Big Lever: Party Politics in Leslie County, Kentucky, The

Date of Production
Run time: 57m 35.0s
The Big Lever explores the backslapping, babykissing, gladhanding world of party politics as practiced in staunchly Republican, Leslie County, Kentucky. Leslie County came to national attention in July 1978 when Richard Nixon chose this small, mountain county for his first public appearance since resigning the Presidency five years earlier. Footage of his visit introduces the film and sets the stage for its exploration of the nature of party loyalty and precinct-level politics. The film focuses on the up-and-down
career of the incumbent County Judge-Executive, C. Allen Muncy, who invited Nixon to Leslie County and whose admiration for Nixon is as disarming as it is revealing.

Morton, Frances (directed by)
Davis, Dee (produced by)
Sexton, Lee (musician)
Kahn, Si (musician)
Slone, Anthony (edited by)

A film by Frances Morton with Herb E. Smith and Anthony Slone, Danny Johnson, Jack Wright, Joe Gray, Jr., Gene DuBey, Dudley Wilson, Martin Newell, Mimi Pickering, Elizabeth Barret, Robert Cooper, Scott Faulkner.
Executive Produced Dee Davis.
Series Editor Anthony Slone.
Series Music "Simple Pleasures" (traditional) performed by Ginny Remedi.
Mastered at KET by VIdeotape Editor Otis Ballard, Mixer Doug Collins, Electronic Graphics Tamara Webb.
Funded by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Humanities Foundation of West Virginia, Appalshop Film Development.
Produced by Appalshop, Inc.

Interviewees: Hiram Brock (former jailer), Doshia Caldwell, Willie Brock, James Mosley (School Board Member), Earl Fields (County Court Clerk), Edmond Collett (Attorney), Harry M. Caudill (Professor of History, University of Kentucky), C. Allen Muncy (Republican, Judge-Executive of Leslie County), McKinley Morgan (Former County Attorney), George Wooton (Republican, Former Judge-Executive of Leslie County), Maggie Skeens, Damon Huff (Schoolteacher), Patrick Molloy (Former U.S. Attorney). 

Captions: "July 1, 1978 Richard Nixon's First Public Appearance after his Resignation from Office in August of 1974." "May 15, 1981 Primary Election Campaign Republican Candidates for County Judge-Executive." "Oct. 29, 1980 London, Kentucky." "Primary Election Day May 26, 1981." 
Photographs courtesy of Frontier Nursing Service (Hyden, Kentukcy) , Kentucky HIstorical Society (Frankfort, Kentucky), The Filson CLub (Louisville, Kentucky).

Includes preview for Sunny Side of Life, Strip Mining EEE, Hand Carved.

Music Credits:
"Battle Humn of the Republic"
Performed by Lee Sexton Linefork, Kentucky
"Talkin' Politician"
Written and Performed by Si Kahn
June Appal Recordings

Thanks to Ralph Dunlop, Dale Deaton, Dexter Collettt, Roy Howard, Carl Hoskins, Walter Begley, John & Gladys Minniard, and the people of Leslie County.

Funding Sources: Produced with the support of the Kentucky Humanities Council through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Views expressed through this program do not] reflect those of the Kentucky Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funds from The Benton Foundation, The Public Broadcasting Corporation, A grant from the Alabama Film Makers Co-op with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Preserved in 2019 through grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Related Collection
The Big Lever: Party Politics in Leslie County, KY materials, c.1981
Related Place
Hyden, KY