Lights! Camera! Arkansas!


From Broncho Billy to Billy Bob Thornton
Robert Cochran and Suzanne McCray
978-1-55728-672-7 (paper)
February 2015


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Bob Cochran and Suzanne McCray will be signing copies of Lights! Camera! Arkansas! at 2pm on March 8 at the Old State House Museum, and on May 17 at Books in Bloom in Eureka Springs.

Lights! Camera! Arkansas! traces the roles played by Arkansans in the first century of Hollywood’s film industry, from the first cowboy star, Broncho Billy Anderson, to Mary Steenburgen, Billy Bob Thornton, and many others. The Arkansas landscape also plays a starring role: North Little Rock’s cameo in Gone with the Wind, Crittenden County as a setting for Hallelujah (1929), and various locations in the state’s southeastern quadrant in 2012’s Mud are all given fascinating exploration.

Robert Cochran and Suzanne McCray screened close to two hundred films—from laughable box-office bombs to laudable examples of filmmaking -‑ in their research for this book. They’ve enhanced their spirited chronological narrative with an appendix on documentary films, a ratings section, and illustrations chosen by Jo Ellen Maack of the Old State House Museum, where Lights! Camera! Arkansas! debuted as an exhibit curated by the authors in 2013. The result is a book sure to entertain and inform those interested in Arkansas and the movies for years to come.

Robert Cochran has lived in Arkansas for thirty years and has produced many articles, books, and documentary films devoted to the arts in Arkansas, including Our Own Sweet Sounds: A Celebration of Popular Music in Arkansas and A Photographer of Note.

Suzanne McCray, a Fort Smith native, is a faculty member in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas and the Vice Provost of Enrollment.

“This tender, cogent, droll, and beautiful book reminds you of so much you never knew and makes you all the richer for it.”
—Gill Dennis, screenwriter for Walk the Line

“A valuable resource for anyone interested in Arkansas’s place in movie history.”
—Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“Not only will this book provide a welcomed foundation for appreciating and assessing Arkansas’ relationship to American filmmaking, it identifies a heritage that future filmmakers associated with this state will recognize as their own. Congratulations to the authors for a job well done.”
—Frank Milo Scheide, noted film scholar