A fact about the Rhythm Club fire story that only a handful of people know is that there is actual film footage from the scene in 1940. Word about the fire travelled quickly that night. Within a few hours, an African American film company in New Orleans got wind about the tragedy and sent a crew to Natchez.
They arrived at the scene before dawn and started rolling film. The footage that they captured was used in a Newsreel and shown at several movie theatres. In 1940, television was still a luxury that escaped most Americans. For this reason, most news was received either through the newspaper or through the Newsreel before a movie.
In the process of making this film, I did search for the lost Newsreel. Unfortunately, what little funds I had were exhausted so the search ended. The company that filmed the event was out of business by 1952. The whereabouts of the Newsreel and or other footage that was recorded on that fateful night are unknown. There is a good chance that film still exists because Newsreels were protected were not likely discarded. Maybe one day in the future I will resume the search for the lost footage.
Fact #1 – Did the building burn down?
Fact #2 – Who ran the club on the night of the fire?
Fact #3 – What band was originally booked to play that night?
Fact #4 – How many people were there that night?
Fact #5 – Is there actual film footage of the fire?