Skip to main content

A Tribute To Elizabeth Taylor

Actress Elizabeth Taylor died Tuesday at age 79. She is well known here in Kentucky for her 1956 movie, Raintree County, which was filmed in different parts of the state.

Expected to be the next Gone With the Wind, the 3-hour Civil War drama, Raintree County, turned out to be a disappointment at the box office. But to Kentuckians, that did not matter. Elizabeth Taylor, a 24-year-old actress, dressed in her almost-scandalous form-fitting capri pants, had been here.

Raintree County premiered in Louisville in October 1957. At the time of the filming, Ms. Taylor was divorcing husband No. 2, Michael Wilding, for husband No. 3, Mike Todd, and Danville telephone operators reportedly said they heard plenty of phone calls between the three of them. While Ms. Taylor was on location in Danville, Todd sent her 200 long-stemmed roses and a $30,000 black pearl ring, Ms. Taylor's biographer, C. David Heymann, wrote in his 1995 book Liz.

MGM Studios and more than 100 actors moved into Danville to shoot the movie, which, cost $6 million dollars. It was the most expensive American film ever made at that time.

Raintree County was based on a novel by Ross Lockridge Jr. It earned four Academy Award nominations. The making of the movie was a big deal in Kentucky. Nearly half of the filming took place in Danville. A home near Somerset was used in the movie. Today, it is known as Raintree Inn. 15,000 pounds of props, 3,500 costumes, 216 tons of equipment, 135 crew members, and 119 speaking roles for a cast that included Eva Marie Saint, Nigel Patrick, Rod Taylor, Agnes Moorehead, and Lee Marvin. More than 300 locals, including a few from this area, served as extras.

Danville resident, Eleanor McDonald, recalled, “Stretch pants had just been invented and we’d never seen them before. They looked like you’d just melt and pour yourself into them. Elizabeth Taylor was wearing them and I thought my husband would fall off the back porch when he saw her. Oh, she was pretty.”


Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…