Yellow Springs and The Arts
A sampling of people in the arts that came from or through Yellow Springs, Ohio
|This is a work in progress. This is not intended to be a
complete listing, but a reasonable
representation of major contributors to the arts community who were also residents of the
town. Please email
any corrections, updates, additions, or suggestions to Tim Eschliman at
- Rod Serling (writer of teleplays & films, Antioch
- Rod Serling, one of television's most prolific writers, is best known for his
science fiction television series, The Twilight Zone. He believed that the role of the writer was to
"menace the public conscience." Throughout his life Serling used radio, television, and film as
"vehicles of social criticism."
Serling enrolled under the G.I. Bill of Rights at Antioch College. In the late 1940s Antioch was
famous for loose social rules and a unique work-study curriculum. Serling was stimulated by the
liberal intellectual environment and began to feel "the need to write, a kind of compulsion to get
some of my thoughts down." He was also inspired by the words of Unitarian educator Horace Mann,
first president of Antioch College, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for
humanity." Serling would later feature these words and a rendition of Antioch's Horace Mann statue
in the 1962 Twilight Zone episode, "Changing of the Guard." His first writings were short stories,
mostly about the war. In "Transcript of the Legal Proceedings in the Case of the Universe Versus
War" a heavenly trial was conducted with Euripedes as prosecutor, Julius Caesar as lawyer for the
defense, God as judge, and a jury of twelve angels.
During his first year at Antioch, Serling met his future wife Carol Kramer. The liberal environment
at Antioch, which had Unitarian connections going back nearly a century, helped Rod and Carol to
shed their family religious traditions (Protestant and Jewish) and to accept Unitarianism as a
Serling won Emmys for three early teleplays: Patterns, 1955; Requiem for a Heavyweight, 1956; and
The Comedian, 1957. His message in Patterns was that "every human being has a minimum set of ethics
from which he operates. When he refuses to compromise these ethics, his career must suffer, when he
does compromise them, his conscience does the suffering." Serling wrote or adapted 99 of the 156
Twilight Zone episodes. The series ran for five years and won him two Emmys.
In 1962, Serling accepted a year long teaching position at Antioch college. He felt that he needed
to "regain my perspective, to do a little work and spend the rest of my time getting acquainted with
my wife and children." At Antioch he taught writing, drama, and a survey course about the "social
and historical implications of the media." A clippings archive of his letters to editors and
published thoughts in newspapers exists in The Antiochiana Collection at Antioch College.
After saying, "television has left me tired and frustrated" Serling began to write more movie
scripts. Seven Days in May, 1964, showed Serling's passion for nuclear disarmament and peace. He
tackled racism and anthropocentrism in the movie adaptation of Pierre Boulle's The Planet of the
Apes, 1968. At the same time Serling continued to write for television. The Loner, 1965-1966, and
Night Gallery, 1970-1973, however, left Serling bitter. He had little creative control and said of
Night Gallery, "It is not mine at all. It's another species of a formula series drama."
-- excerpts from an article by
- Herb Gardner (playwright & director, Antioch
The Herb Gardner play "A Thousand Clowns" (1962, starring Jason Robards, who also starred in the film
version) was nominated for a Tony Award
for Best Play and Mr. Gardner won the Variety Critics Poll as Outstanding New Playwright that year.
"I'm Not Rappaport" won the Outer Critics Award, the John Gassner Award and the Tony Award for Best
Play. "Conversations with My Father" was the runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1992.
Herb Gardner's work often focuses on contemporary urban people trying to find equilibrium in a crazy
world, Herb Gardner has enjoyed more success in the theater than in motion pictures. His first work,
"A Thousand Clowns", about a TV writer who drops out to care for his nephew, proved successful on
both Broadway (in 1962) and film (1965). For his seamless adaptation of his original comedy, Gardner
earned an Academy Award nomination.
The Brooklyn native began his career as a commercial artist and also created and wrote a comic
strip called "The Nebbishes" for eight years. Following the success of "A Thousand Clowns", Gardner
wrote and directed "The Goodbye People," wrote the play, "Thieves" and was lyricist and book writer
for the musical, "One Night Stand". His richer, autobiographical "Conversations With My Father"
(1992) was also a Broadway success, fueled partly by Judd Hirsch's lead performance.
For the big screen, Gardner produced and wrote the cult hit "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is
He Saying All Those Terrible Things About Me?" (1971) with Dustin Hoffman. Gardner made his feature
directorial debut with the screen version of "The Goodbye People" (1984). His film version of "I'm
Not Rappaport" (1996) had leading performances from Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis.
-- excerpts courtesy of
Books and Hollywood.com
- Richard Kaplan (documentary film and television writer, director, producer, Antioch
Richard Kaplan has a distinguished record as a documentary film and television writer, director, and producer, both
in the United States and abroad. His work has won considerable acclaim and critical recognition, including two Academy Awards. He is also the
recipient of an Emmy Award for Ňoutstanding historical and cultural programming."
In addition to his many documentaries, made in the course of a career that has spanned almost 60 years, Kaplan's film work has
encompassed the detailed planning and development of theatrical feature films. While unproduced (due to lack of funding) they
represent a significant body of work that. He has been responsible for pre-production, and in some cases scripting, of the
following: Audubon. The Life Of The Painter And Naturalist; Battle Of The Bulge...The True Story Of This Crucial WW II Battle;
The World's Delight ...An Original Script By Robert Graves; Alberta... based On The Novel By Swedish author Cora Sandel;
Surrender On Demand....A Fact Based Drama About The Rescue Work Of Varian Fry; Mboya ....A Bio Pic Centered Around The Life
Of The Assassinated Kenyan Leader Tom Mboya; The Nansen Project... A Huge Historical Drama about The Many Faceted Career Of
-- excerpt courtesy of
Richard Kaplan Productions
- John Korty (director, screenwriter, cinematographer, Antioch
An amateur filmmaker from the age of 16, John Korty went professional after
receiving a Liberal arts education at Antioch College. After designing and directing animated TV
commercials, Korty was nominated for an Oscar for his 1964 short subject Breaking the Habit. He was critically
garlanded for his first feature, Crazy Quilt (1965), an ultracheap character study shot silent (it
was post-dubbed, with narration by Burgess Meredith and music by Peter "PDQ Bach" Schickele) and in
black and white. In comparison, his next effort, the low-budget Funnyman (1967), was a Cecil B.
DeMille epic; this largely improvisational effort is distinguished by the presence of the comedy
troupe The Committee (including Peter Bonerz) and by Korty's animated vignettes. His subsequent
films (Riverrun, Alex and the Gypsy with Jack Lemmon, James Woods and Genevieve Bujold) were more
mainstream in nature, though they still could not be considered conformist.
On television, Korty has been one of the busiest and most successful laborers in the field of
made-for-TV movies: Go Ask Alice, The Silence, Class of 63, Farewell to Manzanar (on the Japanese
American internment camps, which was selected for the Humanitas Award), Ewok Adventure and many
others. John Korty won an Emmy for his direction of Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) with
Cicely Tyson as an ex-slave recounting 110 years of American history, and, in an unusual move, was
honored with an Emmy and an Oscar for Who Are the Debolts--and Where Did They Get 19 Kids? (1978)
the first film to win both an Oscar and an Emmy. Critic Pauline Kael called it "perhaps the finest
film made for American television."
Other feature films he directed include Oliver's Story with Candice Bergen and Ryan O'Neal, Twice
Upon A Time, a satirical animated feature and Caravans Of Courage, the first Ewok film produced by
George Lucas, which was released as a feature abroad. His other films for television include Resting
Place, a Hallmark special, featuring John Lithgow and Morgan Freeman; Line Of Fire, on Morris Dees
and the Southern Poverty Law Center; Long Road Home on migrant labor in the 1930s; They, inspired by
a Rudyard Kipling story, starring Vanessa Redgrave; (Getting Out, based on the play by Marsha Norman
with Rebecca deMornay and Ellen Burstyn and Redwood Curtain, a Hallmark presentation based on the
play by Lanford Wilson and starring Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow.
His recent directing assignments were Ms. Scrooge, with Cicely Tyson for USA Network; Oklahoma City;
A Survivor's Story with Kathy Baker for LifeTime cable and Gift Of Love: The Daniel Huffman Story,
starring Debbie Reynolds for Showtime. Last year, Sydney Pollack picked a script of his, The Doctor
Of Desire (based on a book of the same title by Allen Wheelis), to be his premiere film for HBO.
John Korty is now rewriting the screenplay for production in 2003 with Lindsay Doran as
-- biographical info courtesy of Hal Erickson,
All Movie Guide, and John Korty
- Victor Nuñez (director, screenplay writer, editor, teacher, Antioch
- While blockbuster, special-effects laden movies continue to capture the
headlines, Victor Nuñez believes there is a place for character-driven independent films.
"Every three or four years the critics try to make a case for a revival of independent features,"
says Nuñez. "The truth is there will always be people who want to make independent movies and
succeed. It's not a trend. It happens one film at a time."
Born in 1945, Victor Nuñez studied at Antioch College, later receiving a diploma from UCLA.
He worked as a director, screenplay writer, cameraman and editor on a number of educational and
industrial films as well as taught filmmaking at Florida State University. In 1975, he decided to
devote his energies entirely to filmmaking. He made four shorts from 1968 - 1976 : "Fairground", "Taking
Care of Mother Baldwin", "Charly Benson's Return to the Sea" and "A Circle in the Fire". In 1979, he made
his first feature film "Gal Young Un", but was not acclaimed by the critics until "Ruby in Paradise in 1992.
"Ulee's Gold is his fourth feature film.
Victor Nuñez creates high-quality, memorable portraits of life in his native
Northern Florida. Among mainstream filmgoers, Nuñez is best known for directing Ulee's Gold, a
potent relationship drama in which Peter Fonda gives his finest performance since Easy Rider (1969).
Fonda received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award for his performance. A founding member
of the Independent Feature Project board, Nuñez holds degrees in film and film production from
Antioch College and U.C.L.A. After obtaining his master's degree from the latter school, he gained
experience making short educational and industrial films. He also made three fictional short films.
In 1979, he made his feature film debut with Gal Young Un; set in 1920s Florida, it was the tale of
a miserable but wealthy farm widow, her new, younger spouse, and his girlfriend. That year, it was
designated Best First Feature at the Chicago Film Festival and was a co-recipient of the USA/Park
City Film Festival Best Feature Award. Nuñez's sophomore film, A Flash of Green, was based on a
novel by John D. MacDonald and, unlike his first film, featured a bigger budget and a name cast that
included Ed Harris, Richard Jordan, and Blair Brown. Set in a small, Florida seaside town, the story
followed a reporter's investigation of a fishy landfill deal. His third film, Ruby in Paradise, was
Ashley Judd's feature debut and chronicled a young Florida woman's attempt to overcome personal and
financial adversity. The film (like his other two) was chosen for screening at the Cannes Film
Festival Directors Fortnight. It also played at the New York Film Festival and won the Grand Jury
Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Nuñez is a founding member and serves on the boards of the
Independent Feature Project and the Sundance Film Institute. Between 1983 and 1986, he served on the
selection panels of the NEA, CPB, and the Florida Fine Arts Council.
awards: Best Film (win) "Gal Young 'Un" 1981 US Film Festival (through 1989) In Competition: "Documentary A Flash of
Green" 1985 US Film Festival (through 1989) Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic (win) "Ruby in Paradise" 1993 Sundance
-- biographical info courtesy of
Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide, and
- Julia Reichert (Film Producer, Screenwriter, YSO
- Julia Reichert is an Academy-Award nominated filmmaker who has made a great
many documentaries since the late 1960s so that the stories of average
people become part of history. Her films allow under-represented people and
communities to tell their own stories in their own words because it can be
argued that actions become history only when they are told, documented, and
then screened, especially on film or TV.
Julia Reichert is one of the god mothers of the American Independent Film
movement. As a founding member of the Film Fund, she helped give rise to the
Independent Feature Project. As co-founder of New Day films, she pioneered
self distribution for independent filmmakers, and wrote the first book on the
subject, "Doing It Yourself." She and partner Jim Klein were nominated for two
Academy Awards for best feature documentary, for their films "Union Maids" and
"Seeing Red." All four of her feature documentaries have aired on national PBS.
Reichert is a proponent of regional filmmaking, working for two decades to
develop Midwestern filmmaking. She completed her first dramatic feature, "Emma
& Elvis," in 1992, and is currently one year into production on a major
documentary about kids fighting cancer, their families, doctors and
nurses, entitled "A Lion In The House."
"A Lion in the House" by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert of Yellow Springs shared a Primetime Emmy recently
for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking with Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts."
"A Lion in the House" is a four-hour documentary that follows five Ohio families with children battling cancer.
"We know the film is a scary subject," Bognar said. "This award will help get the film out there."
Julia Reichert's other films include: "Growing Up
Female," "Methadone: An American Way of Dealing," and "Men's Lives." She is
also the producer of the feature film "The Dream Catcher," by Ed Radtke, and
the short, "Gravel," by partner Steven Bognar. Reichert is a Rockefeller
and Fulbright Fellow.
-- biographical info courtesy of Alexandra Juhasz,
Women of Vision (with permission), and
- Gerald Feil (Filmmaker and teacher, Antioch faculty)
- Gerald Feil's
major feature credits include Lord of the Flies and the Rolling Stones' Let's Spend the Night
Together. Feil has received numerous honors and awards including Berlin, U.S., and Cannes Film
Festival prizes, and an Emmy® Award. He has produced, directed and/or photographed more than a dozen
primetime network documentaries including ABC Africa. Feil was instrumental in developing the new
generation of 3-D camera systems used by Paramount Pictures, and was the first technical director of
the Time-Life Filmmakers Group.
Other films include: "He Knows You're Alone," "Friday the 13th - Part 3," "Silent Madness," and "Savage Dawn."
-- biographical info courtesy of
- Steven Bognar (Filmmaker and teacher, Antioch faculty)
- Steven Bognar has completed six films since 1986, many of which focus on regional identity,
Midwestern landscape, and the significance of photographic images. His films include Picture Day
(2000), Personal Belongings (1996) and Welcome to Censornati (1990). Bognar's work has been screened
at the Sundance Film Festival, the DoubleTake Documentary Festival, South by Southwest, and the Ann
Arbor Film Festival, and has aired on PBS, the Independent Film Channel and Deep Dish Television. He
is a contributor to Independent Film and Video Monthly and has taught at Antioch College and in Ohio
Steven Bognar spent eight years making his first film, PERSONAL BELONGINGS. An intimate documentary
about his father, the film debuted at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. PERSONAL BELONGINGS went on
to play at South by Southwest , the inaugural Gen Art Film Festival, and to air nationally on the
PBS documentary series P.O.V. The film won the Audience Award for best film at the 1996 Atlanta Film
and Video Festival, a Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Best First
Film at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and has aired on national television in France, Germany,
Russia, Australia, Poland, Hungary, Finland, Taiwan, Quebec and Estonia. Bognar has written for
indieWIRE and The Independent, and is currently completing a feature script he plans to shoot next
-- biographical info used with permission from
Creative Capital Foundation
Big Beef Productions. See also the
recent article in the Yellow Springs News
about the Bognar film, GRAVEL
- Jim Klein (Documentary filmmaker, Antioch alumnus)
- Jim Klein has been an independent filmmaker since 1969. He has been active in the American
independent film community ever since. Along with his partner, Julia Reichert, he made the first
documentary about women from a feminist perspective, Growing Up Female; one of the first oral
history films, the Oscar-nominated Union Maids; the first film to challenge government policies on
heroin addiction, Methadone: An American Way Of Dealing; and the first documentary film on American
Communists, Seeing Red, which brought their second Academy Award nomination. His first solo film,
Letter to the Next Generation, was released in May 1990 and premiered on the PBS series, P.O.V. Jim
has just completed a new work, Taken For a Ride, co-made with Martha Olson. A look at General
Motors' role, over a fifty year span, in destroying public transportation and pushing freeways into
the very center of cities, the film premiered on PBS.
Klein teaches film
and video production at Wright State in Yellow Springs, Ohio and is the co-founder of New Day Films,
a grassroots distributor of social issue films.
-- biographical info courtesy of
New Day Films (with permission)
- Ed Radtke (Filmmaker, Antioch faculty)
- Ed Radtke was educated in Ohio public schools and attended NYU's Film Program, graduating with
honors in 1985. He's made two independent feature films, the award-winning BOTTOM LAND and most
recently THE DREAM CATCHER. THE DREAM CATCHER screened at more than 24 international film festivals
and garnered an impressive 11 awards. Amy Taubin of The Village Voice called him "a highly talented
filmmaker" after the film recently played Lincoln Center in New York City. It is slated to open in
select U.S. theaters Spring of 2002. The film has also been released in France, Germany, Spain,
Australia and other territories.
Ed Radtke has years of practical filmmaking experience, having served as an editor, assistant
director, co-producer and line producer on various projects including: independent features,
documentaries, TV movies, ITVS funded dramas, commercials and music videos. He has taught
filmmaking at the college level, worked extensively with at-risk youth, taught media making to
developmentally challenged adults and to prisoners. He is the recipient of two NEA production
grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation Media Fellowship.
Radtke recently co-wrote the feature script HONOR THY FATHER, produced by Gerard Depardieu and
starring Depardieu and his real life son, Guillame and won the Venice Film Festival's
inaugural Queer Lion award, honoring a full-length film with a gay theme or character, for
"The Speed of Life." The film follows a New York City youth who steals video cameras and downloads the footage.
Ed is currently living in Los Angeles, where he
is writing the feature project SUPERHEROES, for which he received the Rockefeller Fellowship this
-- biographical info courtesy of
Emerging Pictures (with permission)
- Whitney Leblanc (director, producer, writer, stained glass artist, former Antioch faculty)
In his own words: "I have a Masters degree in
Theatre Production from the University of Iowa. I have taught theatre courses at Antioch College,
Howard University, Lincoln University, Towson University the University of Texas and Pacific Union
College. It was during my teaching years that I assembled my theatre design portfolio of 80
productions, including designs for the New York production of Ceremonies In Dark Old Men.
"Although directing was the focus of my activity, I liked to design and direct. Included in the many
productions in which I wore both hats are; A Streetcar Named Desire, A Raisin In The Sun, Zooman
And The Sign, Funnyhouse Of A Negro, and The Glass Menagerie. I received a " Best Director Award"
from Drama-Logue for the production of A Raisin In The Sun in San Francisco; and I received the
Critics Circle award for Outstanding Design of Funnyhouse Of A Negro, at the Lorraine Hansberry
Theatre in San Francisco. Dreams Deferred, a play that I wrote, directed and designed, had its
premiere production in Los Angeles.
"At the Maryland Center For Public Broadcasting, I was the one and only director for 105 episodes of
the nationally aired series OUR STREET. As a Producer, I also wrote for the series and received the
Ohio State Award. I directed the acclaimed and controversial TV Special, HOLIDAYS: HALLOW
DAYS--about prisoners, by prisoners and rehearsed in prison. Not only did this Npact Special get
national airing, but it also received the American Film Festival Award.
"From PBS I went to Hollywood where I joined Norman Lear's staff as Associate Producer of GOOD TIMES.
I also worked on the DINAH SHOW, JIM NABORS SHOW, and the REDD FOXX VARIETY HOUR. As
producer/director of UP AND COMING, in San Francisco, I completed 52 half-hour episodes. As a member
of the Directors Guild, my directing credits were seen on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, GENERATIONS,
BENSON, 227, THE ROBERT GUILLAUME SHOW, ME AND MRS C and MARBLEHEAD MANOR.
"Most of my writing was done in Hollywood. I have written teleplays, film-scripts, treatments for
series and a "bible" for a continuing drama. Now retired to the Napa Valley from the active life of
a director in Hollywood, I have published my novel of fiction, BLUES IN THE WIND. My autobiography,
ONE STEP FORWARD, TOO BLACK is completed but unpublished and I am working on my third manuscript
"I remember distinctly what I told Bob Metcalf one day: that I liked stained glass so much,
'I will do this when I retire.' This has come to pass. That comment was made in 1960. I had fun with Bob and he taught me
everything I know about stained glass techniques. Since then I have been to other workshops and classes and I was
introduced to Tiffany copper foil techniques, but all of my basics came from Bob. He was a great guy and I loved him.
I can still hear his laugh which was infectious and genuine."
Ted Shine, Ph.D, writes: "Blues in the Wind is an engrossing, riveting work peopled with vivid, colorful characters that
capture the racial, religious, social and political attitudes of Louisiana, and indeed the South,
from its segregated past to the Civil Rights Movement. This novel is a learning experience filled
with historical facts neatly incorporated into LeBlanc's story. It is a needed and welcome addition
to American literature."
-- bio and picture courtesy of Whitney Leblanc
- Jay Tuck (TV producer, reporter, voiceover talent, filmmaker, Antioch alumnus)
- Jay Tuck got into filmmaking as a student at Antioch, including his
short film, "The Date," which also gave Julia Reichert & Jim Klein their first film experience.
Jay headed to Europe in 1969, where he had a long career in network televsion at Germany's
largest broadcaster ARD
German Television. More recently, he was Executive News Editor of the daily network television news
magazine ARD - Tagesthemen and did a lot of investigative reporting and two stints as television war correspondent in both Iraq
Now retired from ARD, he has my own television company in Dubai,
Airtime Dubai Ltd.which produces a
30-minute high-tech news magazine broadcast weekly on Al-Jazeera News Channel (the first non-Arab company
ever to produce programming for Al-Jazeera).
-- bio and picture courtesy of Jay Tuck
|Special thanks to: Nicholas Q Dewey, Rebecca Eschliman, Tony Dallas,
The Yellow Springs News,
Scott Sanders and Antiochiana
For an overview of Yellow Springs Ohio history from 1803 to 2003, see the
For info on the YSO Bicentennial (July 4, 2003) and YSO background info,
see The Yellow Springs Historical Society.
Please email any corrections, updates, additions, or suggestions to Tim Eschliman at
-- Page last updated April 20 2013