by Garrison Keillor, THE HAYLOFT GANG: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL BARN DANCE tells the story of a changing America,
through the lens of one of the nation's most popular country music radio shows
during the 1930s and 40s: The National
National Barn Dance Cast circa 1937, courtesy of Kevin Parks
every Saturday night on WLS-AM out of Chicago, the variety show unified rural
Americans with its nostalgic brand of traditional folk music and country humor,
and helped define an identity for a struggling generation. From its first
broadcast in 1924 to its last in 1960, The National Barn Dance served as a touchstone for rural citizens
unsure of the future, or homesick transplants confronting the city.
and serving this newfound audience, The National
Barn Dance was a marketing pioneer, making millions for sponsors like
Alka Seltzer. Moreover, it launched national superstars such as Gene Autry, Patsy Montana, Bradley Kincaid,
Andy Williams, George Gobel, Pat Buttram, and Lulu Belle & Scotty.
Patsy Montana signing autographs, courtesy of Michael Montana
A Note From the Filmmaker
After more than seven years
of hard work, THE HAYLOFT GANG is nearly complete. We are however left with some significant costs for final post production and the initial distribution of the program. We need your
help. If you recognize the importance and value in telling the story of The
National Barn Dance, please help support the completion of this crucial film.
Our Kickstarter Goal is to raise
$25,000. This money will allow us to complete our final post-
production and distribution to PBS. These fees include, engineering labor, technical evaluation, closed captioning, final color correction and sound mix, mastering to HD and delivery to PBS. If we can raise more, that would be
fabulous! Our hope from the
beginning has always been to make the film available to audiences beyond public
television. This would include use in the classroom, a series of public
screenings and discussions, and home video. We also know there is a
European market that is hungry for programming about American roots music.
Unfortunately, the staggering costs of clearing and licensing music rights,
prevents us from seeking other avenues of distribution at this time. If
our Kickstarter campaign is a success, we hope it will provide the catalyst to make The
Hayloft Gang available to much wider and diverse audiences.
Thank you for you support,
Stephen Parry, Producer