Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace
Executive Producer Albert T. Primo
28 MIN / DOCUMENTARY / 1972 / USA
“Focusing on an institution located in Staten Island, NY, this film, with reporter, Geraldo Rivera, was one of the first exposes on local television. As a result of its airing on WABC-TV, the manner of treating people with disabilities was forever changed.
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.
Geraldo Rivera, the film’s correspondent, is quoted, “I can show you what it looked like and what it sounded like, but I can never show you how it smelled and the horrible conditions.”