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FROM NOVEL TO MOVIE: The Yearling in Florida

 The documentary provides a unique look back at the classic Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, The Yearling by the late Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and the subsequent classic MGM Oscar-winning film by the same name 75 years later with memories in film and commentary by not only the Oscar-winning child actor Claude Jarman, Jr., but many of the Florida folks who worked on the film in the Ocala National Forest of Florida in the 1940s. Their memories and home movie clips from the filming by the late Oscar winner Gregory Peck weave a colorful story. 

Click on the short preview video clip to the right showing the first five minutes of the hour long documentary.  To see the full program, "From Novel to Movie: The Yearling in Florida," check local PBS television schedules in your community for broadcast times.

Celebrating 75 Years of The Yearling Movie. With Claude Jarman, Jr.

On December 12, 2021, the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc. presented an in-person interview with Claude Jarman, Jr., who played Jody in The Yearling movie (MGM, 1946). The interview was part of the events making up its "The Yearling Movie Celebrates 75 Years with Claude Jarman, Jr.  The interview was conducted by Donna Green-Townsend and took place at the historic Marion Theatre in Ocala, Florida.  Claude discussed his memories of the making of the movie, including his discovery by director Clarence Brown, working with Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman, and the vicissitudes (heat, rain, and bugs) of filming The Yearling in the Big Scrub in Marion County, Florida. Also introduced was Bobby Randall, who was Claude’s double/stand-in for the filming.  The videographer was Deborah Hendrix.

The Ilene Silverman Show - The Yearling Anniversary

In November 2021 Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm Board Members Barbara Wingo and Donna Green-Townsend appeared on the Ilene Silverman Show.  They discussed the Friends organization, its activities and its purpose of supporting the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park as well as the upcoming “The Yearling Movie Celebrates 75 Years with Claude Jarman, Jr.” event at the Marion Theatre in Ocala.

WUFT Greater Good video

In March 2021 our local public broadcasting station, WUFT, visited the Marjorie Rawlings Historic State Park as part of a series showcasing local non-profit groups in our area. 


In 2020 a video presentation in lieu of an in-person holiday party at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park was created by park volunteer Marthalynne Allen Dilello (with editing by  Donna Green-Townsend).  A special shout out to musicians George Tortorelli and Lisa Lynne for the beautiful music that accompanies the photos and videos.


Ron Haase is Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida where he taught design and historic preservation. He is a specialist in the area of Florida vernacular architecture. Ron is also the author of the book, Classic Cracker: Florida's Wood-Frame Vernacular Architecture.

In this video he pays a visit to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park and shares his personal inspiration from Rawlings' writings. He tours Rawlings' barn and home with Park Manager Scott Spaulding and shares his knowledge of "classic Cracker architecture."  Produced by Donna Green-Townsend.


This virtual experience takes viewers  Cross Creek, where they can learn more about the people who knew Marjorie Rawlings during her years living and writing there.

Segments include historic photos, audio and video of such characters as the late author and artist from Evinston, J. T. Glisson, “Snow” and Ella Mae Slater, Berney Bass and the late actor Rip Torn to name a few.  In the video long-time Cross Creek residents share their personal memories of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.  There’s one segment devoted to the days when catfishing was one of the key livelihoods for many members of the Cross Creek community. Produced by Donna Green-Townsend.


Many of the Cross Creek friends Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote about in her book Cross Creek are buried in the Antioch Cemetery near Island Grove, FL just east of Cross Creek. James M. Stephens has written what he thinks many of those friends would say if they were alive today.  The videos here are taken from Stephens' walking tours of the cemetery sponsored by the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc.  Produced by Donna Green-Townsend.


Highlights of the 123rd birthday party for the late Pulitzer-Prize winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on August 10th, 2019. The party which took place at the MKR Historic State Park in Cross Creek was sponsored by the park and the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm.   Produced by Donna Green-Townsend.

The Pound Party Play presented by James M. Stephens at the Marjorie kinnan rawlings Historic state park

On May 4, 2019, a play by James M. Stephens based on chapter 4 of Rawlings' Cross Creek was presented.   Audience members took videos of the play, and this video is taken from what those audience members captured.  Produced by Donna Green-Townsend. 

Carol Fiddia Laxton Tours Home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Pt. 1

On March 3, 2018 Carol Fiddia Laxton toured the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Home in Cross Creek, FL. She had last visited the home when she was 18 years old many decades before. Her father wanted her to talk to Marjorie about what she was going to do after high school. Marjorie encouraged Carol to go to college for at least two years. Carol's father and grandmother were close friends of the late Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Before writing "The Yearling" which won the Pulitzer Prize, Rawlings wrote "South Moon Under." The inspiration for the characters and setting for both books came from living with Carol's family back in the scrub of Marion County. There Marjorie learned the ins and outs of making moonshine, hunting, fishing and the "cracker ways" of early Florida. You can hear Carol's talk about Rawlings in Part 2 of her visit to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park.

Carol Fiddia Laxton Shares Memories of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Pt. 2

On March 3, 2018 Carol Fiddia Laxton shared her memories of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Her talk was sponsored by the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm organization and the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. Carol's father and grandmother were good friends of Rawlings. The late author lived with the family for a time to gather information for the books she was writing, including, "South Moon Under" and "The Yearling."

The Artistic Ties Between Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Robert E. Carson

Robert E. Carson was a Professor of Humanities at the University of Florida from 1946-1971.  Professor Carson, or "Doc" as many called him, was a self-taught artist who began in watercolors at the age of 35. In 1966 author Gordon E. Bigelow asked Carson to provide sketches for his book, Frontier Eden, The Literary Career of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Following the publication of Bigelow's book, the University of Florida asked Carson if he would be willing to provide tours of the Rawlings home in Cross Creek. From 1968 to 1970 Carson and his wife Estelle stayed at the historic  home on weekends and served as the first hosts. Carson’s legacy is being continued by his daughter, Elaine Carson Spencer.


As a long-time creek resident and member of the Friends Board, Donna Green-Townsend has produced a series of videos about Cross Creek and the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm  hosted on her YouTube Channel.

Green-Townsend joined the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm board of directors in April 2017.  She is a journalist with 40  years of radio and television experience.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She worked as a news director, producer, anchor, reporter and instructor for commercial and public radio and television stations in Missouri, Kansas and Florida.

Ms. Green-Townsend has received the prestigious Edward R. Murrow  Award from the Radio and Television Digital News Association as well as other state and regional journalism awards. She recently completed nearly 31 years at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications where she was a WUFT multimedia news manager and taught Advanced Radio Reporting.

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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