Media

Entries - Entry Category: Media - Starting with G

Gardner, Virginia

Virginia Gardner was a journalist and left-wing activist. At one time a member of the Communist Party, she was also the author of a well-received biography of Louise Bryant, the wife of Russian Revolution chronicler John Reed. Although born in Oklahoma, Gardner spent most of her youth in Arkansas. Virginia Gardner was born on June 27, 1904, in Sallisaw, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). She was the youngest of three daughters born to Gertrude Boltswood Gardner and John Gardner, who was a banker. The family moved to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) when she was two. That same year, her father contracted tuberculosis. He was taken to Colorado for treatment, and he sometimes returned there in the summers. Gardner’s mother died when …

Gent v. Arkansas

Gent v. Arkansas was a U.S. Supreme Court case in which an Arkansas law designed to eliminate the distribution of obscene material was challenged. Though it did not touch directly upon the limits of the state’s ability to control obscenity, it did reinforce legal opinion that standards for obscenity must be those applied by the U.S. Supreme Court rather than local standards. In 1961, the Arkansas legislature passed Act 261, which, among other things, purported to eliminate obscene material, which was defined by the current community standards applied by the average person. The legislature based the wording of Act 261 on a model act drafted by the Council for Periodical Distributors Associations (CPDA) designed to give public prosecutors the authority …

Gerard, Gil

Actor/producer Gil Gerard is best known for his role of Buck Rogers in the 1979 movie Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and the spin-off television series that followed. He was raised in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and attended Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in Faulkner County), where he pursued a career in chemistry. Gil Gerard was born on January 23, 1943, in Little Rock, the youngest of three sons. He gave up a promising business career as an industrial chemist to pursue his dream of acting, leaving at the age of twenty-six for New York, where he attended the American Music and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) for two semesters. To make ends meet …

Ghostley, Alice Margaret

Alice Ghostley was a film, stage, and television actress who was often described as looking “sweetly befuddled.” She most often played comedic roles, though she won Broadway’s Tony Award as best featured actress for her serious portrayal in the 1964 drama The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. Ghostley’s distinctive face and quavering voice became known to millions for her comedic performance as a good witch/housekeeper in the television sitcom Bewitched in the 1960s and 1970s. From 1986 to 1993, she won new fans for her performance as eccentric family friend Bernice Clifton in the television series Designing Women, created by Arkansan Harry Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. Alice Margaret Ghostley was born in Eve, Missouri, on August 14, 1923, …

Gillis, Ann

aka: Alma Mabel Conner
Ann Gillis was a child actress and ingénue in thirty-nine Hollywood movies from 1934 to 1947. She played small parts in two perennially famous films—Walt Disney’s Bambi (1942) and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Ann Gillis was born Alma Mabel Conner in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 12, 1927, to Mabel Brandon Conner. She later recalled: “My mother was one of those ladies who kept getting married. I guess one might say she was a femme fatale.” Mabel Conner left two husbands, including Alma’s father. The family often consisted only of Mabel, Alma, and Alma’s brother Brandon. Alma’s first show business experiences were in school plays in New Rochelle, New York, and her mother was eager to …

God’s Not Dead 2

God’s Not Dead 2 is a 2016 Christian-themed movie starring Melissa Joan Hart and directed by Harold Cronk. Filmed in central Arkansas, the movie is a sequel to the 2014 film God’s Not Dead and centers upon Grace Wesley (played by Hart), a high school history teacher who encounters legal trouble for incorporating words from Christian scripture in a classroom lesson. During a lesson about civil rights figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, student Brooke Thawley (played by Hayley Orrantia), in her history class at the fictional Martin Luther King Jr. High School, asks teacher Wesley about the religious origins of King’s commitment to non-violence. Wesley’s answer incorporates a few lines of Christian scripture, specifically Jesus’s …

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness (2018) marked the third installment in a popular franchise of Evangelical Christian–themed movies by production company Pure Flix. Like its predecessor, God’s Not Dead 2, it was filmed in central Arkansas and features several prominent landmarks. The movie was released nationally on March 30, 2018. Set in the fictional Hope Springs, Arkansas, God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness opens where the previous movie left off—with Pastor Dave Hill (played by David A. R. White, who also produces) in jail for refusing a subpoena for the text of his sermons. After he is bailed out by his co-pastor, Reverend Jude (Benjamin A. Onyango), he finds that his church, St. James, has become a …

Goff, “Tuffy”

aka: Findley Norris Goff
Findley Norris Goff and his partner, Chet Lauck, created Lum and Abner, a radio program based on the people of Pine Ridge (Montgomery County). It was one of the longest running and most popular programs ever on radio, heard daily across the country from 1931 to 1955 and broadcast on Armed Forces Radio during World War II. The Pine Ridge partners also successfully transferred their Lum and Abner characters to movies. Norris Goff was born on May 30, 1906, to Rome and Dora Goff in Cove (Polk County). The family moved to Mena (Polk County) by 1911, where Rome Goff expanded his wholesale general merchandise warehouse business that served stores in several surrounding counties. Another prominent Mena family was the …

Gospel of Eureka, The [Movie]

The independent documentary The Gospel of Eureka (2018), directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher, attracted acclaim for its mix of natural beauty and genial small-town tolerance. The portrait of Eureka Springs (Carroll County) focuses on the Great Passion Play, the Eureka Live Underground gay bar, and the relaxed attitudes of the organizers and patrons of both those local attractions. The filmmakers cleverly cut back and forth between two groups of enthusiastic local amateur performers: those working on the Passion Play and those appearing in the drag queen extravaganzas at the bar. Bar owners Lee Keating and Walter Burrell (a couple for thirty-one years, until Keating’s death in 2017) and Kent Butler, marketing director and star of the Passion Play …

Gracen, Elizabeth Ward

aka: Grace Elizabeth Ward
Grace Elizabeth Ward was the 1981 Miss Arkansas and 1982 Miss America. When she began her acting career in 1987, she changed her name to “Elizabeth Ward Gracen,” because another Elizabeth Ward was already in the Screen Actors Guild. In 1992, she became the first former Miss America to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine and in a nude pictorial feature. Grace Elizabeth Ward was born on April 3, 1961, in Ozark (Franklin County) to Jimmy and Patricia Ward. Ward’s father was a supervisor at various poultry factories. Her mother was a registered nurse. She has a younger brother, Van Thomas Ward, and younger sister, Mary Margaret Ward. Ward graduated from Russellville High School in Russellville (Pope County) in …

Graham, Fred

Journalist Fred Graham was the dean of television news Supreme Court reporting in the 1970s and into the 1980s. Building upon his tenure as the U.S. Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, and as law correspondent for CBS News, Graham pioneered television coverage of the nation’s highest court. Later, he became involved in the launch of cable television’s Court TV, where he continued to report and offer analysis of the American legal system and legal issues in the United States. Fred Graham was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on October 6, 1931, to Otis and Lois Graham. His family included an older sister and two younger brothers. He received his early education in Texarkana (Miller County) before …

Graham, William Karr (Bill)

William Karr (Bill) Graham is best known as the longtime editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette. He also published a book of cartoons and had his work exhibited in the United States and abroad. Bill Graham was born on December 14, 1920, in Coshocton, Ohio, the only child of Lorenzo Karr Graham and Zola Jean McGinnis Graham. He received a BS in social science from Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1942, studying history and economics. He had no formal artistic training but was influenced by reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, the Philadelphia Record, and the Sunday edition of the New York Times. He liked the cartoons in the Record and the reprints of editorial cartoons from …

Grapevine

The Grapevine, published from 1970 to 1993, was a weekly newspaper based in Fayetteville (Washington County). It began as an off-campus University of Arkansas (UA) student publication and evolved into an alternative news source for the broader northwestern Arkansas community, with a focus on Fayetteville arts and culture, student life, and progressive politics. The paper officially began as a weekly published off campus by the Arkansas Student Free Press Association, beginning on March 18, 1970, although longtime Grapevine editor Peter Tooker suggested that it may have had its origins the previous year as an underground campus paper focused on Greek life and concerns at UA. The paper’s founder and editor in 1970 was Richard (Cid) Sutoris Jr.; while a student …

Gray, Joseph Ray (Joe)

Joseph Ray Gray (commonly known as Joe or J. R. Gray) was a painter, illustrator, sculptor, and graphic designer who grew up in Dardanelle (Yell County). His lasting influence on the art of the Arkansas River Valley grew from his passion for the environment, which defined not only his seventy-five-year fine arts career but also the development of his distinctive and varied artistic styles. Gray designed and illustrated publications and advertising campaigns, as well as creating—to the delight of friends, family, and numerous fans—outspoken political cartoons. Born in Booneville (Logan County) on September 25, 1917, Joe Gray was the son of Armour Gray, who was a meat cutter and, later, a grocery store owner, and Cena Rea McCorkle Gray. Around …

Great Balls of Fire!

Great Balls of Fire! is a 1989 motion picture loosely based on pioneering rock and roll star Jerry Lee Lewis. Several scenes of Great Balls of Fire! were filmed on location in the Arkansas towns of Marion (Crittenden County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County), with other filming taking place in nearby Memphis, Tennessee. It starred Dennis Quaid as Lewis, Winona Ryder as the thirteen-year-old cousin whom he married, and Alec Baldwin as another cousin, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. The 108-minute film was based on a book by Myra Brown Lewis and was directed by Jim McBride. It follows Jerry Lee Lewis’s early career in 1956 through 1959 as he rose to stardom. A pivotal plot point is his controversial marriage to …

Great Lester Boggs, The

aka: Hootch Country Boys [Movie]
aka: The Hard Heads [Movie]
aka: Redneck Country [Movie]
The Great Lester Boggs is a ninety-four-minute feature film directed by Arkansas filmmaker Harry Thomason and shot on location around central Arkansas, particularly Beebe (White County). It was released in late 1974 by Thomason’s company, Centronics International, and carried a rating of PG. The film was later re-released to various areas of the United States under different titles, including The Hard Heads, Hootch Country Boys, and Redneck County. One of its promotional taglines was “Learn about life the hard way.” The plot, by writers Don McLemore and Harry Thomason, concerns a young man named Malcolm Vandiver who embarks on a cross-country motorcycle journey. When, as almost all reviews note, his trip “boggs” down in the fictional Mountain Glen (in the …

Green, David Gordon

Director, writer, and producer David Gordon Green is a native Arkansan whose films have received many awards. Film critic Roger Ebert described him as “a director of tones, emotions, and moments of truth,” while New York Times film critic A. O. Scott has compared Green’s work with the writings of William Faulkner. Green’s films are generally coming-of-age tales set in small, rural Southern towns. Although born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on April 9, 1975, David Gordon Green was raised in Richardson, Texas, just outside of Dallas. He grew up as the son of medical school dean Gordon Green and Lamaze instructor Jeanne Green. At an early age, Green developed an admiration for nontraditional films such as Walkabout, Never Cry …

Greenberg, Paul

Journalist Paul Greenberg of Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a nationally recognized syndicated columnist and author whose writing appears in newspapers across the country. He was the longtime editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial’s editorial page, and, most recently, served as editorial page editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Greenberg won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing and was later a Pulitzer finalist and Pulitzer jurist. Paul Greenberg was born on January 21, 1937, in Shreveport, Louisiana. His parents were Sarah Ackerman Greenberg and Ben Greenberg, owners of a second-hand shoe store and a series of small businesses on Texas Avenue in Shreveport. He had an older sister, Lillian, and an older brother, Irving. Living with his family above the …

Greer, Stuart

Stuart Greer is a popular character actor from El Dorado (Union County) with more than forty film and television credits to his name. His career began in 1994; in 2016, he suffered a stroke at the age of fifty-six. His first role was in a single episode of the British miniseries Crocodile Shoes; in 2016, he played the character Roman in AMC’s hit horror series The Walking Dead. Greer’s notable movies include I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), The Reaping (2007) with Hillary Swank, Homefront (2013) with Jason Statham, and American Ultra (2015). Stuart Greer was born on December 2, 1959, in El Dorado, and he lived there until he was eight years old. Greer graduated from Benton …

Grice, Geleve

Capturing some of the most powerful aspects of African-American life from the mundane to the sublime, Geleve Grice established himself as Arkansas’s most prolific photographer for more than six decades. From his studio in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Grice produced thousands of photographs over the years for a variety of special occasions, including weddings, funerals, and school graduations. Although some of his more high profile photographs were featured in national publications, the heart of Grice’s work highlighted the common people and events of southeast Arkansas. Geleve Grice was born on January 16, 1922, in Tamo (Jefferson County), a small farming town located fifteen miles from Pine Bluff. At the age of thirteen, Grice moved with his parents, Toy and Lillie, …

Gross, Tabbs

Tabbs Gross was a former slave who, as a lawyer and newspaper publisher, played an active role in Arkansas politics during Reconstruction. A political gadfly, he worked hard to secure greater influence within the Republican Party for the newly freed and enfranchised African-American population. Tabbs Gross was born a slave in Kentucky in 1820. Purchasing his freedom prior to the Civil War, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he aided slaves using the Underground Railroad, both there and in New England. He also served in Cincinnati’s Black Brigade during the war. After the war, Gross continued his efforts on behalf of the former slaves, serving as the head of a local “Committee to Get Homes for Refugees.” He soon decided …