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‘Lights! Camera! Arkansas!’ highlights the role of the state in Hollywood




Movie fans will be in for a treat, as the South Arkansas Community College Library is currently hosting an exhibit highlighting Arkansas’ role in filmmaking from the birth of the film to the present day.

“Lights! Camera! Arkansas! Is on loan to the SouthArk Library at the Old State House Museum, along with items from the Michael G. Fitzgerald Collection held by the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society.

“After learning that this traveling exhibit was available, we contacted the Old State House Museum to schedule a period of time to display it here in the SouthArk Library,” said Phillip Shackelford, director of the library. “The most impactful elements of the exhibit are the many close ties between Arkansas and Hollywood.”

A close connection highlighted in the SouthArk Library exhibit is the work of Fitzgerald of El Dorado, an accountant-turned-Hollywood historian who was fascinated by the actors and actresses who appeared on the big screen.

Several of Fitzgerald’s books are on display in the library atrium, including “Western’s Women”, https: // – in / “Ladies of the Western” and “Universal Pictures: A Panoramic History in Words, Pictures, and Filmographies.” The books appear alongside movie memorabilia, autographed celebrity photos, and other artifacts from Hollywood’s Golden Age that Fitzgerald has collected over the years.

“This is perhaps the most exciting piece of the entire show,” Shackelford said. “These are fascinating and unique objects that, once again, illustrate the close connection between Arkansas and the film industry.”

Inside the library, a large exhibit traces the history of Arkansas’ ties to the film industry, from the birth of cinema in 1903 to the present day.

Some of the story highlighted in the exhibit includes the first film set, mostly in Arkansas, the 1929 musical “Hallelujah” starring Louis Jordan; Andy Griffith’s film debut in 1957 “A Face in the Crowd”, set in Piggott, Arkansas; The starring role of Little Rock actress Julie Adams in “Creature from the Black Lagoon”; The roles of Little Rock actor Jay Flippen in “Bonanza” and “The Wild One”; the 1968 filming of “White Lightening”, starring Burt Reynolds, in Benton, Arkansas; the 1969 film and the 2010 remake of the film adaptations of El Dorado writer Charles Portis “ -role-in / “True Grit;” and other Arkansas actors and filmmakers like Ray McKinnon (“Justified,” -arkansas-highlights-states-role-in / “Sons of Anarchy”), Joey Lauren Adams (“Dazed and Confused,” arkansas-highlights-states-role-in / “Big Papa”), Wes Bentley (“American Beauty,” states-role-in / “The Hunger Games”) and Mary Steenburgen (“Melvin and Howard,” role-in / “The Help”).

“The exhibit highlights a number of native Arkansans who have become notable actors over the years, played key roles in the film industry, or – like Charles Portis of El Dorado – wrote novels that were then adapted for the big screen, ”Shackelford said.

The library also highlighted books related to film making, specific films, film reviews and Hollywood history which are available around the exhibition.

The exhibition is open to the public and free. The SouthArk Library is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Friday.

“Lights! Camera! Arkansas! Will be on display until October 14.

“We are delighted to be able to offer this exhibition to our students and the community of El Dorado! Please visit us and find out, ”Shackelford said.

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