Meet the Fort Worth Film Buff Who's Updating and Preserving the Bobbie Wygant Archive

Bobbie Wygant Interviews Robert Duvall for Tender Mercies from on Vimeo.

I could read to you from this stack of press releases for big-deal Thursday happenings ("Boone Pickens, Mayor Leppert, Chief Brown unveil New Jubilee Park Buildings" and "Mayor Leppert, Dr. Hinojosa to launch first-of-its-kind nutrition education program tomorrow at 9 a.m. at Townview"), but we'll get to 'em as they happen. Instead ... well, you remember that golden-oldie video clip featuring Bobbie Wygant interviewing Han Solo? That one. Well, like I said then, it's part of the Bobbie Wygant Archive . I know, right? Awesome.

Anyway. Yesterday the gentleman behind the endeavor, one Erik Clapp of Fort Worth, sent me the heads-up that he's updating the site as we, um, speak with golden-oldie interviews featuring a young Kevin Costner (talking Silverado and American Flyers), a very Labor Day telethony Jerry Lewis, Billy Crystal, Sir Richard Attenborough, a tightly wound (let's say) John Cusack and Heather Locklear. And: the Robert Duvall chat above, a talk about the shot-round-these-here-parts Tender Mercies that kicks off with the actor gettin' to know Bobbie.

Me, I could watch this stuff all day: I'm a sucker for old interviews, think Bobbie's a local treasure and particularly love the raw footage that begins and ends these clips -- the unedited ascending actor on true display. I asked Erik to explain himself. He responded kindly and thusly:

Well, I worked for Bobbie as her assistant producer when I was in college from '94 to '97. I stayed on till 2000. I was in charge of all the clips and interviews and all that jazz, then she showed me the archive -- 60 years of interviews on film, two-inch video, 3/4, Beta, etc. As a major major film buff I started preserving a lot of the stuff. For example, the Harrison Ford film was falling apart already so I hand cleaned that print down in the basement of NBC. Started transferring stuff to digital tape; now it's all digital no tape). So it's something I wanted to do to save it for film lovers more than anything else.

I created the website/blog with Bobbie's consent and just started using my own little short film outfit on Vimeo to host the clips. Kinda worked out, so now it gives me a place to put all this history instead of a storage unit. We just hope people enjoy it.

We don't really have a roadmap to where it will go, but with help from people like yourself we hope more people see it. I'm putting them up uncut, because I find it more interesting, and Bobbie never did get to have an entire interview before, so this gives people a little behind the scenes fun too.

Erik, we're forever in your debt. Many thanks. Below, Bobbie interviews Jerry Lewis from the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise . Fuh. May. Zing.

Bobbie Wygant Interviews Jerry Lewis from on Vimeo.

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