Eyes of World
Man's a Man
Son of Father
Long Ago Told
To My Sons
I know Him
BSC no numb.
Hall Photo Co.
Matt's Cabn RP
Matt's Cabn tnt
Matt, Mollie, etc
Uncle Ike RP
Uncle Ike Tint
Bennett Sp. Tint
Bennett Spr RP
1925, Son Father
1925. Brian K
1926, Barb W
1935, When Man
1936, The Mine
1936, Wild Brian
1937, West Gold
1937, Out West
1937, Secret Vly
1959, Shep (TV)
Indiana U. Libr.
E Clampus Vitus
Late in 2005 TheShepherd of the Hills Homestead & Theater located
in Branson, MO. began selling copies of this made for television
special program, both in the store and on eBay. One of the first
to buy and review the film was Harold Bell Wright movie expert
Rick Gunter: His report:
"I have just
watched the 1959 KYTV production of THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS . I
have literally waited all my life to see this. My parents told me
that they remembered watching this when it first aired, but I was
only 2 months old.
It is probably not correct to refer to this production as a
“movie.” The DVD cover states that it is a “Television Special,”
and it is only of one-half hour length. In order to appreciate
this, one has to understand that it is a low-budget local TV
production from the 1950s. One should not expect today’s standards
of cinematography and special effects and have that in mind before
they plop the DVD into the player.
Click here to read the
How and why Wright got into the movie business
Which movies were actually based on his
Which were based on stories he had never even
seen and quickly despised.
As I started watching it, I felt as if I was watching a 1950s
educational film. None of the actors has a speaking role. All of
the acting is done in a “silent movie” style. The story is
narrated entirely by the 14-verse song BALLAD OF THE SHEPHERD OF
THE HILLS and of a narrator reading selections directly from the
book THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS. There seems to be an emphasis on
the beginning and the end of the book. There is a quick
explanation by the narrator of some of the middle of the story,
but it is mostly just left out. That is how they are able to fit
it into ½ hour. The story may be confusing to someone who has not
read the book.
Except for the parts that are left out, this production follows
the book much closer than either the 1942 or 1963 movies. Since
the narration of this one came directly from the book, one could
say that those parts follow the book “exactly.”
One part that I found particularly compelling was the scene where
Little Pete led The Shepherd and Dr. Coughlin through the cave to
where Howard lay mortally wounded. Those scenes were filmed in
Marvel Cave with only the natural light of the torches they
carried in their hands. It nearly gave me goose bumps to watch
that. As the narrator read the story from the book, it was almost
as it I was watching actual news footage of the actual event. They
walked through Marvel Cave in places that exactly fit the
descriptions in the book. As the dim torch light flickered against
the cave walls in that old b&w low-quality film, it was like
watching an old newsreel from the turn of the century.
For anyone who is a fan of THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS, I would
definitely recommend this DVD. It is not great drama, but great
Ozark TV nostalgia." -- Thanks Rick
Shepherd of the Hills, Awards Presentation Edition, K.Y.T.V.
Television, Springfield, Missouri. Shepherd of the Hills Farm,
Branson, Missouri. Seal says, TV Radio Mirror, Award for 1959-60.
(This is the standard Grosset and Dunlap edition of the book, with
a special dust jacket.)
Lloyd "Shad" Heller, star of the outdoor play at the Shepherd of
the Hills Farm in Branson, playing the shepherd.
The only published information about this movie I have found so far is in the
TV Radio Mirror of April, 1960, the issue in which the magazine
announces their annual awards for the "Best" and the "Most Original"
radio and television programs for the year. After giving awards to
the top 16 national shows and performers, such as The
Huntley-Brinkley Report, Playhouse 90, Art Carney, Art Linkletter,
Arthur Godfrey, Red Skelton, The Chevy Show, The Adventures of Ozzie
and Harriet, The Rifleman, The Untouchables and The Twilight Zone,
the magazine turns its attention to local and regional programming.
For some reason, regional seems to mean mostly the Midwest. The nine
winners are from St. Louis, Mo; Cleveland, Ohio; Minneapolis-St. Paul
(twice); Chicago, Louisville, Columbus, Ohio; Springfield, Missouri;
"The Most Original
Program on [Regional] TV" award went to KYTV in Springfield,
Missouri for their narrated musical production of The Shepherd of
the Hills. Here is what the story says (Please note that the book
sold one million copies, not 16 million):
"Look Homeward to the Hills."
THE novel "Shepherd of the Hills"
by Harold Bell Wright, an early 20th Century story of the Ozarks,
told a tale of simple people confronted by sin, by guilt and
eventual redemption. Within the structure of the story lie deep
religious feeling, a strong sense of the simple goodness of the hill
folk of the Ozarks, an eerie implication that the young child born
out of wedlock in the story is a modern-day counterpart of Christ,
the son of Mary. When the book appeared it sold sixteen million
copies, a phenomenal success for a novel published before the days
of book clubs and mass distribution. Even more millions saw the
theme presented as a successful motion picture, starring John
Wayne.... The natives of the area, forty miles south of Springfield,
Missouri, where the action of the picture was laid, have treasured
the places and things mentioned in the book. They remain exactly as
they were when the novel appeared at the turn of the century....
Last summer, this classic story came to life again. Under combined
sponsorship of Shepherd of the Hills Farm, Marvel Cave and the
Retail Merchants Committee of the Branson, Missouri Chamber of
Commerce, a project got under way to video-tape the story for TV
presentation. Station KYTV of Springfield and Dixon-Baker Associates
got to work. Aided by drama students from Central Missouri State
College at Warrensburg, who portrayed the acting roles, and a spoken
narrative background, the story began to unfold. Music and lyrics
for a fourteen-verse "Ballad of the Shepherd of the Hills"-which
carries much of the action of the play-were composed by Will Mercer,
singer and composer with the Red Foley Jubilee U.S.A. program. The
song was started when Mercer visited Inspiration Point near Branson,
Missouri, where much of the action takes place, and was completed
while Mercer was on tour. The song, when completed, had been written
in seven states and two foreign countries.... On August 5, 1959,
KYTV moved $250,000 of mobile video tape equipment into location
near Branson. And within one full day's shooting the action was
recorded. The sound track consumed six hours of work. Editing of
tape and film took a week, script preparation nine days. At 12: 30
P.M. on September 7, the show was aired, to immediate public
response. A second run appeared on September 15 in evening time. And
since then the only known "on location" video-tape dramatic show
ever made in the Midwest has had multi-station scheduling. Our
congratulations to KYTV!
||Lloyd "Shad" Heller
Availability: eBay or:
The Shepherd of the Hills Theater
5586 West Highway 76
Branson, MO 65616
$14.95 plus $4.50 for Priority Mail shipping.
Your Questions and
Suggestions are Welcome.
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This Harold Bell Wright web site is written and
produced by Gerry Chudleigh with the help of many friends.
Copyright © 2000-May, 2011
by Gerry Chudleigh