Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Mammoth Media Circus

William Burke “Skeets” Miller, a journalist with the Louisville Courier-Journal, won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Floyd Collins, the central Kentucky cave explorer who was trapped in the winter of 1925 some 55 feet below ground in Sand Cave, part of the Mammoth Cave Complex. But you can bet it was a bittersweet honor, as the man Miller chronicled and several times visited during the ordeal died 14 days after first getting ensnared January 31st.

Ninety years later, a Kentucky documentary filmmaker is set to premiere his exploration of the tragedy, which held a nation morbidly enthralled via daily newspaper dispatches and the nascent technology of broadcast radio. Michael Crisp's The Death of Floyd Collins premieres Friday, February 27th at the Theaters of Georgetown and screens again Saturday and Sunday.

From a recent report in the Georgetown News Graphic :

“Almost all the interviews were with folks down there at Sand Cave who have some connection to Collins,” Crisp said. Among the interviewees is Mildred Collins, 90, who was a niece of Collins and heard the story from her elders. The documentary also includes six to seven minutes from a 1925 newsreel.

It was initially decided to leave Collins' body in the cave; when that decision was reversed, it led to the body briefly being stolen before finally resting, on public display, at nearby Crystal Cave, which Collins claimed discovery of in 1917.

Crisp's two previous documentaries were about a 1958 eastern Kentucky school bus crash and a tobacco “chopper” in Scott County.

[Poster via: Facebook]

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