willowbrook_movie

Willowbrook: the Last Great Disgrace

Documentary
28 minutes
1972

Focusing on an institution located in Staten Island, N.Y., this film, with reporter Geraldo Rivera, was one of the first exposés on local television. As a result of its airing on WABC-TV, the manner in which people with disabilities were treated changed forever.

As the producers were putting the documentary together, they located a piece of film shot 10 years earlier of Robert F. Kennedy after he completed a tour of Willowbrook.

He said, “Willowbrook was a disgrace.” Despite Kennedy’s anger and compassion, nothing was done about it.

Albert T. Primo led the news team at WABC-TV that forever changed treatment for people with mental retardation with his Peabody Award-winning series with Rivera, “Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace.”

He also created the eyewitness news format, which revolutionized broadcast journalism. He has been on the leading edge of television developing regional news formats for cable television and building an independent production company that provides programming for networks, television stations and cable systems.

Film summaries courtesy of Sproutflix.