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'The Temptations'

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The unforgettable story of the most hot Motown act ever.

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By Julie D. Griffin

Hitsville U.S.A. 1958: A teenage boy, Otis Williams of Detroit without a lot of choices for a city guy. Factory worker or music. "I aint going to work on some assemblies line. That's for damn sure ~ I'm sorry. But I'm a singer now, and that's just the way it is." One day he thinks a boy from Otis Williams and The Siberians a lot of trouble at first. But like the other boy who chases him down tells him. "I don't want no trouble." He just wants him to join the singing group. An APB from W.C.H.B. brings the group from out of hiding and for a first surprise gig on a live radio show.

St. Stephens Community Center 1960: Otis Williams and The Distants, the original name for the Temptations. Diana Ross and The Supremes show up at the musical competition and look TheTemptations up and down. That's street talk for intimidation. Two of the members of the group shown confront Berry Gordy, founder of the Motown record label and of all places, according to the film make a deal for a recording in the men's bathroom. "Smokey better watch out." Smokey Robinson who shows up for the big night keeps close contact with the group through time, even shown singing at the funeral of Melvin Blue Franklin who passed away after a time as the eventual result of gunshot wounds when a man stole away with his car. In the late 50's and early 60's and the land of the aqua blue auto the guys survive a shallow agent who takes away a car earned by singing and all of the money too. All sheisters and hard earned bucks gone aside, the proud narrator of the film gladly brags at the shining year of 1961 that, "Now we had a group." The man who ends up as the main Temptation of the group, David Ruffin, speaks with a secretarial version of Martha Vandella. Wait A Minute Mr. Postman plays on the background speaker. They sing Mother of Mine, a song inspired by their mother for Mr Barry Gordy.

New Years began and the year the songbirds go fame after Ruffie and his fiery charisma join the group. The narrator said everything felt right for the first time. Just two years before and around 1963, Otis had felt like giving up. And now the charm of the group to make a woman feel like the only one as they sang bloomed full ~ As pretty as you are, you coulda been a flower. The way you do the things you do. But performance concert places south promised whites on one side and blacks on another, a confederate flag right down the middle. And as a more historical Cairo, one scene with two white hoosiers and a shotgun show the era of time here.

Summer 1964 brought marriage trouble to Otis, and yet New York City also offered the opportunity to record the new style of the group who now merged transition with the times with perfect sync. I've got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May. I guess you could say, what can make me feel this way...my girl." Hitsville U.S.A. and the Copacabana bring new hope to the group for all of this. By August 1967, the group begins singing Get Ready Cuz Here I Come with the blues fascination of the best of the Fox Theater. Amidst a lot of good white smoke and the enthusiasm of the band on the rise after Ruffin sadly found dead, the film portrays him as a man who seemed to hit a bottom with drug addiction and things just got worse. On a more positive note, the day of a performance artist wearing a sharp suit with complete color coordination, the group just sparkled. And as if costuming alone did not prove that black is beautiful, living on Cloud 9 and with a back home Detroit concert, and a surprise appearance by Ruffin, before he died, and he begged the band Please don't leave me sweet darling. He says he straightened out and asked for another chance. You aren't the same without me.

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