Adjust Your Color: The Truth Of Petey Greene (DVD)

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Format: DVD
Label: Virgil Films
Year: 2016

Media Condition: New
Sleeve/Cover Condition: New

Mixing gritty newsreel footage, present-day interviews and newly discovered archival tapes from the TV show Petey Greene’s Washington, ADJUST YOUR COLOR: The Truth of Petey Greene (narrated by Don Cheadle) captures the tumultuous era when America’s melting pot was bubbling over and media paradigms were shifting.

Born in 1931 and raised by his grandmother in the Washington, D.C. ghetto, young Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene, Jr. had numerous scrapes with the law.  After being discharged from the army for drug use, Greene was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 10 years at Lorton Reformatory.

While in prison, Petey was allowed to speak to his fellow inmates over the public address system. His fast-talking, animated delivery, infused with street jive, was a big hit with prisoners and guards alike—the latter found Petey so entertaining that they refused to let him be paroled, even though he was eligible.

Dewey Hughes, program director for Washington, D.C. radio station WOL-AM, heard Petey’s prison show while visiting his brother at Lorton Reformatory. After Petey’s release, Dewey rolled the dice by hiring the ex-convict, whose show Rapping with Petey Greene was an immediate hit.

The public access show, Petey Greene’s Washington, which began with Petey’s signature, “Adjust the color of your television,” soon followed and was picked up nationally by the fledgling Black Entertainment Television (BET), eventually garnering two Emmy Awards.

Petey Greene’s commitment to his Washington, D.C. roots ran deep. A moralizing activist who proselytized over the airwaves and in personal appearances, Petey rallied the community against poverty, racism and drug abuse.

From a man nearly destroyed by crime, drugs and poverty to an admired media icon and honored guest at Jimmy Carter’s White House, Petey defied labeling. Petey Greene was unique. His legacy lives on 25 years after his death in the outrageous banter of today’s shock jocks, who consciously or unconsciously emulate the man who lit up the Washington, D.C. airwaves for almost two decades.

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