Description: Vaiden, Mississippi

Movies Filmed in Vaiden

Where is Vaiden, Mississippi?


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Ode to Billy Joe -- 1975


Notice that the song and movie are spelled differently. The song is

spelled “Ode to Billie Joe” and the movie is spelled “Ode to Billy Joe.”






Ode To Billy Joe Cast List



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Vaiden Sawmill (Cross Lumber Company)

Conservative Article on Ode to Billy Joe

Scenes Filmed at Cross Lumber Company – SCENE 1     SCENE 2     SCENE 3

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Tallahatchie River Bridge

Tallahatchie River Bridge (used in movie) -- Rising Sun, MS

Southwestern View of Location Depicted in Movie Where Billy Joe Jumped In

Rising Sun, MS Location of the Bridge Used in the Movie

Information about the bridge used in the movie

Photo 1       Photo 2     Photo 3

Photo of Bobby Gentry Revisiting the Bridge
(All Trademarks/Copyrights are those of the respective photographer)

Plaque on the Sanders-Hooper Bridge

NOTE: In 1986-87, this bridge replaced the one used in the movie

 (All Trademarks/Copyrights are those of the respective photographer)

Closer Look at the map location of the bridge in the movie

Google Earth photo of the location of the bridge in the movie

Google Earth photo of the location of the bridge in the song

Bridges in or around Money, MS

Current Bridge in Money, MS

Distance from actual bridge(s) at Money, MS to movie bridge at Rising Sun, MS




Money Bridge Collapses, Greenwood Commonwealth, 06/20/1972, P. 1 (with 2 pictures)


“MONEY – The Tallahatchie River Bridge here collapsed between 11:30 and midnight Monday and presumably joined Billy Joe MacAllister in the muddy waters of the Tallahatchie.


Leflore County Deputy Sheriff Ricky Banks said he received a call from Sheriff Rufus Freeman about 12:15 a.m. today telling him the bridge had collapsed.


Leflore County Second District Supervisor Ray Tribble had called Sheriff Freeman earlier when two boys who had been fishing discovered the bridge had collapsed.


The two boys reportedly had gone upstream to fish and upon returning to Money found they couldn’t get over the collapsed span in the Tallahatchie River.


Tribble and his county road foreman Homer Hawkins then blocked the bridge off at the approaches on each side to prevent anyone from driving into the river.”


[Caption under photos] – “BRIDGE OUT AT MONEY – The middle section of the Tallahatchie river bridge at Money tilted towards its upstream side as it collapsed Monday night. The steel suspension bridge was built in 1927. Staff Photos by Steve Bailey.”


[Ed. Note: Pictures will be available when a non-distorted copy can be obtained.]


Photo of Bobbie Gentry (Roberta Lee Streeter) walking across the Tallahatchie River Bridge in Money, MS – from Life Magazine, 11/10/1967

Photo of Bobbie Gentry standing on the Tallahatchie River Bridge in Money, MS – from Life Magazine, 11/10/1967

November 10, 1967 Life Magazine cover – The index shows that the article is on P. 99 and says: “Music: Down Home with Bobbie Gentry. With a Gusty Voice and a Grim Song She is an Instant Hit”


The Tallahatchie River Blues by Mattie Delaney – 1930

Freedom Highway by The Staple Singers - 1965


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Glynnis O'Connor

Photo 1 -- Photo 2 -- Photo 3 -- Photo 4

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Links to Ode to Billy Joe

Lyrics to Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry

“Lost” Lyrics to Ode to Billie Joe, as found at:

1967 Grammy Awards

Bobbie Gentry -- Biography

Bobbie Gentry -- Photo # 1

Bobbie Gentry -- Photo # 2

Excerpts from Ode to Billy Joe

More Information About the Location of the Tallahatchie River Bridge  (Microsoft Word Format)

Was There Really A Choctaw Ridge ?

Leflore County

Leflore County’s Neighboring Counties

ONE THING TO REMEMBER: There was never a mention in the song that Billy Joe DIED when he jumped off the bridge. In the movie, Max Baer exercised poetic license and showed Billy Joe’s body being pulled from the river.  However (in the movie), his body was pulled from the river on the north side of the bridge. The current flows south. In reality, he would have been found downriver.


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Mississippi Burning -- 1988



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Links to Mississippi Burning

Mississippi Burning Cast List

Mississippi Burning -- Selected Bibliography from UC Berkeley Library

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Filming the Movie in Vaiden

Article 1, Page 1 -- Article 1, Page 2

Article 2 -- Article 3

Article 4

Article 5 -- Article 6

"Slap'Er Down Again, Paw" Article (with Active Links)

One More -- Gene Hackman's Signature

When Mr. Hackman had stopped signing autographs, we asked for "one more." This is what we got.

Photos of the Filming of Mississippi Burning

Photo 1 -- Photo 2 -- Photo 3 -- Photo 4

Photo 5 -- Photo 6 -- Photo 7 -- Photo 8

Photo 9 -- Photo 10 -- Photo 11 -- Photo 12

Gaylord Sartain poses for a photo.

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Scenes Filmed in the Vaiden Courthouse for Mississippi Burning

Front Door And Stairs

The Accused Stand For Sentencing

Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Mrs. Evelyn Ross, Mrs. Roberta Caffey

Mrs. Palmertree as Juror Hearing The Case

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"Mississippi Burning" -- The Book By Joel Norst

Front Cover -- Back Cover

Director Alan Parker's Commentary About the Vaiden Courthouse

From the Mississippi Burning DVD

"We found this courthouse, again, we looked all over Mississippi, looking for exactly the right place. I mean, there's a feel to it and, that is, uh, I suppose, fits the rest of the film. Way I remember, it was, uh, quite a drive from Jackson. This is an overnight stay, this courthouse. It's very difficult to find one close enough to Jackson just to drive everyday. So, uh, this one was a couple of hours away."

. . . .

"The black onlookers in the gallery was really, uh, from [Chris] Gerolmo's original script."

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Editors Note About Alan Parker’s Mississippi Portrayal

It was a joy to watch the filming of the movie Mississippi Burning in Vaiden. I do have a few comments, however. They are as follows:

[1] All Mississippians are NOT rednecks. We are NOT trailer trash. All of us are not illiterate. These feelings applied in 1964, as well as today. While it is true that a part of Mississippi was against desegregation and wanted to instill hatred to non-Arian races, all of us were NOT that way.

[2] All of us were NOT supportive of the Ku Klux Klan. Most of us never affiliated with the Klan or its members in any way. When I was a kid, the Klan would ride by and toss the "newsletters," "updates," or whatever they called them into our driveways. These little "tidbits" of information on Klan activity always came in handy, because, since we were allowed to burn our garbage back then (in 55 gallon drums), they made great "kindlin'" for the fire. I never opened ONE of them. I had better things to do.

[3] Most of us DID NOT hate coloreds, blacks, negroes, African Americans, or whichever name was "politically correct" at the time. We didn't go around calling them by the derogatory names such as Nig**r, Darkie, C**n, or whichever of those terms was "popular." We left that up to the rednecks and Klan. When I was growing up, I had great friends that were black. I still do. I realized then what a lot of us don't know now. My friends were people too.

[4] In the movie Mississippi Burning, whether you saw it at the theater, or saw/purchased it on VHS or DVD, there is NO MENTION WHATSOEVER of the name Vaiden, Mississippi, or any other town the movie was filmed in. It is amazing how Hollywood can come to a small town and film a movie and, after 10 minutes of end credits (telling who the director's dog's water-boy was), they can't be gracious or thankful enough to simply mention the names of the towns used in the film. Vaiden was paid $ 5,000.00 for the use of the courthouse in Mississippi Burning. You'd think that, with all the money they saved, they could mention the name of the town. The movie ends with the following:

"We would especially like to thank:
Governor Ray Mabus
John Horn
Maida Morgan
The Mississippi Film Commission
The Alabama Film Commission
and the people of Mississippi and Alabama for
their kind cooperation in the making of this film."

You would think that, with all of the credits, the movie-makers could have taken just a few minutes to list all of the towns in Mississippi and Alabama, that were used in their films.

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Page II

Back Home Again . . .Page I

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