Media

Entries - Entry Category: Media

Brubaker

Released in 1980, Brubaker is loosely based on the 1969 nonfiction book Accomplices to the Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal by Joe Hyams and Thomas O. Murton. Murton was hired as a prison warden in the late 1960s to modernize two prison farms: the Tucker State Prison Farm and the Cummins State Prison Farm. The controversial book and movie brought national attention to issues such as prisoner abuse, inhumane conditions in prisons, and the need for modernization. The movie follows Henry Brubaker, a new warden who has been hired to modernize and reform Wakefield Prison. Brubaker pretends to be a prisoner and mixes with the general population until he discovers widespread corruption and reveals himself in disgust. Though faced with …

Bumpass, Rodger

Rodger Bumpass is an actor and voice performer who was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and attended Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County). Along with numerous television and film roles, he has achieved fame as the voice of the character Squidward in the popular SpongeBob SquarePants film and TV series. Rodger Bumpass was born on November 20, 1951, in Little Rock to Carroll C. Bumpass and Virginia Cathey Bumpass, owners of Bumpass Cleaners and Dyers in Little Rock. He had two siblings, Leonard and Cathey (the latter of whom died at birth), and attended Little Rock Central High School, where he obtained his first experience in theater, primarily in the area of comedy. In high school, he …

Burns, Bob

aka: Robin Burn
Bob Burns was a well-known national radio and film personality during the 1930s and 1940s. He was known by a variety of titles that referenced his hillbilly origins, such as “The Arkansas Traveler” and “The Arkansas Philosopher.” Burns was a musician and an actor who wove tales of life in the Arkansas hills with his musical performances. He earned his nickname, “Bazooka,” from an instrument he invented and named as a young man in a plumbing shop in Van Buren (Crawford County). The instrument, which was a simple device made of spare gas fittings and a whiskey funnel, eventually lent its name to the World War II anti-tank weapon due to its similar looks and Burns’s popularity among the troops who …

Campbell, Glen

aka: Glen Travis Campbell
Glen Travis Campbell was a commercially successful and critically acclaimed entertainer whose career lasted more than fifty years. As a guitarist, Campbell appeared on recordings by a diverse range of artists, including Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. As a singer and solo artist, Campbell sold millions of recordings and earned many awards. He also starred in films and hosted his own television programs. Glen Campbell was born on April 22, 1936, in the Billstown community, near Delight (Pike County). He was one of twelve children born to the farming family of Carrie Dell Stone Campbell and John Wesley Campbell. Many of his relatives were musicians, and young Campbell soon developed an interest in singing and playing. He received his first …

Castle, Irene

Irene Castle was a famous ballroom dancer in the 1910s to the 1930s who appeared in several silent movies and many Broadway shows. She lived in Arkansas for a time and worked for animal rights. In her autobiography, she wrote that she would like to be remembered more for her work to prevent animal cruelty than for her dance career. Irene Foote was born on April 17, 1893, in New Rochelle, New York, to Hubert Foote, a doctor, and Annie Elroy Thomas; she had one older sister. Foote attended several boarding schools as a child. She met Vernon Castle, a British citizen who was part of a comedy show, in 1910. He got her a dance audition with Lew Fields, …

Cates, Opal Taft (Opie)

Opie Cates was a popular bandleader, musician, and radio personality, known as one of the great clarinetists of the swing era (mid-1930s–mid-1940s). He was a familiar presence on radio in the 1940s, at one time appearing weekly on four different shows. By Cates’s own reckoning, his audience numbered over thirty-five million listeners. Some believe that the character of Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show was named after Opie Cates. Opal Taft Cates was born on October 10, 1909, in Clinton (Van Buren County). His parents, Abb Cates and Sarah Jacobs Cates, were farmers. Abb Cates died in 1914, Sarah Cates married Lee Andrew Reaves (or Reeves) in 1916. The blended family, which included several Reaves step-siblings and a younger …

Central Arkansas Radio Emergency Network (CAREN)

The Central Arkansas Radio Emergency Net (CAREN) is the oldest of several amateur radio clubs in the central Arkansas area. CAREN’s focus is on providing public service event support and emergency communications. To facilitate these services, CAREN operates VHF/UHF radio repeater sites throughout the central region of the state. Ham radio operators are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 97 (Amateur Radio Service), after passing an examination for one of several classes of license. The Amateur Radio Service has five main purposes: 1) providing emergency communications as a noncommercial service, 2) advancing the radio art, 3) advancing communications and technical skills, 4) expanding a pool of trained operators, …

Chrystal

Chrystal is a film written and directed by longtime Arkansas resident Ray McKinnon. The movie stars McKinnon’s wife, Fayetteville (Washington County) native Lisa Blount, who played the title character alongside Hot Springs (Garland County) native Billy Bob Thornton, who played her husband. The movie was shot in and around Eureka Springs (Carroll County) in 2003 and is set in a small, unnamed community in the Ozark Mountains. It was the second project of Ginny Mule Productions, a company co-owned by McKinnon, Blount, and Walton Goggins, who also acted in the movie. The three had received an Academy Award for best live action short in 2001 for their first project, the film The Accountant. Chrystal centers upon the reunion of Joe (played …

Clark, William Allen

William Allen Clark was one of Arkansas’s “preacher-editors.” For nearly fifteen years, he occupied the editorial chair of one of Arkansas’s largest denominational newspapers, the old Arkansas Baptist, and was a pivotal figure in the Landmark Baptist movement within the state. W. A. Clark was born on May 24, 1844, near Rossville, Indiana, the son of wealthy farmer David C. Clark and his wife, Mary. In 1861, he entered Simonds Select School for Boys in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the Civil War, he served as a corporal in Company K, Seventy-Second Indiana Volunteer Mounted Infantry. In 1865, he moved to Kansas, where he married Jennie C. Jordan. They had three children. In May 1867, Clark was baptized into the Methodist Episcopal …

Clinton Chronicles, The

The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton is a 1994 video produced by Patrick Matrisciana that accuses former president Bill Clinton of crimes in Arkansas. The video, which has been called a propaganda piece, put forward a conspiracy theory, the “Clinton Body Count,” regarding individuals whom Clinton was alleged to have had killed. The Clinton Chronicles was produced by a group called Citizens for Honest Government of Westminster, California. Partially funded by Arkansan Larry Nichols, its parent organization was Creative Ministries, Inc. According to the New York Times, Nichols had been hired in the 1980s by Governor Clinton as marketing director for the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA). In 1988, Nichols was fired by …

Clinton, Chelsea Victoria

Chelsea Clinton is the only child of former U.S. president Bill Clinton and his wife, former U.S. senator and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was the Democratic nominee for U.S. president in 2016. Chelsea Clinton has served as a correspondent, public speaker, and author, and she works with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. Chelsea Victoria Clinton was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 27, 1980. Hillary Clinton stated in her memoir that the name was inspired by a walk through the Chelsea district in London, England. Hearing the Joni Mitchell song, “Chelsea Morning,” Bill Clinton said, “If we ever have a daughter, we should name her Chelsea.” When their daughter was born, …

Come Early Morning

Released in 2006, Come Early Morning is a movie written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams, best known for her acting roles in Dazed and Confused (1993) and Chasing Amy (1997). It was filmed primarily in Adams’s hometown of North Little Rock (Pulaski County), with several scenes shot in her grandmother’s house. The movie stars Ashley Judd as a working-class woman who spends her weekends getting drunk in bars before going to a motel for one-night-stands, after which she quickly leaves “come early morning.” In the New York Times, reviewer Stephen Holden said that Adams, in her filmmaking debut, “knows how these people speak and has a finely tuned awareness of their relationship to an environment where beer flows like …

Come Next Spring

Come Next Spring was a 1956 dramatic feature film produced and distributed by Republic Pictures Corporation. The film is about the reconciliation of a rural, Prohibition-era Arkansas family split apart by alcohol abuse. Both the original story and screenplay were written by Montgomery Pittman, whose family connections, and possibly childhood experiences, in Independence County, Arkansas, are referenced obliquely throughout the film. The film premiered at the Center Theater in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 1, 1956. The premiere included a personal appearance by one of the film’s stars, Steve Cochran. Released nationally in the United States the following month and internationally afterward, the film played in U.S. theaters well into 1957 and, in subsequent years, was broadcast many …

Command and Control

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety is a 2013 book by investigative journalist Eric Schlossser that explores the history of the United States’ nuclear weapons, efforts to control them, and accidents involving them, focusing particularly on the September 1980 Titan II Missile explosion in Arkansas. The book was the basis for a 2016 documentary film directed by Robert Kenner. Author Eric Schlosser previously wrote the New York Times bestsellers Fast Food Nation (2001) and Reefer Madness (2003). The 632-page Command and Control, published by Penguin Press, explored the United States’ development of nuclear weapons and national policy regarding them from their origins in World War II into the twenty-first century. It also documented …

Cotton, Carolina

aka: Helen Hagstrom
Helen Hagstrom is best known for her country and western swing music and yodeling, as well as her appearances in numerous television specials, radio programs, and films under the name of Carolina Cotton. Nicknamed “The Yodeling Blonde Bombshell,” Hagstrom was an entertainer and teacher throughout her life. Helen Hagstrom was born on October 20, 1925, in Cash (Craighead County), where her parents, Fred and Helen Hagstrom, and maternal grandparents had a farm, growing many crops, including cotton and peanuts. During the Great Depression, Hagstrom’s father moved his wife and two daughters to San Francisco, California. Hagstrom began performing in traveling stage shows with the O’Neille Sisters Kiddie Revue. Then, after regularly visiting KYA Radio to watch Dude Martin’s Roundup Gang …

Counts, Will

aka: Ira Wilmer Counts
Ira Wilmer (Will) Counts Jr. was a photographer best known in Arkansas for his photographs during the 1957 desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His photographs have been widely recognized as among the most memorable of the twentieth century. Will Counts was born on August 24, 1931, in Little Rock to Ira Counts Sr. and Jeanne Frances Adams Counts; he had one brother. The Counts family sharecropped near Rose Bud (White County) and then outside Cabot (Lonoke County) before moving in 1936 to the Resettlement Administration’s Plum Bayou Homestead in Jefferson County. When the family moved back to Little Rock, where Counts attended Little Rock High School (later Central High), he developed his initial interest in …

Courier-Index (Marianna)

The Courier-Index, a newspaper based in Marianna (Lee County), is the oldest continuous business operation in Lee County. Its roots date back to about 1872 when L. M. Benham is believed to have founded the Marianna Index. J. M. Thomas was the first editor. The Lee County Courier, founded in 1890 by Colonel James Wood, gave the area two newspapers for more than twenty-five years. Herbert M. Jackson purchased the Index and the Courier in 1917 and merged them into the Courier-Index. Jackson published the newspaper until his death in 1934, when his wife, Cordie Jackson, became publisher. She continued to publish the paper until 1937, when she sold it to John B. Howse. Approximately two years later, she resumed …

Crisis at Central High

The book Crisis at Central High, based on the events surrounding the 1957 desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was a memoir written by school administrator Elizabeth Huckaby (1905–1999) and published in 1980. A prestigious television movie based on the book, also titled Crisis at Central High, was filmed at Central and starred Academy Award–winning actress Joanne Woodward. For her portrayal of Huckaby in the 1981 film, Woodward was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award. In September 1957, nine African-American students attempted to attend the all-white Central High. After they were prevented from entering by members of the state’s National Guard, the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division was ordered by President Dwight …

Daddy and Them

Daddy and Them is a comedy-drama written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton that stars Thornton and Laura Dern as Claude and Ruby Montgomery, a passionate but antagonistic married couple from Arkansas. Insecurity about measuring up to one another’s past romantic relationships stands as their biggest point of contention, which is further complicated by Claude’s past relationship with Ruby’s older sister, Rose, before he married Ruby. Claude travels with Ruby, Rose, and his mother-in-law Jewel to support his extended family when his Uncle Hazel is arrested for attempted murder. The plot largely centers around the chronic dysfunction of the Montgomery family. In the DVD commentary, Thornton remarked that “one of the things about this movie, one of the things I …

Daily Citizen (Searcy)

The Daily Citizen is a newspaper serving Searcy (White County) and the greater White County area. The paper traces its origins to 1854, when it was first printed as the Des Arc Citizen, and it claims to be the oldest county newspaper in Arkansas. John J. Morrill originally founded the paper, which began weekly publication on September 5, 1854, in Des Arc (Prairie County). Morrill’s Des Arc Citizen held fiercely Democratic leanings and gave a voice to the anti-abolitionist views held by most Prairie County Democrats just before the Civil War. Citizen opinions showed deep concern about potential Republican electoral success, warning that creeping Northern encroachment into the issue of slavery would only end in secession from the Union, if …

Daily Siftings Herald (Arkadelphia)

The Daily Siftings Herald was a newspaper based in Arkadelphia (Clark County) that served Clark County and nearby portions of Hot Spring County. The Daily Siftings Herald began operations in 1920 after two newspapers consolidated. The Arkadelphia Signal began publication in 1881 under the ownership of J. W. Miller, J. N. Miller, and Isom Langley. The name of the Signal changed to the Arkadelphia Clipper in 1882 and then to the Arkadelphia Herald in 1888. The Siftings began publication in 1891 under the ownership of brothers Edward and Claude McCorkle. Claude moved to Hope (Hempstead County), where he bought the Hope Star newspaper, while Edward remained in Arkadelphia to operate the Siftings. Edward died in 1918, and his son Philip …

Danley, Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus Danley was a soldier, political activist, and newspaperman in the early days of Arkansas statehood. His adroit use of his newspaper, as well as his own political efforts, made him an often formidable opponent of the political dynasty known as “The Family,” a powerful group of Democrats who dominated Arkansas politics in the years between statehood and the Civil War. He also served as state auditor from 1849 to 1855. C. C. Danley was born on June 5, 1818, in the Missouri Territory. His father, James Danley, was an early pioneer in the Missouri and Arkansas territories. While Danley had at least two brothers and a sister, there appears to be no documentation concerning his mother. Danley set …

Das Arkansas Echo

aka: Arkansas Echo
Das Arkansas Echo was a weekly German-language newspaper published out of Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1891 to 1932. It promised an “allgemeine Zeitung für Wahrheit und Klarheit auf dem politischen und sozialem Gebiete” (general newspaper for truth and clarity in political and social realm). At the time of its establishment, it was one of three German-language newspapers in the state; the Arkansas Volksblatt of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and the Arkansas Staats-Zeitung of Little Rock also provided news to German-speaking immigrants. The Echo reported a circulation of 850 in its early years, with circulation eventually reaching around 1,300. The Echo’s predecessor was Der Logan County Anzeiger (Logan County Gazette), which was published by Conrad Elsken and had a circulation …

Davis, Gail

aka: Betty Jeanne Grayson
Gail Davis was an Arkansas-born actress who starred as the legendary sharpshooter in the groundbreaking TV Western series Annie Oakley, which ran from 1954 through 1956. She appeared in thirty-two feature films, was guest on a number of TV shows, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and was a role model for young women. Gail Davis was born Betty Jeanne Grayson on October 5, 1925. Her mother was a homemaker and her father, W. B. Grayson, was a physician in McGehee (Desha County), which did not have a hospital, so her birth took place in Little Rock (Pulaski County). When her father became the state health officer, the …

Davis, Gregory A.

Gregory A. Davis is the founder of Davis Broadcasting, a regional media company that owns several radio stations in Columbus and Atlanta, Georgia; the stations range from urban contemporary and gospel to sports and Spanish-language formats. Davis serves as the president and CEO of Davis Broadcasting. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016, the same year that marked the thirtieth anniversary of the company he founded. Gregory Davis was born in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in 1948. His mother was an educator at the local black school, and his father worked in a bakery before opening a shoeshine parlor. He attended twelve years of Catholic school, graduating from St. Anne’s Academy, where he was the …

Day It Came to Earth, The

The Day It Came to Earth is a 1977 horror/science fiction feature film directed by Arkansan Harry Thomason. It was filmed in and around Little Rock (Pulaski County). Running at eighty-eight minutes and rated PG (for violence), the movie features a number of local Arkansas actors, such as Little Rock advertising executive Robert (Bob) Ginnaven (1937–2008) in addition to comedian George Gobel near the end of his career and actress Rita Wilson at the beginning of hers. The story, written by Paul Fisk, begins with a glowing meteorite falling into a secluded pond. Gangsters have dumped the body of one of their victims into the pond. The water takes on rejuvenating powers from the meteorite, causing the dead body to …

De Queen Bee

The De Queen Bee was established by printer Walter A. Boyd and lawyer J. W. Bishop of Nashville (Howard County). The newspaper has been serving De Queen (Sevier County) and the surrounding areas since June 4, 1897. Some sources report that the partnership began when Boyd and Bishop were sitting on the courthouse steps in Nashville discussing the future of the developing railroad town of De Queen. Seeing the new town as an opportunity, they decided to start a newspaper, naming it the De Queen Bee. A subscription was one dollar a year, with the paper being published every Friday. The partnership lasted for only three issues before the paper was sold to E. C. Winford. Leadership of the paper …

Deane, Ernie

aka: Ernest Cecil Deane
Ernest Cecil (Ernie) Deane—journalist, teacher, historian, and folklorist—was best known for his newspaper columns, “The Arkansas Traveler” and “Ozarks Country.” He taught journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington Couny) and was a proponent to restore Old Main to its historical character at the UA campus. Ernie Deane was born on October 29, 1911, in Lewisville (Lafayette County) to Ernest Deane, a railroad engineer, and Mabel Drew Deane. He attended public schools in Lewisville and Texarkana (Miller County). He received a bachelor’s in journalism in 1934 from UA, having served as editor of the Arkansas Traveler, the UA newspaper, and studied under the founder of the journalism department, Walter Lemke, whom Deane considered his mentor. Deane earned …

Dearmore, Thomas Lee (Tom)

Thomas Lee Dearmore was a nationally recognized journalist and newspaper editor. A native of the Ozarks, Dearmore focused on politics and music in his writing. He worked at newspapers in Washington DC and San Francisco, California, and was an editor at the Arkansas Gazette for two years in the 1970s. Like his contemporary Harry Ashmore, Dearmore was a new breed of southern journalist who sought to distance Arkansas and the South from a segregationist past. Tom Dearmore was born in Mountain Home (Baxter County) on September 11, 1927. He was the son of Benjamin Dearmore and Ethel Shiras Dearmore, both of whom were natives of Arkansas. During World War II, he was stationed in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he …

Devil’s Knot

Mara Leveritt’s 2002 book Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three focuses on the facts of the 1993 murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis (Crittenden County) and the controversial court case that followed. One of the teenagers of the so-called West Memphis Three convicted in the case was sentenced to death, while two others were condemned to life in jail without parole; the three were freed in 2011. The murders remained unsolved. The book depicts a bleak picture of small-town Arkansas in the 1990s, providing background for how, in the author’s view, this case assumed a level of hysteria that in many ways equaled the Salem Witch Trials. The book provoked a larger discussion about …

Dexter, Maury

aka: Morris Gene Poindexter
Maury Dexter was a film and television director and producer perhaps best remembered for his work on low-budget horror films during the early 1960s, as well as his long professional association with television legend Michael Landon. Dexter’s career paralleled that of an elder Arkansas-born film maker, Jean Yarbrough of Marianna (Lee County). Both were known less for their artistry than for their efficiency, directing or producing numerous competent but unexceptional films for “Poverty Row” studios within the constraints of tight budgets and deadlines. Reflecting on his career, Dexter observed: “I’m first and foremost a filmmaker. Even when I first started out, my intent was to take a script, whatever that script was, and do the best I could under the …

Dhonau, Jerry Franklin

Jerry Franklin Dhonau, a longtime newspaper reporter and editor, contributed to the Arkansas Gazette’s winning of a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting and commentary on the historic desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1957. Later, he served as an editorial writer at the newspaper for twenty-seven years and was chief of the opinion section when the Gazette closed on October 18, 1991. Jerry Dhonau was born on September 20, 1934, in Little Rock to Charles Mitchell Dhonau and Lura Hill Dhonau. His father settled damage claims for the Cotton Belt Railroad. An older brother, Charles Mitchell Dhonau Jr., was killed in combat in World War II. While he was a student at Little Rock High …

Dial, Rick

Rick Dial was a character actor, musician, and businessman from Malvern (Hot Spring County). Dial acted in fourteen Hollywood films, first appearing alongside childhood friend and fellow actor Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade (1996). In addition to his acting, Dial was part-owner of a furniture store in Malvern and was “the Voice of the Malvern Leopards,” announcing high school football games. Richard Halley Dial was born on March 9, 1955, in Malvern to Bill J. Dial and DeNora VanDusen Dial; he was one of three children. He graduated from Malvern High School in 1973, where he earned All-Conference honors on the Malvern Leopards football team. Dial married Phyllis Voss on September 22, 1973; they had three children. After high …

Die Goldsucher von Arkansas

aka: Massacre at Marble City
aka: Conquerors of Arkansas
Die Goldsucher von Arkansas (literally, The Gold Seekers of Arkansas), produced in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1964, is based loosely on Friedrich Gerstäcker’s novel Die Regulatoren in Arkansas, which is set in Arkansas. Fitting into the genre of the spaghetti western, the film was released in Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Spain (under two separate titles), Sweden, Finland, and the United States. The title in the United States was Massacre in Marble City, while in the United Kingdom, it was released as Conquerors of Arkansas. Directors were Paul Martin in Germany and Alberto Cardone in Italy. Although both the novel and movie take place in Arkansas, considerable license was taken in adapting the novel, and in the …

Dillon, Melinda Rose

Melinda Rose Dillon is an American actress who has appeared in dozens of movies, plays, and television shows. She has been nominated for several major awards, including an Academy Award and a Tony Award; in addition, the Screen Actors Guild recognized her for her role in Magnolia (1999). Other memorable films include Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), A Christmas Story (1983), and Harry and the Hendersons (1987). She has also appeared on television in episodes of Bonanza and the TV movie A Painted House (2003). Melinda Dillon was born on October 13, 1939, in Hope (Hempstead County). Information about her early life is sparse, as Dillon remains an intensely private person. She studied acting with both Lee Strasberg …

Douthit, George Clinton

George Clinton Douthit was a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat newspaper continuously from 1945 until his departure in 1970 to join former governor Orval Faubus’s failed political comeback. He then founded the State News Bureau, an operation from which he sold news stories from and about the Arkansas State Capitol to small community newspapers around the state. When he died in 1985 after a long battle with cancer, a group of people, including Secretary of State W. J. “Bill” McCuen and widow Mary Lou Douthit, hung a photo inside the Capitol press room of Douthit; a small brass plaque identifies him as the “Dean of the Capitol press corps.” George Douthit was born to James David Douthit and Obelia Douthit …

Down in “Arkansaw”

B-movie studio Republic Pictures shot hillbilly situation comedy Down in “Arkansaw” (1938) in California. The only Arkansan in the film was Pinky Tomlin, who was born in Eros (Marion County) but raised in Oklahoma. The film was the first in a series of eleven comedies made by Republic from 1938 to 1943 featuring the Weaver Brothers and Elviry (consisting of Missourians Leon, Frank, and June Weaver), a popular “rube” vaudeville and radio act. The Weaver series also included Arkansas Judge (1941). In his book Hillbilly, Anthony Harkins noted that the years 1937–1945 saw “the hillbilly stereotype at high tide” in popular culture, with the Weavers and Judy Canova making pictures at Republic, Arkansan Bob Burns appearing in films for Paramount …

Duggar Family

aka: 19 and Counting [Television Show]
aka: Counting On [Television Show]
The Duggars are an Arkansas family who became famous on the TLC network show 19 Kids and Counting. The family is known for its strict adherence to the Baptist faith and conservative values, which include restrictions against any birth control methods. However, the Duggars have been criticized by those who believe that such large families are not healthy for children and those who oppose their anti-contraceptive activism. On May 22, 2015, TLC announced that they were pulling all episodes of 19 Kids and Counting after Josh Duggar, the eldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, admitted publicly that he had engaged in acts of child molestation as a teenager; the show was officially cancelled later that year. However, certain of the …

Duncan, Virginia Maud Dunlap

Virginia Maud Dunlap Duncan was the second woman in Arkansas to secure a registration as a pharmacist. As a young businesswoman and editor of a newspaper, she ran for mayor of Winslow (Washington County) with an all-woman slate for city council. This “petticoat government” was elected to two consecutive terms and gained national attention during its time in office. Maud Dunlap was born on October 22, 1873, in Fayetteville (Washington County) to Dudley Clinton and Catherine Hewitt Dunlap. Her mother died when Dunlap was an infant. She and her brother, Rufus, went to live with her uncle Albert Dunlap and his wife, Virginia, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Other foster parents raised Dunlap’s sister and other two brothers. Dunlap’s foster …

Duvall, Leland Blaine

Leland Blaine Duvall was a writer and editor who wrote columns, editorials, and historical articles for the Arkansas Gazette for forty years after World War II. Self-educated and reared on a hardscrabble Ozark Mountain farm, Duvall was an itinerant farm laborer until World War II. His voluminous correspondence from training camps and the war front with family members, friends, and his future wife impelled him to college and a writing career. His commentary on agriculture and economics for the Arkansas Gazette attracted a wide following and won numerous awards. Leland Duvall was born on June 19, 1911, the eldest of four sons of Omer Duvall and Esther Singleton Duvall. His father was a sharecropper, but he acquired forty acres in …

Eells, Paul Irving

Paul Irving Eells was a radio and television broadcaster for University of Arkansas (UA) Razorback sports from 1978 until his death in 2006. Throughout his career, he became an iconic “voice of the Razorbacks.” Paul Eells was born in Iowa City, Iowa, on September 24, 1935 to Norval and Shirley Eells. He grew up in Mechanicsville, Iowa, graduating from the University of Iowa (UI) in 1959. He had a baseball scholarship to UI but decided that sports broadcasting was his real interest. Soon, he was working in radio and television in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, beginning with coverage of high-school sports and then as a radio play-by-play announcer for UI basketball and football. From Iowa, Eells moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where …

Elder, Jim

aka: James Albert Elder
James Albert (Jim) Elder was a sports announcer and analyst whose dry style and encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, football, and golf amassed a huge following the last thirty-five years of the twentieth century. Elder was sports director for KARN (earlier KARK) radio for most of those years, and he did the play-by-play broadcasts of the Arkansas Travelers professional baseball team for thirty-three years. Jim Elder was born on July 25, 1924, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, to Albert Elder, a construction worker, and Dorothy Moore Elder, who, following a divorce, worked at a bank to support her only child and her songwriting. When Elder was small, they moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he became an ardent fan of the Philadelphia Athletics major …

Encounter with the Unknown

Encounter with the Unknown is a low-budget 1973 feature film directed by Harry Thomason of Hampton (Calhoun County). It was shot at various locations in or near Little Rock (Pulaski County) using a number of local actors and crew. The ninety-minute film was rated PG and released by Centronics International. It was produced by Joe Glass and written by Glass, Jack Anderson, and Hillman Taylor. Encounter with the Unknown was the first film created by Thomason, who would later become known for projects including the 2004 documentary The Hunting of the President along with four Arkansas-based movies: The Great Lester Boggs (1974), So Sad About Gloria (1975), The Day It Came to Earth (1977), and Revenge of Bigfoot (1979). He …

End of the Line

End of the Line is a film set in the fictional town of Clifford, Arkansas, that deals with working-class issues of the loss of job security, worker entitlement, and the powerlessness of average people when up against faceless corporations. The film stars Wilford Brimley and Arkansas native Levon Helm and features in supporting roles Holly Hunter, Kevin Bacon, Clint Howard, and Arkansas native Mary Steenburgen (who was also the executive producer). End of the Line was the first film directed by Arkansas native Jay Russell, who went on to direct many well-known films, including Tuck Everlasting, Ladder 49, and My Dog Skip. Russell also co-wrote the script with John Wohlbruck. Much of the movie was filmed in or near Little …

Epperson, Tom

Tom Epperson is a producer, screenwriter, and novelist from Malvern (Hot Spring County). He is known for his collaborations with fellow Arkansan Billy Bob Thornton: One False Move (1992), A Family Thing (1996), The Gift (2000), Don’t Look Back (1996), Camouflage (2001), and Jayne Mansfield’s Car (2012). In addition to his credits as a writer of Hollywood films, Epperson authored the popular crime novels The Kind One (2008) and Sailor (2012). Tom Epperson was born on May 22, 1951, in Nashville (Howard County). A year later, the Eppersons moved to Malvern. His father, Wendell Epperson, was a lawyer and municipal judge, while his mother, Mabel, stayed home with their four children. In 1963, Epperson met Billy Bob Thornton when he …

Ernest Green Story, The

The Ernest Green Story is a made-for-television movie that premiered on cable TV’s Disney Channel in 1993. It tells the true story of Ernest Gideon Green (1941–), who was one of a group of African-American students (dubbed the Little Rock Nine) who were the first black students to attend Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The movie details the violence and victories of Green’s senior year in 1957–58. In May 1958, Green became the first black student to graduate from Central. The promotional poster for the film read: “1958. Because of his courage, Central High School will never be the same.” The film runs for 101 minutes and was developed by executive producer Carol Ann Abrams. Much of …

Evans, Dale

aka: Frances Octavia Smith
Dale Evans was an actress, author, and songwriter who was raised in Osceola (Mississippi County), where she attended school for the first time and met her first husband. She rose to fame as America’s “Queen of the West” (sometimes called “Queen of the Cowgirls”) alongside her fourth husband, Roy Rogers (“King of the Cowboys”). She starred in movies, television shows, and evangelical Christian programs. Evans wrote twenty-eight inspirational books and composed many songs, including the popular song of faith, “The Bible Tells Me So,” as well as the iconic American standard, “Happy Trails.” Dale Evans was born in her grandparents’ home at Uvalde, Texas, though her family lived in Italy, Texas. Her father, Walter Smith, was a middle-class farmer who …

Evening Shade

Evening Shade was a television situation comedy series about a contemporary Arkansas town. It was shown on CBS from 1990 to 1994 and was produced by Arkansan Harry Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. Taking place in the rural town of Evening Shade (Sharp County), it was the first network television series set in Arkansas. The show, which starred Burt Reynolds, was filmed partially in Arkansas and represented the state in a positive manner. When seeking suggestions about a location and title for the show, it is said that the winning idea came from the Thomasons’ friend Hillary Clinton. Created by Bloodworth-Thomason, who is from Missouri, the program was produced by Mozark Productions, of which she and her husband were …

Face in the Crowd, A

A Face in the Crowd was a 1957 movie drama based on the short story, “Your Arkansas Traveler,” written by Budd Schulberg. It concerns a fictional Arkansas native, its opening scenes were set in northeast Arkansas, and it was filmed on location in Piggott (Clay County) using local residents as extras. The film marked the screen debut of Andy Griffith and Lee Remick, along with being Walter Matthau and Tony Franciosa’s first major roles. It is significant for its prophetic theme of the cult of celebrity, the power of television, and the merging of entertainment and politics. Writer Budd Wilson Schulberg (1914–) and director Elia Kazan (1909–2003) had previously worked together on the film, On the Waterfront (1954), based on …

Farkleberry

Farkleberry is a common name for the shrub species Vaccinium arboreum of the family Ericaceae and is sometimes called the sparkleberry. This bushy evergreen is native to the southeastern United States and ranges from the East Coast to west Texas. It bears small, black berries that are appealing to birds but not to humans. The shrub, which can grow to be about twenty-five feet tall, is not generally considered desirable or valuable, but its bark has been used to tan leather and its wood to make tool handles. In Arkansas, however, the farkleberry has been long associated with Arkansas governor Orval Eugene Faubus due to cartoons drawn by George Edward Fisher. The shrub is nearly unknown today, but its funny-sounding …