University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries
Law Library Films

LAW LIBRARY FILMS

The UGA Law Library has donated 16mm film, ¼" audiotape, and ¾" videotape of educational and unique items such as the 1939 film "The Green Hand".

In 1932, University of Georgia agriculture professor Paul W. Chapman wrote a novel about the Future Farmers of America (FFA), The Green Hand, in which joining FFA improved the life of a young delinquent, Fred Dale. In 1939, Sears-Roebuck & Co. sponsored the filmed version of The Green Hand and shot the film in Athens, Georgia, casting townfolk and university professors as its main characters. The main character, Fred Dale, is played by UGA sophomore Alpha Fowler, Jr., the son of a state legislator. A "big man on campus" in the 1940s, Fowler, Jr. went on to his own career as a state legislator. Other men prominent in Georgia and UGA agriculture appeared in the film (see cast below). Black & White, sound, 29 minutes.

The Athens Banner-Herald newspaper covered the film's premiere and preparations for the "several thousand" visitors expected in town, as well as coverage after the event, from January 9th through the 14th. Athens merchants gave away free tickets to Saturday screenings. The Friday, January 12 premiere was by invitation. Georgia's governor as well as the founder of the FFA were both in attendance. The premiere was broadcast over WGAU radio. Athens Mayor Bob McWhorter declared January 13, 1940 as "Future Farmers of America Day" in Athens.

The Media Archives holds two prints of the film, each edited in a slightly different way. One copy was donated to the university by UGA Agriculture professor Frank Flanders. The second copy was donated to the Law Library in 1989 by Isabella E. Shinn, the daughter of Athens attorney Henry Arthur Shinn who plays the prosecuting attorney in the film. That copy was sent to her father from Sears-Roebuck in Atlanta, who got it from the Venard Organization, the producer of the film.

This film is included in Rick Prelinger's The Field Guide to Sponsored Films, published in 2006 by the National Film Preservation Foundation with a grant from the Mellon Foundation. The book can be viewed and ordered from the National Film Preservation Foundation website.

Cast of The Green Hand:

  • Paul Chapman (author) as Prof. Marshall Anderson
  • M. D. Mobley (Georgia State Director of Vocational Education) as Walter Langford
  • Alpha Fowler, Jr. as Fred Dale
  • Mrs. J.W. Bailey as Fred's mother
  • Betty Johnson as Sally May Martin
  • Leo F. Johnson as Sally's father
  • W.R. Coile as the Judge of the Superior Court
  • G. P. Donaldson as Jack Lindsey
  • Ralph Shumake as Willard Henderson
  • Tommy Tucker, Jr. as Red Watterson
  • Dr. Milton P. Jarnigan as Wilson Dominick
  • Dr. Henry A Shinn as the Solicitor General
  • J. Hunter Wilson as Hiram Smithfield
  • Dr. O.C. Aderhold as Harold Locke
  • Scott Chamblee as Spike Bivins
  • Mrs. Neil McCordle as Nurse Shaw
  • C.H. Bishop as Judge Cason
  • Eddie Hawkins as George the Porter
  • Sheriff W.E. Jackson as the Sheriff

For information about this collection please contact Ruta Abolins at abolins@uga.edu or Margie Compton at margie@uga.edu.

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The Green Hand (1939) (29 min.) streaming video

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