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The Making of the Documentary, From Novel to Movie: The Yearling in Florida

The Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm citizen support organization is proud to announce that our documentary, From Novel to Movie: The Yearling in Florida is being offered to more than 350 public television stations across the country via the National Educational Telcommunications Association (NETA). The hour-long program takes an inside look at a classic movie as well as the award-winning classic novel which inspired the film with the people who lived the story. The documentary, produced by Donna Green-Townsend and Kathlyne Walkup Sheppard, shares oral histories from some of the actors and stand-ins who were featured in the Oscar-nominated MGM Classic, The Yearling, the coming of age story about a post-Civil War backwoods Florida family who raised an orphaned deer which leads to heartbreaking conflict. 

2022 marked the 75th Anniversary of when the film was honored at the Academy Awards with seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor nominations for Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman. The Yearling took home Oscars for Cinematography and Art Direction and Claude Jarman, Jr. received a Juvenile Acting Oscar for his role as young “Jody Baxter” in the movie. 

The Yearling, directed by Clarence Brown, was based on the 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.  The documentary, From Novel to Movie: The Yearling in Florida features many unique home movie clips recorded by actor Gregory Peck during the time he was working on the film in the Ocala National Forest in Florida in 1945. The documentary also includes extensive interview segments with Oscar winner Claude Jarman, Jr. who played young Jody Baxter in the MGM film.  Memories from Florida residents who served as stand-ins for Peck and Jarman as well as some of the people from Marion County, Florida who worked on the movie set in the "Big Scrub" of the Ocala National Forest are also featured, including Richard Mills, Bobby Randall, and Lawrence Kinsey to name a few. 

A special thank you goes out to the musicians who provided their talents for the documentary:

Mickey Abraham
Sue Cunningham
David Dean
Scott Jackson
Chuck Levy

Gene Page
Frank Serio
Mark Smith
Lee Townsend

"Tuck" Tucker
Gabe Valla
Christian Ward
Lis and Lon Williamson

The producer of the documentary is the President of the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Donna Green-Townsend. She has more than 45 years of radio and television experience and is the recipient of a National Edward R. Murrow Award for documentary production.  The co-producer is fellow board member, Kathlyne Walkup Sheppard whose knowledge, relatives, and acquaintances from the "Big Scrub" were invaluable to the project. 

People who know the origin of The Yearling story

Rodney Slater who inspired MKR's character Fodderwing in the novel.
The Yearling book artwork
Story origin Melvin Long
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Marietta and Calvin Long
Leonard Fiddia

People who worked on the 1940s MGM movie

Wyman, Jarman, and Peck
Set caretaker Henry Heinemann
Set caretaker Gertrude Heinemann
Ross Allen
Richard Mills at 100 in 2020
Richard Mills at 19
Pic Claude gave Bobby Randall
Peck, Wyman, and Jarman
Peck and Jarman bear hunt
MGM Director Clarence Brown
Lawrence Kinsey young
Lawrence Kinsey in his 90s
Gregory Peck with Claude Jarman, Jr.
Ethleyne and Jack Owen
Claude Jarman, Jr., painting by American commercial artist Spencer Douglass Crockwell
Claude Jarman Jr
Claude Jarman Jr and Bobby Randall 75 years later
Bobby Randall at 87
Bobby Randall and Claude Jarman Jr in 1945
Alva Kinsey Sr
Alva Kinsey Sr in his 90s
1945 film Yearling film crew

People who shared the story of The Yearling movie

Kathy Walkup Sheppard
Kathy Walkup Sheppard and Bobby Randall
Jennifer Pohlers
Florence Turcotte
Donna Green-Townsend with Claude Jarman Jr at the Marion Theatre.
Donna Green-Townsend
Donna Green-Townsend and Claude Jarman Jr on the Marion Theatre stage.
Celeste Godwin Viale
Barney Sullivan
Alva Kinsey Jr

Friends of  the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc., is a 503(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax deductible. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Florida Division of Consumer Services by calling 1-800-435-7352 (toll-free within Florida). Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the State. 

Copyright © 2023 Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc. - All Rights Reserved

Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm Inc.
P. O. Box 337 

Micanopy, FL 32667-0337
(352) 466-3672

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