© 2024 KRCU Public Radio
90.9 Cape Girardeau | 88.9-HD Ste. Genevieve | 88.7 Poplar Bluff
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: "The Intruder" Comes to Southeast Missouri

Southeast Missouri State University
William Shatner in screenshot from "The Intruder"

It seems like Almost Yesterday that Hollywood came to Southeast Missouri. A production company headed by prominent director Roger Corman came to Charleston and East Prairie in 1961 to produce a movie based upon Charles Beaumont’s novel about race relations and school integration in the American South.

Filmed one year prior to the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, "The Intruder" was a commercial failure. Corman was unable to secure support for the film from Hollywood Studios, thus this socially daring movie was the independent work of Corman who took a second mortgage on his home to produce the movie. Consequently, in order to maintain a low budget, Corman made use of many local residents in the film.

The key role in the movie was played by thirty year old William Shatner, five years before he assumed his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek Series.

In this controversial film Shatner plays “The Intruder,” Adam Cramer, who comes into the small southern town of Caxton in order to arouse opposition to the effort to integrate the local high school.  Cramer is a smooth talking, mild mannered, and sophisticated individual who is very successful in rallying opposition to the planned school integration ordered by the U. S. Supreme Court in the 1954 Brown against Topeka decision.

Soon the imaginary town of Caxton was the scene of violence, mob action and death. Only with the efforts of a number of courageous African-Americans and a white newspaper editor was order restored to the community.

Although the movie was an economic failure, it remains a symbolic portrayal of the tension over school integration in twentieth century America – as played in a rural Missouri town.

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
Related Content