Video biography of character film actor premiers at museum

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It's interesting that someone who knew little about Dub Taylor less than two years ago would make the definitive video biography of the character film actor that includes his early life in Augusta.

Mark Ezra Stokes, who teaches film at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga., will stage the world premiere of his video, That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor, at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Morris Museum of Art, 1 10th St.

"This is exciting and frightening to me at the same time," Mr. Stokes said last week.

Admission is free, and there is a reception at 6 p.m. to meet the people behind the video, including co-executive producers James Kicklighter and Kasey Ray-Stokes and several members of Mr. Taylor's family.

Taylor, born Walter Clarence Taylor Jr. in 1907 in Richmond, Va., died on Oct. 3, 1994, in Los Angeles at the age of 87. His last film appearance had been that year, playing a room clerk in the movie Maverick.

Dixie Carter, who worked with Taylor on two Designing Women TV episodes, and "Ranger Doug" Green, the lead vocalist of the Grand Ole Opry western trio Riders in the Sky, were among those videotaped by Mr. Stokes for the documentary.

Although many people do not recognize Taylor's name from several hundred movies and TV shows, they usually say, "Oh, that guy!" when seeing his photo, which is what inspired the documentary's title.

He was the grizzled prospector in the Hubba-Bubba bubble gum TV commercials, the derby hat-wearing, gruff-talking comedian in the TV series Hee Haw, Michael J. Pollard's father who turned in Bonnie and Clyde to lawmen in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde, and on TV was seen in 15 episodes of Little House on the Prairie and 36 episodes of Please Don't Eat the Daisies.

Taylor lived in Augusta on the Hill on Henry and Gardner streets from about 1917 to 1921 while his father was a cotton broker in the Exchange building at Reynolds and Eighth streets. He played drums while attending nearby Summerville Academy (later William Robinson school) on Williams Street, and his close friends included Ty Cobb Jr.

It was in Augusta that his childhood friends began calling him Dub because of his initials W.C. The first mention of his nickname in print apparently was in The Augusta Chronicle on June 5, 1921, when "Dub Taylor" was listed in a society article as attending a party at the home of young Andrew Perkins on the Hill.

Among those expected to attend the screening are Dub's son, Buck Taylor, a Western painter and actor who has been in many western films and who played Newly O'Brien on the TV series Gunsmoke for six years; and Buck's sons, Matt and Cooper Taylor, who are Hollywood stuntmen.

Matt Taylor earned an Emmy Award as stunt coordinator for an episode of Kiefer Sutherland's TV series 24. He was the stunt double for Mr. Sutherland on 24 as well as for Greg Kinnear in Little Miss Sunshine and Brad Pitt in The Mexican.

Cooper Taylor has performed stunts in several movies, including Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and The Patriot.

You can see trailers for Mr. Stokes' film by going to youtube.com and typing Dub Taylor into the search window, and you can read about the project at Mr. Stokes' site:thatdub.com.

Local western film experts Clyde Lester, a former Richmond County extension agent, and Mike Searles, an Augusta State University instructor, were videotaped for the project, as was I.

During a 1984 interview, I asked Mr. Taylor whether it bothered him that he never won an Oscar.

"I don't care about winning it," he replied. "I just want to be an actor who can play a lot of parts and make people believe them. I never have demanded top billing. Lionel Barrymore once told me, 'Don't worry about billing. If a picture is good, they'll know you. If it's bad, church is out, and it's all over.'"

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 36 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at don.rhodes@morris.com.

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ljc
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ljc 04/12/07 - 08:28 am
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I'm sure this will be a

I'm sure this will be a wonderful tribute to a GREAT character actor
(just saw him again in a movie the other day on TV & told my husband that he had lived in Augusta). We should be very proud that this is is being done in honor of yet another person from the CSRA who achieved fame.

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