Dancing Outlaw (Jacob Young, 1991)

USA, 29 min

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This documentary short, produced for West Virginia public TV’s “Different Drummer” series, introduces us to Jesco White, a hard-living, tap-dancing Boone County resident whose repeated run-ins with the law have interfered with his dream of becoming as renowned a “mountain dancer” as his late father, D. Ray White. We meet Jesco’s three distinct personalities; the gentle and loving Jesse, the violent and dangerous Jesco, and the extremely strange Elvis. We also encounter various members of Jesco’s family, all nearly as eccentric as Jesco himself. You will ask, “Are these people for real?” Yes, they are. “The Dancing Outlaw” was released to videocassette after becoming something of a cult sensation through circulating “bootleg” tapes. Film and TV actress Roseanne is among Jesco’s many fans.

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