Locals celebrate 75th anniversary of The Yearling

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of “The Yearling” movie, the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm will host a reception and movie showing this weekend with actor Claude Jarman Jr., who starred in the film as Jody Baxter.

Rawlings published The Yearling in 1938 and won the Pulitzer Prize the next year.

Before long, Hollywood began planning a movie. MGM acquired the rights and started filming, but the company had to stop the production before restarting in 1945, according to Barbara Wingo, president of the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm.

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The organization, which supports the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, will hold the reception on Saturday with the film showing on Sunday at the Marion Theatre in Ocala.

Wingo said the reception sold out of all 120 tickets weeks before the event.

Jarman will speak about the filming process in Florida along with others who helped with production, including Bobby Randall who served as Jarman’s double.

“I think people are quite excited,” Wingo said. “The actual reception turned out to be, obviously, extremely popular.”

The reception will also include a sneak peak at a documentary about the process of making “The Yearling” while in Florida.

Jarman will also participate in an interview before the Sunday showing of the movie at the Marion Theatre, a 1940s venue in Ocala. Wingo said around 50 tickets are still available for the movie. Doors open at 12:30 p.m., the stage interview will start at 1:30 p.m. and the movie begins at 2:20 p.m.

The interview will happen before the showing and discuss behind the scenes of the movie process. At the showing, Jarman will also be selling his autobiography, My Life and the Final Days of Hollywood.

“He is a very articulate, interesting person, by the way,” Wingo said.” So it is going to be a lot of fun as well as extremely informative.”

“The Yearling” was nominated for seven Oscars and won two for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. Gregory Peck also won a Golden Globe for Best Actor. Jarman also received a special honorary Academy Juvenile Award for his performance.

“[The movie] certainly, in some ways, put this area on the map,” Wingo said.

All the funds from ticket sales will go to the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, and Wingo said those funds flow back into the state park as part of the organization’s mission.

One of the organization’s goals is to build a park visitor center that would inform guests about the citrus industry in the area as well as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her time in Cross Creek.

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