IMDb > "Different Drummer" Dancing Outlaw (1991)

"Different Drummer" Dancing Outlaw (1991)

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Original Air Date:
15 July 1991
This documentary short, produced for West Virginia public TV's "Different Drummer" series, introduces us to Jesco White... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
The legend and enigma that is Jesco White See more (12 total) »


 (Episode Cast)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Jacob Young 
Produced by
Julien Nitzberg .... associate producer
Mark Samels .... executive producer
Jacob Young .... producer
Production Management
Ross Watne .... production manager
Art Department
John Fekete .... graphics
Brad Stalnaker .... graphics
Sound Department
Chip Hitchcock .... additional sound
John Samples .... sound
Pat Sergent .... additional sound
Murphy Tinsley .... additional sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Howard Ashenfelter .... video engineer
Ron McCready .... video engineer
Dave Royce .... video engineer
Danny Wilson .... video engineer
Editorial Department
Tom Nicholson .... on-line editor
Other crew
Carolyn Bailey Lewis .... publicist
Sheri Calvert .... production secretary

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Directed by
Jacob Young 
Produced by
Mark Samels .... executive producer
Paul Watson .... executive producer
Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

29 min

Did You Know?

Jesco White:Well this is Jesse and this is my dear friend Wattie. Pull out a twenty when I rock for your party.See more »
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
The legend and enigma that is Jesco White, 27 January 2013
Author: Steve Pulaski from United States

NOTE: This is a review of the twenty-eight minute excerpt of PBS's Dancing Outlaw, which can be found on Amazon Instant Video or Youtube.

Dancing Outlaw was a documentary done by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1991, profiling known Boone County, West Virginia resident Jesco White. White's family has been notorious in West Virginia for being lawless, societal deviants who engage in dangerous activities that have not only been harmful for them, but have had severe repercussions for the county and the state itself. The entire White family was given a documentary called The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia by Jackass stars Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville and was a film I went on to call "important" and "vital viewing." Dancing Outlaw has a micro-view when compared to that documentary, exploring its subject in a detailed and elaborate manner like we expect it to. White was the son of Donald Ray and Bertie Mae White, and grew up in a crowded household. D. Ray was an infamous tap-dancer, who knew fifty-two unique dances that allegedly no one else knew of or could mimic quite like him. Frequent video footage from the documentary Talking Feet shows an extremely focused and talented White dancing and letting the rhythm of the taps run through his energized body.

Then in 1985, tragedy struck, when D. Ray and his sons, Jesco and Dorsey, were shot with a shotgun by an angered friend, leaving D. Ray dead and Jesco and Dorsey critically injured. What followed was a promise, by Jesco himself, that he would allow his father's spirit and love for tap-dancing live on by putting on his father's shoes and replicating the sound and rhythm brought forth by him.

Norma Jean White, Jesco's wife of many years, tells us Jesco has three active personas; Jessie, Jesco, and Elvis. Jessie is beautiful, sweet, charming, and a devoted man. Jesco is a rowdy, uncontrollable monster that can be abusive and vulgar, and mainly comes out when Jesco has had too much to drink or took part in too much inhaling (Jesco recalls one time he held a knife to his wife's throat because her eggs were sloppy and runny). Elvis, on the other hand, comes forth when Jesco's obsession with the king of rock and roll is triggered, and he heads up to his lair which is completely decked out with Elvis bobbleheads, posters, signs, clothing, pictures, license plates, hats, albums, vinyls, you name it. There's even a recording microphone hanging from the ceiling so Jesco can record covers and sing along with Elvis as he pleases. The man is a producer of fine talent and a heavy admirer of it.

Even at its concise and heavily-shortened twenty-eight minutes, Dancing Outlaw could pass as a complete documentary. It shows Jesco's attitude towards fame and family devotion, what he find important about his passion, his personal life, his uneven marriage with the woman he loves, and how his family views him in the many lights he is under. Director Jacob Young does a smooth job of showing what we want and giving us additional materials, and splicing that in a twenty-eight minute special isn't easy. The soul and wit is present and so is the fun.

Starring: Jesco White. Directed by: Jacob Young.

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