Come to the Delta Drive-In!

If you like old movies, old cars, and old houses, the Mississippi Heritage Trust has just the event for you, happening this Saturday at the Burrus House in Benoit, MS. As you may recall, the Greek Revival Burrus House, also called Hollywood, built in 1858, was recently pulled back from the brink of collapse by descendants of the original Burrus family. It was already a vacant house in the 1950s when the movie Baby Doll was filmed here. If you haven’t had a chance to see the results of this amazing restoration, this is the perfect opportunity to tour the place and see Baby Doll too!

delta-drive-in-posterOn Saturday, November 19, the Mississippi Heritage Trust and the Burrus House Foundation will host an open house and screening of the movie Baby Doll to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the filming of the movie at the Burrus House.

From 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., guests will enjoy tours of the meticulously restored antebellum home, which is now a glamorous setting for weddings and events, while nibbling on treats inspired by 1950s cuisine from Delta Meat Market and listening to local blues legend Bill Abel.

Come dark, the house will be transformed into a drive-in theater with the back field filled with vintage cars to view the classic Baby Doll, based on a play by Tennessee Williams.  The movie, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Carroll Baker, Karl Malden and Eli Wallach, uses the Burrus House as backdrop for a story fraught with jealousy and violence.  Attendees will be able to spread out a picnic blanket or tune in the movie on their vintage car radios.

The event is a fundraiser for the Mississippi Heritage Trust and the Burrus House Foundation.  Sponsors for the program include SouthGroup Insurance Services, Mississippi Tent, Cotton Row Creative, Delta Meat Market and Communication Specialists.  Special thanks to Claire Cothren and Eustace Winn, the Mississippi Film Office, Mississippi Classic Cruisers and the Cleveland/Bolivar Chamber of Commerce for their support of the event.

Tickets for the Delta Drive-In are $75 a person and can be purchased at www.mississippiheritage.com or at the door.  The Burrus House is located at 77 Burrus Road, Benoit.  To learn more about the Burrus House, please visit www.thebabydollhouse.com.   For more information, please call the Mississippi Heritage Trust at 601-354-0200.

Burrus House, Benoit



Categories: Delta, Mississippi Heritage Trust, Renovation Projects

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2 replies

  1. this is one of mississippi’s finest surviving greek revival houses, and its story– particularly its “ups and downs’ in the 20th century–is heartening: it could well have been one of the state’s ‘lost mansions’ but isn’t. bravo!

    as a youngster in the 1950s–already interested in architecture, with delta-relatives and aware of the house–i well remember the controversy surrounding the making of the movie–based on the movie’s ‘adult-themed’ plot(a tennessee williams/elia kazan not-too-happy collaboration, it seems). as i recall, the completed movie was not aired in many of mississippi’s theatres(including those in hattiesburg), and it was some years after 1956 that i finally saw it–not in mississippi, either! recently, i saw it again, and, well, it is still ‘powerful’!

    the house is a ‘major character’ in the movie, and, as such, the shots, inside and out, are amazing,. the film’s black and white format makes the then-in-bad-condition structure even more poignant– resembling the black and white photos of new orleans- based photographer clarence laughlin in ‘ghosts along the mississippi’.

    architecturally, the house has its quirks— the combination of a front pediment with a side gable roof, for example– this would certainly have been more expensive. but, a front gable is both impressively ‘temple-like’ while the side gables gives space for windows to light the attic; there is no pediment at the rear–with its superimposed galleries– and, in fact, one wonders why there weren’t dormer windows in the roof for additional attic light. the proportions of the front columns are quite attenuated, too.

    strangely, on the house’s website, the page devoted to the movie’s production states that the house was built in 1848, but in all the other documention(and, what i have always thought)–and, in fact, in the ‘history of the house’ page on the same website, there are statements to the effect that the house was begun in 1858 and ‘not quite completed’ in 1861(the absence of the front balcony, among other things), perhaps the ‘1848’ is a misprint for ‘1858’? (i am writing to the house’s website to comment….) what do mdah files say, el malveney?

    unfortunately, i have never read of an ‘associated architect’, but, certainly there must have been a talented builder/contractor and/or architect involved. the details are, of course, pattern-book based–the odd corinthian-esque columns(and some of the interior details) are from la fever’s ‘beauties of modern architecture, for example. i suspect some of the ‘better’ materials were ‘shipped in’, too.

    over the years, i have visited the house on several occasions; sadly, i haven’t been there since the restoration, but, yes, it’s certainly ‘on my list’ when i return to the magnolia state. the event on the 19th should be a lot of fun, and i wish i could attend. maybe some of our readers will go, and, then we’ll have a report.

    Like

  2. What a wonderful post, which I have shared widely. Wish I could be there!

    Like

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