Blow the Tannery Whistle (1994)

Playwrite Gary Carden writes....

Blow the Tannery Whistle is my story about growing up in
Appalachia. Since I was blessed—and afflicted—with a graphic memory, my tales are based on actual events. My father was a mountain musician who was killed by a local drunk when I was two years old. My mother left me on the front porch of my grandfather’s house and caught the bus for Knoxville. I was brought up by my grandparents in a house filled with the past. I listened to Grady Cole and Renfrow Valley on the radio while my grandfather tuned musical instruments and sang hymns from a shape-note songbook. There was always a great deal of foolishness about bad blood and black Irish curses.

I grew up with June Apple trees, cows, comic books, the Farmers’ Federation and Saturday movies. I told my first stories to white leghorn chickens in a dark chicken-house when I was six years old. My audience wasn’t attentive and tended to get hysterical during the dramatic parts.

+ Read more


For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Tom Davenport, Jonathan Hamilton, the distributor , or Folkstreams.

Film Details

  • Film by: Tom Davenport, Jonathan Hamilton
  • Produced by: Tom Davenport
  • Cinematographer: Jonathan Hamilton
  • Editor: Jonathan Hamilton with Thom Shepard
  • Other Credits: Raindrop Waltz performed by Ginny Hawker and Kay Justice
  • Funding: North Carolina Arts Council
  • Original Format: 8mm: Hi8 Video
  • ©1994, Tom Davenport
  • 34 mins, Color
  • Categories:
    FamilyNarrative & Verbal ArtsRegional Cultures