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Girl From Tobacco Row (1966) The Ormonds serve up a piece of Southern Fried Fun with this absolute jewel of a little film. Starring Tex Ritter (yep, that Tex Ritter) as a Tennessee preacher, Rachel Romen as his daughter Nadine (the girl in question), Earl "Snake" Richards (a post-Buddy Holly Crickets singer) as an ex-con on the run (not necessarily a bad guy, though), and Ralph Emery, the staple big-voiced bad talk show host from TNN in his only acting roll this Prof. can find. Of course, the Ormond family is scattered throughout the cast, as well as some great gospel music and a giant harmonica…get your minds out of the damned gutter.

I loved this puppy, now I am not going to give you a ton of Ormond factoids, but just as a primer, Ron and the klan made films down in Tennessee throughout the 50's, 60's and 70's. These celluloid curiosities ranged from bad (Mesa of the Lost Women) to worse (The Monster and the Stripper) to downright frightening (If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do) which was after the old dude discovered God after almost dying in a couple of near-fatal plane accidents.

All that being, "Girl" is fun to watch and really not a bad piece of movie-making. "Snake" is convincing as an excaped con who gets a second chance by befriending Lil' Timmy Ormond (who shaaaaw needs a buddy) and Tex is pretty decent as the hickoid preacher whose daughter is more than just a little hot in the panties (She Was a Preachers Daughter, but Wilder Than a Peach Orchard Hog!) The film's title would lead you to believe that this is the major plot line, but this is Southern Drive-In fare honey, and the title don't mean squat. Nadine is betrothed to the town sheriff, but she wants a slither of "Snake", true, but the real plot line is the fact that "Snake" has become the surrogate "preacher's boy" since Tex's oldest passed on and Ralph Emery and his groovy band of hip, citified nar-do-wells want some cash that is stashed up in the dead son's closet. And what a damn coincidence that "Snake" fits the same Levi's as the dead son and is snooping through an old suitcase and…well you know what happens…there's a big town Tobacco celebration thing, that gives Ron Ormond about 20 minutes of plot padding that features some pretty tasty mid-60's Bluegrass/Gospel/Giant harmonica tunage.

Being down in Nashville definitely helped Ormond as far as the talent pool for music goes, just a year earlier he released "Forty Acre Feud." It starred Ferlin Husky, Del Reeves, and Minnie Pearl (who spends a lot of time talking to the camera). Besides several songs each by the two singing stars, you got two songs each by George Jones (an unbilled Johnny Paycheck sings with him), Skeeter Davis with her incredible hair, Loretta Lynn (the earliest and best footage you're likely to find of her), Ray Price, Bill Anderson and The Willis Brothers, and a fuckin' genius gem from Hugh X. Lewis (a comic talking blues about "this atomic age"). Highly Recommened just for the music.

Don't expect nudity, gore or any of that other shit that sometimes graces the hallowed viewing halls of Intestinal Fortitude Movie Nights, this is a slice of Rhubarb Pie akin to The Andy Griffith Show, of course without the same comic slant but with the same homey appeal. Throw in a stuttering girl with the voice of a songbird, a chubby, bespeckled everyman, a handsome sheriff, a sexy catalog-purchased piece of lingerie and you have Ron Ormond's recipe for Drive-In BBQ. My advice, get some, it's not too hot, just the right amount of spice and vinegar, and as Southern and inviting as my Mamaw.

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I might start smoking...

Timmy, Tex and Snake share a moment in church. Amen.

The Girl From Tobacco Row's Backside. Old-Style Booty.

Big Mackin' Thug Life! That's ol' Ralph on the left.

Snake lays down a smooth Hillbilly Rumpshaker!

Rock Out you Fellers!

You know what they say...Big Harmonica...

Our Girl In Action!

Brains On Film 2003