Comments about ‘'A Reel Legacy' tells story of LDS Church's early film efforts’

Return to article »

Published: Monday, Nov. 26 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
The Dixie Kid
Saint George, UT

Wait, I thought Richard Dutcher was the father of Mormon cinema.


is this going to be on byutv? That was an interesting story.

SLC gal
Salt Lake City, UT

Dixie - Richard Dutcher blew the typical "LDS film" onto the big screen, but I remember seeing "Pioneers In Petticoats", and "Johnnie Lingo" long before "Gods Army". Very timeless films with timeless messages (all respect to Dutcher, his work is great!!)

Layton, UT

I think the original suggestion that Dutcher was a pioneer in film was sarcastic. Dutcher's ego inflated to epic proportions after the success of his first work, and after making a number of lds films that were too "worldly" for LDS sensibilities he went off into obscurity to pursue nonLDS filmmaking.

This article was interesting, though. I always loved "Man's Search for Happiness", as a kid, it always made me think--especially when the girl drops that doll and breaks it.

When I saw that that the filmmaker came from Disney, I thought perhaps it was going to refer to Don Bluth. Interesting that Whitaker was in with Disney and didn't get a chance to experience the Booming financial success that came from it. It seems like a lot of big LDS families and folks have stories like that... starting with the whole California Gold rush... :)

Bakersfield, CA

I, too, enjoyed many of those pioneer films and reveled in the atmosphere of my plains ancestors, thanks to the dedication of these professionals.

I do wish, however, that more attention would be paid to the script content and factual details. There still remains to be made a film of accuracy on the complete life of Joseph Smith- sans the emotional violins and with the plural wives. I'm thinking sooner than later, lest Trey Parker and Matt Stone beat you to it...

David P.
Livermore, CA

I have a "double-sided" Question: Maybe someone knows the answer??

This article referred to the "BYU Motion Picture Studio".
This studio is now known as the "LDS Motion Picture Studio".

When the "LDS Radio Network" was transferred from Bonneville International
to BYU, it's name was Changed to the "BYU Radio Network". The word "network"
has since been dropped and so has the "LDS flavored" Gospel Music in favor of
"secular type" talking type radio. It still appears at channel 980 on the
Dish Network, in the middle of all the Music/audio only channels on the satellite
service.. The "Music" channel is missed. Not too many places to find the
"softer sounding" LDS Gospel type Music.

The Question is: Why did the Motion Picture Studio Flip its name from "BYU" to "LDS"
and the Radio service Flip its name from "LDS" to "BYU"??

So much Flip/Flopping.

West Hills, CA

I am highly skeptical that this documentary will accurately depict the hard work and creative adventures of those founding members of the BYU Motion Picture Studio. I say this because the filmmaker, Thomas Laughlin never approached one of the key veterans of the Judge Whitaker era to give his voice to the film, and that would be my Father, Douglas Johnson.

My Father, was one of the first employees that Judge Whitaker hired in 1960, others included Frank Wise, Robert Stum, Scott Whitaker (Judge's brother) and Irwin Goodman.

My Father's job in those first 10 years (1960's) was to head up the Art Department at the Studio and became one of the major individual creative forces that was enlisted in by Judge Whitaker, and was a great influence in crafting that early content.

Any telling of the history of the BYU Motion Picture Studio without the input of my Father, Douglas Johnson, would be a biased, incomplete history at best and disingenuous propaganda at worst.

I would suggest that Thomas Laughlin look past those who might manipulate history so easily. It is a great history and an inspired story to hear, the complete telling unfortunately, still seems to elude us.

Kaysville, UT

Although I have not yet seen the documentary, I cannot say enough good about those who worked at the BYU Motion Picture Studio. They are deserving of any good said about them. Having worked there in the 1970s, I was privileged to know and rub shoulders with these people. They were humble, talented, and devoted people. It was a honor to know and work with them. I look forward to seeing this movie. As mentioned above, by bdj, Douglas Johnson, Frank Wise, Robert Stum, Scott Whitaker, Irwin Goodman, and others like Lynn Bishop, Irene Fuja, Gary Kapp (and too many others to mention), were part of this wonderful legacy. I hope that someday an in depth history might be written of these dedicated church motion picture pioneers.


I'm just curious how you know for certain that Mr. Laughlin never approached you father? I don't know exactly how old you father is, but he is almost certainly in his 80s. It wouldn't be unthinkable that he was in his 90s or triple digits. Might it be that your father turned him down and forgot about it? I can think of numerous other scenarios where you might just not know the details. Your posting is so strident and hostile in tone that I'm wondering why you are so sure and what the backgroudn might be for you feeling that way.

West Hills, CA

You are correct about my father's age, he just turned 80 this year. He is very much alive, of very sound mind and not difficult to find. I know that Mr. Laughlin did not approach my father because my father told me so when I asked him last night.

Layton, UT

bdj, You are correct, your father was not approached, not on purpose, but to be frank we had over 100 pole that we could have interviewed for this documentary, and because of the small budget and time-frame, we interviewed 17 people in three days. We also spent weeks working with Judge's family directly, who provided photos, stories, and more "in depth" stories and direction for us to go in the documentary. We also interviewed the "first" person Judge hired, to help, Wally Barrus, back in 1953, when he arrived in Utah, who provided many first projects accounts for us. Doug was hired a few years later, and his service, as well as the services rendered of countless others, will never be forgotten.

Layton, UT

bdj - Many people who had worked with Judge, who we wanted to interview, felt it was too tender of an experience for them to go back and recount, so they provided photos and stories as well. The reality we also faced was, thousands could've been interviewed, and with the films they all worked on, the lack of history that was preserved, and some that still does, we fought and did the best we could, though it's not a 5 hour film. bdj - our apologies

Layton, UT

bdj - and one more note, this was not a "final authority" documentary, or a "final word", this documentary was made to help preserve the memory and efforts of Judge and Scott Whitaker, to get the dialogue going again, to re-call them into our remembrance, and celebrate the lives and legacy they left. So many unsung heroes in this history and in this documentary. with every effort made, they're always be critics and we appreciate the feedback thanks, tom

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments