[Studs Terkel talks about Joe and Gaynell Begley]

A 1999 interview with Studs Terkel about Joe and Gaynell Begley's C.B. Caudill country store in Blackey, Kentucky. The Begleys had been included in Terkel's books Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression and American Dreams: Lost and Found.

00:00Copy video clip URL The video begins with some older footage of Terkel being interviewed. The audio is inaudible.

00:03Copy video clip URL Cut to some footage of the crew and Terkel preparing for the interview and making small talk.

02:43Copy video clip URL Dee Davis asks Terkel about his friendship with Joe and Gaynell Begley. Terkel carefully recounts how he met the couple and describes his first trip down to Blackey, Kentucky. Terkel tells the story like it happened yesterday. In the middle of Terkel’s response, the crew has to stop shooting because of a bumble bee almost stinging one of the crew members. After the brief recess, Terkel gets right back into the story.

05:57Copy video clip URL Terkel and crew take another quick recess as a car drives by, but then quickly get back into the story. Terkel talks about the general store that Joe and Gaynell Begley owned called C.B. Caudill. He states that the store was a pillar of support for the surrounding community. Terkel goes on to quote Joe Begley from his book, American Dreams. He then quotes Gaynell Begley from the same book. It is very apparent that Terkel regards their story very highly, carefully relaying the Begleys’ thoughts and statements to the camera, as if the story was his own.

13:52Copy video clip URL Davis asks Terkel to read the passage from his book one more time because of a plane flying overhead during the previous take. Terkel and the crew make a little small talk before Terkel begins to re-read Gaynell Begley’s quote.

17:12Copy video clip URL Davis asks Terkel about Blackey, Kentucky and his perspective on community within that town. Terkel speaks of the town and its people with much reverence. “Joe and Gaynell represent more than just Appalachian people. They represent, I think highly educated, in the best sense of the word, people as to what our lives are all about, and sense of community. They share something with Albert Einstein. You see, Einstein and they felt the same way: that community is what it’s about. Individual is very important. Individual strength is increased as is part of a community, not diminished as the political primitives would say.” Terkel then goes on to once again quote Joe Begley and seems to enjoy every minute of it.

22:01Copy video clip URL Davis asks Terkel about Blackey and the Caudill store and the town’s representation of what America was in the past. Terkel states that Blackey represents what America ideally was at the time. Terkel goes into a little more detail about the town and compares Joe and Gaynell Begley to the likes of Thomas Payne and Sam Adams. The cameraman then asks Terkel whether alcohol was sold in Blackey. Terkel explains that while the town didn’t sell liquor, one would get drunk off of Joe and Gaynell Begley’s words.

24:17Copy video clip URL Davis asks Terkel about the notion of Caudill General Store being a gathering place for many of the townspeople. Terkel describes the store as being a place that many of the townspeople depend on and seek refuge in.

25:22Copy video clip URL The interview ends and Terkel talks about the piece on Blackey with the crew. The conversation continues as Davis and Terkel make small talk. The cameraman, Tom Weinberg, eventually gets a shot of Terkel reading from his book at a few different angles.

29:15Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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