Fixin' to Tell About Jack (Film)

Fixin' to Tell About Jack

  •  Elizabeth Barret
  •  1974
  • Color IconColor
  •  24:58
  •  16 mm film
Film Description
Ray Hicks is a mountain farmer from Beech Mountain, North Carolina, with a genius for telling traditional folktales that have been passed down in his family for generations. This film shows Ray working on his farm, gathering herbs in the woods, and describing his family’s tradition of storytelling and his theories of human and natural continuity. Running throughout the film is Ray telling a tale called “Whickity-Whack, Into My Sack” (also known as “Soldier Jack”). Viewers will be charmed by Ray's tales and wiser to the traditional ways of life still in practice in the 1970s in central Appalachia.

Screenings & Festivals
  • American Folklore Society
  • Conference on Visual Anthropology, Temple University
  • Montana Film Festival
  • Projections on the South: Folklore and Ethnography on Film

This film was preserved by Appalshop Archive with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation. To support the work of preserving and safeguarding the collections, please consider designating a donation to Appalshop Archive.


“A good introduction to the importance of the folktale as a vehicle for education and socialization as well as entertainment.” — University of California, Berkeley
“A beautiful editing job and an exquisite film.” — Richard Chase, author
“Beautifully made, authentic presentation of Anglo-American folklore.” — University of California Extension Media Center
“A major part of my folklore and storytelling courses. An excellent film and a sensitive portrait of Ray.” — Greenfield Community College