Monday, October 8, 2018

Sergt. Alvin C. York's Heroic Deeds to Be Put in Movies -- October 8, 2018

Literary Digest, 11-June-1919
One hundred years ago today, on 08-October-1918, Corporal Alvin C York performed a remarkable deed.  

I don't remember what class I was in at San Francisco State, but we were talking about conscientious objectors and someone brought up Alvin C York.  One person said "How can a conscientious objector serve in the military and kill 20 people and capture hundreds?"  I said "He changed his mind."  Or, did I first say "He surrounded them"?  People back home didn't hear much about York's accomplishment until after the war.  

Despite what the article says, he didn't allow a movie to be made about his life until the 1941 biopic Sergeant York, which starred Gary Cooper.  

This article is from the 16-June-1919 Chattanooga News.

Sergt. Alvin C. York's Heroic Deeds to Be Put in Movies
Superman of Argonne Forest Arranges With New York Concern to Make a Picture of His Life and Deeds.

E. A, Kellogg, secretary of the Tennessee society in New York, in a telegram to the Nashville Banner, confirms the story published in The News a few days ago aa to the reproduction of Sergt. Alvin C. York's deeds of heroism on the screen. The Banner says:

"Plans for the filming of an historic picture by Sergt. Alvin York are outlined in a telegram received by the Banner from E. A. Kellogg, secretary of the Tennessee Society of New York and acting secretary for York in his financial matters.

"The name of the picture, according to Mr. Kellogg, is to be "The Divine Call." It will be staged in East Tennessee and France, some of the scenes to be laid in the Argonne forest, where York routed the German machine gun battalion.

"Mr. Kellog's telegram to the Banner follows:

"Alvin York. Monday. May 26, in New York made an agreement with certain Tennessee society members for a $50,000 loan on his personal notes at legal rate of interest, the money to be used exclusively to produce an historic five-reel picture, of which Alvin York would own 100 per cent. The name of the picture will be "The Divine Call," director, Alexander Frank.

"Over a dozen large picture distributors here want the distribution of films. The subject was thoroughly gone over with two large companies.

To Write Books.

"Should he make any profit York hopes to privately acquire an education, and afterward devote his entire life to writing books on military strategy, to be given freely to his country exclusively. York was told by many generals and deeply impressed that he possesses natural talent of military strategy, a gift of the Creator that had never been seen by generals in any other man. He thinks he should cultivate the talent for his country's future protection, so what he writes will be given to the government to be used exclusively at West Point if found worthy. York is not Interested in politics or money and not a religious crank, is pictured, but a square boy, level-headed, possessing a wonderful insight into the future. On account of being so extremely quiet many semi-big men coming in close contact with him overlook the important fact that be just naturally thinks faster than they do. Remember, in thirty little minutes in his great life he out-figured 157 Germans. Therefore, after our conference, May 25, we seasoned New Yorkers listened to his arguments, decided York was capable of traveling anywhere and finding the way home. we requested the governor to keep camera men from York simply because it made it easier for York, but not because we doubted York. Soon York comes here for a short business trip, then returns to East Tennessee with camera men, director and cashier to start his picture. Some French scenes have been promised by Washington. Still he will likely make a hurried trip to the Argonne for special details."

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