Sep 04, 2014

Columbia State Hosts Sergeant York Film Documentary

Photo Caption: Pictured: Sergeant Alvin C. York (left) and Jesse Lasky (right).

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Sept. 4, 2014) - - -
A special screening of "The Showman and the Hero" will take place Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. in Columbia State Community College's Cherry Theater. The documentary follows Hollywood producer, Jesse Lasky and his 20-year quest to make a movie about decorated World War I hero, Sergeant Alvin C. York of Pall Mall, Tennessee.

"'Sergeant York' has gone on to reach iconic status," said Greg Mewbourn, assistant professor of history. "Fans of this film, history students, or those interested in the film industry will no doubt enjoy this insightful glimpse into the roots of the film and the lives of the men behind its creation."

Dr. John White, filmmaker and Columbia State alumnus, and Dr. Michael Birdwell, Alvin C. York scholar and Tennessee Tech University professor of history, will present the documentary which details the determined efforts of Lasky.

The documentary was written and produced by White, in collaboration with Birdwell and filmmakers Don Hooper and Craig Tollis. "The Showman and the Hero" has appeared on Tennessee public television stations and is being screened at selected venues.

White earned a master's degree from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a doctorate from Auburn University. He has written and produced radio and television shows for public broadcasting, and he is a published historian and novelist. His latest book, "No Kin to Elvis," is loosely based on his boyhood in Columbia and is available at Barnes and Noble and

Birdwell, an expert on York, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from TTU and a doctorate from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He has also worked with the Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation as the curator of the Alvin C. York papers.

The screening is sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges. A panel discussion including White, Birdwell and members of Columbia State's history faculty will follow the presentation of the film.

The Cherry Theater is in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus, located at 1665 Hampshire Pike. The event is free and open to the public.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee's first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit

Tennessee's Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at

# # #