of the dance show starred Paterson Catholic Regional High School students. The school was located in New Jersey’s Passaic County and housed 770 students from 30 different nationalities. At the time, more than 300 students applied to the school for freshman admission.
Paterson Catholic High prided itself in their art program, which included silk screening and wood cutting. Their girls basketball team “The Cougars” also beat Passaic, Bergen and Morris counties, making them tri-county champs at the time of the show.
“Kool & the Gang” also made an appearance on episode 15 of “Soul Alive.” The group, who is also from New Jersey, performed Slick Superchick and had just released their album “The Force.”
Since the airing of the episode, Gerry Bledsoe died from a heart attack at age 51 on Sept. 27, 1994. Bledsoe was in his home in Detroit at the time of his death, reported the New York Times.
Paterson High School closed due to rising debt and plummeting donations, according to the Associated Press. Monsignor James Mahoney delivered the news in April 2010 and the school closed its doors at the end of the same school year. The school was best known for serving immigrants and students from poor families.
Kool & the Gang still performs hundreds of shows every year, according to their website. The group has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and have two Grammy awards, seven American Music Awards and several top hit songs and albums.
Were you on “Soul Alive?” WPIX wants to hear from you and maybe invite you to a “Soul Alive” reunion! Let us know in the comments or on Facebook, and send us any photos of you or your friends on “Soul Alive” by clicking the submit button below this article.