The Quonset stood on the boundary of worlds that rarely mixed:
black and white, secular and sacred, known and unknown.
This 35-minute documentary chronicles the life of Bowling Green, Kentucky’s Quonset Auditorium, which served local legends and national stars during the entertainment boom after the Second World War.
Watch the 30 second trailer
Listen to WKU Public Radio feature by Rachel Hopkin
The film provides a glimpse into the lives of diverse entertainers, ranging from country, R&B and gospel musicians to professional wrestlers, whose paths intersected at the Quonset during a time when segregation was being challenged.
The Quonset was the first entertainment venue in Bowling Green open to both African-American and European-American audiences. It was also the first venue in the region with an integrated house band, drawing on talent from Joe Marshall and his Rovin’ Ramblers and the House Rockers, led by Robert Phillips.
The documentary shows how local entertainers have contributed to national history and will inspire discussion about social dynamics leading to the Civil Rights Movement, the politics of historic preservation, and the construction of public memory.
Featured interviewees and performers include:
Mary Ann Fisher (former singer with Ray Charles),
jazz luminary David “Fathead” Newman,
musician and promoter Joe Marshall, and his band Joe Marshall and the Rovin’ Ramblers,
local legends Robert Phillips and John Edmonds,
professional wrestlers Jackie Fargo and Jeanetta Collins, amongst others.
These entertainers also tell stories about others who shared the stage at the Quonset including:
cowboy movie star Sunset Carson,
musicians Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe, Ray Charles, James Brown and Memphis Slim,
child evangelist Marjoe Gortner,
professional wrestling icons Cora Combs and Sweet Georgia Brown.
Produced & Directed by Amber Ridington
The Kentucky Educational Television Fund for Independent Production
The Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. and the National Endowment for the Humanities
The Kern Family Trust
The Kentucky Oral History Commission
Bowling Green Municipal Utilities
Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) Film and Interactive Media Festival. 30th Annual, November 19, 2011, Montreal.
Louisville’s International Festival of Film. 3rd Annual from October 6th to 9th, 2011, Louisville
Kentucky Library and Museum community screening sponsored by the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology, Western Kentucky University. October 18, 2010, Bowling Green.
Louisville Visual Art Association (LVAA) community screening, October 17, 2010, Louisville.
American Folklore Society annual meeting, media session October 16, 2010, Nashville.