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A Film You Should Know
Transcript of A Film You Should Know
By Kris Burks
Jesco, the Dancing Outlaw
Filmed in 1991
Directed by Jacob Young
Originally produced for West Virginia Public Television
1992 Emmy Award for Best Documentary
Won an American Film Institute Award
Official Selection at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival
D. Ray White
Director Jacob Young was originally going to make a documentary about mountain dancer, D. Ray White.
D. Ray had died a year earlier (1985) so Young filmed D. Ray's son, Jesco, who literally followed in his father's footsteps as the next mountain dancer. D. Ray had left his dancing shoes to
Norma Jean White
"Jessie can be three people: He is Jessie, he is Jesco,
and he is Elvis. Jessie is the most beautiful man I could
have ever loved. But Jesco, he is somebody else. He's
the devil in his self. But then when Elvis comes by, I
have to be silent and enjoy the music and the sounds
of Elvis, too."
~ Norma Jean White
Young found a bizarre family living poverty-stricken in Boone County, West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains.
Jesco has multiple personalities, has been jailed for theft and drugs, and was married to an older woman, Norma Jean.
"You talk about a warped mind, I got one."
~ Jesco White
I love "Dancing Outlaw" because it is funny (the entire family gets together to go "muddin') and sad at times (when the family talks about the death of their father.) It really gives an inside look at how people in the poorer parts of the Appalachian Mountains live. Jesco and his family seem like a simple, honest family who will help others when they can. Other times their way of life seems destructive with all the drug and alcohol consumption. The dancing scenes are an excellent example of old fashioned mountain dancing.
"D. Ray White - Cindy." N.p., 18 Jan. 2011. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://youtu.be/YqCOx0vYwe8>.
"Dancing Outlaw." Dir. Jacob Young. Perf. Jesco White. Different Drummer, 1991. DVD.
"Dancing Outlaw II: Jesco Goes to Hollywood." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2013. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0202310/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2>.
"Dancing Outlaw." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2013. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101655/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1>.
"Jesco White on Marriage." N.p., 19 Dec. 2011. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://youtu.be/wN6isfgccgE>.
"Jesco White on Sniffin'" N.p., 11 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://youtu.be/zNPvKsUltrA>.
"The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2013. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1396227/?ref_=nv_sr_1>.
"Dancing Outlaw" has had a cult following for many years. This documentary caught the attention of Rosanne Barr and Tom Arnold. Young made a second documentary called "Dancing Outlaw II: Jesco Goes to Hollywood" (1999) where he was to guest star on "Rosanne." A third documentary, one that is more serious, is called "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia." (2009) This goes more in depth about the drug use and life styles of the family in a year's time and was produced by Johnny Knoxville of "Jackass" fame.
Norma Jean White
An Early Picture of the White Family
Jesco went on to appear in the next two documentaries. Through the years he has appeared in several things including Beck's "Loser" video, voiced a character on "Squidbillies" (a cartoon on Adult Swim) and in the video game "Grand Theft Auto V." He has also been referenced in many country songs.
A 2009 movie, "White Lightnin'" is loosely based on his life.
Jesco can also be seen on tour across America.
Jesco in 2009
Cinematic Elements Used:
Archival Footage, Point-of-View shots, Close-ups, Extreme Close-ups, Indirect Interview techniques, Long shots, Medium shots, and Establishing shots.