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Celebrating 50 years of 'Superfly'

Carla Eckels
David Parks

David Parks reflects on Superfly's landmark soundtrack.

It's been 50 years since the movie Superfly opened in theaters across the country. The blaxploitation crime drama is also known for its soundtrack by soul musician Curtis Mayfield.

The soundtrack alone generated nearly $5 million and was one of the first film soundtracks to earn such a sizable profit. Superfly was partially financed by famed photographer and native Kansan, Gordon Parks.

His oldest son, Gordon Parks, Jr., directed the movie and his youngest son, David Parks, also worked on the film. KMUW's Carla Eckels spoke to David Parks who shares insight about the 1972 movie soundtrack.

Parks on Curtis Mayfield's working process for Superfly

"He brought the script when he was over [in Germany]. And by the time he got back to New York, he had already had three-quarters of the words and the music already done. I mean, he was a genius. I mean, he was really great."

Parks on seeing Superfly's iconic opening

"...sitting there listening to the music and then all of a sudden that logo came out — Superfly — and everybody went crazy ... and then you knew we had it."

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.