A lifelong dream…a factually accurate documentary of the Dark Corner

For years, I have wanted to produce a top quality, serious documentary of the Dark Corner, which would tell its rich history of mountain culture and show its intrinsic scenic beauty. Being one person, and not having a production outfit, made this a monumental task. Yet it remained my “impossible dream.”

Then, early in 2007, completely out of the blue, I received a phone call from a young gentleman who said that he and a partner were very desirous of doing a factually accurate documentary of the Dark Corner. I asked, “How in the world do you know about the Dark Corner?”

“My name is Bryan Tankersley,” he said, “and although I didn’t grow up in the Corner, members of my family were very prominent up in…” “Gap Creek and River Falls,” I interrupted. “Your family was on both sides of the moonshine question. About half of them made it, and one was a very well-known revenuer that people called ‘Tank’, if I’m not mistaken.” “That’s right,” he said.

I asked a number of other questions, including who he had already talked to about the area. “The South Carolina Room at the Hughes Library and several other people,” he said, “but virtually everyone we’ve talked to has said ‘if you’re going to do something on the Dark Corner, you have to talk to Dean Campbell, the Squire.’ They said you’re the one who can tell us where everything is and why it’s important.”

“What’s the name of your production company,” I asked. “Dark Corner Films,” he replied. “We all know something about the Dark Corner and I have a personal tie to it. That whole area is such a scenic place and it’s so rich in history going all the way back to the ancient Indians who were here even before the Cherokee came. It’s a favorite topic of Campbell Walters, our director, who wants very badly to do a historical treatment on it. Can you help us?”

I said, “Tell you what, let me look at some of your work to see how creative you are, then let me take all of you on an extended tour of the area. We’ll be able to get off the main roads and I can show you some things that I don’t normally get to show on my regular tours.” “Great,” he said. “we have a large Jeep that will accommodate all five of us.”

A few days later, we took a tour that lasted almost five hours with no stop for lunch. Everything I had to show them and tell them about was met with rapt attention. Finally, I said, “Okay, if you’re serious…” “We are,” they said in unison.

That’s how the association and lengthy journey toward the final documentary began. I will tell you more in subsequent blogs.

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