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PUBLIC BROADCASTING STATIONS TO OFFER BENTON FILM

 COLUMBIA, Md., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- "Tom Benton's Missouri," the story of one of America's greatest muralists and perhaps his greatest work of art, will be broadcast on PBS stations across Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 12:30 p.m. eastern.
 The 28-minute film is the story of a mural painted by Thomas Hart Benton in the House Lounge, a large meeting room in the state capitol in Jefferson City. Benton had returned to Missouri after years in New York and abroad, and he was determined to create a lasting legacy on the walls of his native state's Capitol. The film depicts not only the state's history according to Benton's mural, but the nation's transformation from pioneer days through the Great Depression.
 The mural was commissioned by the Missouri General Assembly in 1936. Benton, who had gained fame for his vivid regionalist paintings and murals, told legislators that the state needed its own "Social History of Missouri."
 Benton battled both the heat of an oppressive Missouri summer and interruptions by concerned legislators, applying his egg-based paint in painstaking detail. He depicted the everyday lives of Missourians, from the earliest settlers to St. Louis factory workers, from the mythology of Mark Twain to the reality of Kansas City's Boss Pendergast. The film captures Benton's colorful vision, documenting his rise in the art world and following him through the mural's creative process and the stormy reception it received. (Benton's other major murals are in New York; Independence, Mo.; Kansas City; Nashville; Bloomington, Ind.; New Britain, Conn.; Washington, D.C.; Massena, N.Y.; and Niagara Falls, N.Y.)
 The film will be broadcast by WKMA (channel 35), Louisville; WKLE (36), Lexington; WKGB (53), Bowling Green; WCVN (54), Covington; WKZT (23), Elizabethtown; WKMA (35), Madison; WKMR (38), Morehead; WKMU (21), Murray; WKOH (31), Owensboro; WKON (52), Owenton; WKPD (29), Paducah; WKPI (22), Pikeville; and WKSO (29), Somerset.
 "Tom Benton's Missouri" is narrated by Benton himself, through excerpts from interviews concerning the mural. Additional commentary is provided by historian Bob Priddy. "Huckleberry Finn," "Jesse James" and other ballads by folk musician Bob Dyer are featured on the soundtrack, along with the classic jazz of Count Basie and Jimmie Lunceford. The film was co-produced by Frank Fillo, executive producer of University of Missouri System film and video productions, and James Bogan, art professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla. It recently won the top prize at the Great Plains Film Festival in Lincoln, Neb. Festival judge Richard Schickel, film critic for Time magazine, wrote that "Tom Benton's Missouri" is "an excellent film."
 For further information about this production, call Fillo at 314-882-0603 or Bogan at 314-341-4755. Copies of the film are available on videotape from Films for the Humanities. Call 1-800-257-5126 to order.
 -0- 1/4/93
 /CONTACT: Frank Fillo of UM System, 314-882-0603/


CO: University of Missouri System ST: Kentucky IN: ENT SU:

SM -- NY058 -- 1346 01/04/93 13:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 4, 1993
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