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BPC instructor directs documentary about

Western film actor from Augusta

BPC Drama Instructor Mark Stokes interviews Dixie Carter at her Tennessee home
Brewton-Parker College professor Mark Stokes, at left, interviews actress Dixie Carter (center) at her Tennessee home for the documentary he’s directing about Western film actor and Augusta, Ga. native Walter Clarence “Dub” Taylor. Also pictured is Assistant Director/Executive Producer James Kicklighter. (Photo provided by Mark Stokes)

By Kelley M. Arnold

Director of News

and Public Information

MOUNT VERNON—What started out as an itch to quench a nagging curiosity has turned into a full-time occupation—or “obsession” as he calls it—and the possibility for greater – much greater – things for Brewton-Parker College Instructor Mark Stokes.

Stokes, a drama and film studies instructor and BPC alumnus (’03), is in the middle of filming a ground-breaking documentary about Walter Clarence “Dub” Taylor, a Western film actor from Augusta, Ga. Taylor is credited with acting in more than 500 films and television shows, and was most well-known for his portrayal as Michael J. Pollard’s double-crossing father in Bonnie & Clyde.

However, most who’ve seen Taylor on film never remember his name after the credits roll. The well-respected character actor, with an active, six-decade career, never played a lead role in a major motion picture.

“He pops up in everything,” Stokes said.

Dub Taylor, a late career photo Dub Taylor, an early career photo

Walter Clarence "Dub" Taylor, promotional portraits from the early and late part of his acting career.

(Photos provided by Mark Stokes)

Taylor’s last role was a cameo in the 1994 blockbuster, Maverick, starring Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson.

Taylor’s recurrence in popular films without gaining notoriety among the average American movie-goer is what fascinated Stokes in the first place. The Ludowici, Ga. native first heard Taylor’s name last spring from former Ga. State Rep. Roger Byrd, who’s now BPC’s Director of Alumni Relations and an executive producer on the film.

“(Byrd) is the biggest film buff in the world,” Stokes said. “Like most people, I had no idea who he was talking about, and then he showed me a picture of him, and I was like, ‘Oh, that guy.’ In fact, that’s what everyone says about him when they see him: ‘Oh, that guy.’ And that’s going to be the name of the film: That Guy,” Stokes said.

“That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor” will premiere in Taylor’s hometown of Augusta April 14, 2007 at the Morris Museum of Art. Stokes’ “rough cut” is due later this month to Christa Maerker, a documentary filmmaker in Germany who also serves as his advisor for the project.  Stokes is currently completing his thesis screenplay for an MFA in Screenwriting at Hollins University (Roanoke, Va.), and this film is part of his coursework.

This low budget film (only about $20,000 so far) is taking Stokes and his assistant director/co-executive producer, James Kicklighter (another South Georgia native), big places. So far, they have interviewed several of Taylor’s friends and co-workers, including Don Collier, Dixie Carter, the Grammy-winning Riders in the Sky and Cheryl Rogers-Barnett (daughter of Roy Rogers). The project has already received affirmation from several in the film industry, including Peter Fonda and Bill Cosby. 

 “We’ve had an amazing response about the project. Now we’re talking to stations like PBS and the Western Channel about picking (the film) up.”

Another unique feature of this film is that the feature-length documentary is counted as the first in-depth look at a man who most in the industry knew and respected, Stokes said, but was content to stay out of the limelight.

Dub Taylor'

Brewton-Parker College professor Mark Stokes interviewed Dub Taylor’s son, Buck Taylor for his first documentary, “That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor”. Shown with Buck Taylor after the interview are Assistant Director/Executive Producer James Kicklighter, from left, Production Assistant Kasey Ray, Taylor, Stokes and East Coast Unit Director of Photography Chris Clark.

(Photo provided by Mark Stokes)

"(Taylor) didn’t want awards; that wasn’t his goal. He just wanted to make enough money to support his family and his hobbies – hunting and fishing,” Stokes said. “His family has been very supportive (of the film) and his son, Buck, a western artist, is interviewed in the film. Both grandsons, who are highly-respected stunt men in the industry, want to interview with us in L.A.”

To help fund the project, and future projects of its kind at BPC and the surrounding area, Toombs-Montgomery County Board of Tourism received a $10,000 state Department of Community Affairs’ community assistance grant thanks to “a lot of help” from Byrd, Stokes said. The grant has been used to purchase filming and editing equipment for the school, and Stokes is the first to take advantage of it.

Byrd explains the grant was initiated in the House by Rep. Greg Morris of Vidalia and assisted by Rep. Ron Stephens of Chatham County. Morris and Stephens’ wife are BPC alumni.

“Through the assistance of our legislative delegates and the community, we are able to showcase the talents of Mark Stokes and present to the public a story that needs telling – Dub Taylor, this great Georgian who’s been somewhat overlooked in his career,” Byrd said.

-BPC-

 

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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
 
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
 
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM