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Adair County's Major Film Actors

This article first appeared in issue 18, and was written by Ed Waggener.

Ralph Childers improves Dante's Peak

Ralph Childers, the son of Allene Burton Sweenney, was in Dante's Peak, which stars Pierce Brosnan and is now in video stores everywhere. Childers was once a student at Lindsey Wilson in 1960-61. He now lives in Spokane, Washington; Wallace, Idaho; and in Colorado, according to his aunt, Elaine Burton Cooley of Louisville. He operates a chain of nail salons, and that is why he has to move around so much. The locale for Dante's Peak was Wallace, and almost all the townspeople were in it. Childers and his wife were both extras and can be seen in several frames. He is most easily recognizable, Aunt Elaine says, in the town meeting where the townspeople are being told of the danger from the volcano. "He's wearing a blue shirt," Mrs. Cooley says, "and he's right up front, standing there as big as Ike." The Childerses are in other scenes, but are not as easy to recognize. Childers is also the nephew of Vaughn and Kay Burton of Christine, and Marcella McQueary of Louisville. Oh, yes, the Childerses did receive pay for his work.

Joe Flowers raw acting talent shines in Steel

Joe Flowers was in Steel (1980) with fellow Kentuckians William Conrad and Lee Majors.

Mr. Flowers was at UK when the picture was being made. "I went up to the Continental Inn on New Circle Road for the audition," he remembers, "and they saw the raw acting talent in me before others recognized it. They wanted me in the movie."

He was in a crowd scene on UK's campus, standing under the Patterson Office Tower. The tower had steel girders extending its height. In one scene, a steel worker was supposed to fall from the heights into an air cushion. J. Bakunas, the stuntman, executed the fall perfectly, but the air cushion split on impact, and he was killed. The movie was dedicated to his memory.

He received no money for his services, but he did have the satisfaction of being a part of Kentucky cinema history.

When not acting, Flowers is the United States mail carrier for Columbia Rural Route 5, which serves Greater 206, clean up into the Green River Country.

He is also a highly decorated member of the Blue Ribbon Bear Board.

Jeff & Michael J.

Jeff Keltner, the son of James Howard and the late Betty Hagan Keltner, played in a Michael J. Fox film. He was an extra who lifted a girl onto a bar. He is in 3 scenes in the movie and 1 or 2 in the video.

Larry Ervin brilliant in Harlem Nights

Larry Ervin or Columbia appears in Harlem Nights, told us, David Pyles reports. Joe Collins said that Ervin is the chauffeur who puts the money in the trunk of mobster Bugsy Calhoun's car and closes the deck lid.

Larry Ervin, a mortician, once thought of starting a funeral home at the old Church of Christ on Jamestown Street. He was in Los Angeles when he was an extra in the film. The film has been reviewed several times by the Columbia! film critics, who agree that nobody could have put money in the trunk of a mobster's car than Ervin did.

This story was posted on 1997-12-24 12:01:01
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