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University of North Alabama
Office of University Relations

William M. Jarnigan, Director
Tel: 256-765-4225
Fax: 256-765-4812

April 5, 2001

For release: Immediately

FLORENCE, Ala. - “Everything is beautiful! Ray Stevens is coming to the University of North Alabama,” said Dr. George Lindsey, while announcing the entertainer as the featured artist for the 4th annual Lindsey/UNA Television and Film Festival during April 19-21.

“Another superstar wants to support the festival,” said Lindsey, who has called on other entertainment industry friends, like actors Ernest Borgnine and Stephen Root and director Tom Cherones, to be the featured luncheon speaker.

Stevens will speak on “Video Production” at the 11 a.m. luncheon Friday, April 20, in the University Center Banquet Hall. Tickets are $20/$10 and must be reserved by 4:30 p.m., Friday, April 13 and paid at the door on the day of the event. To make reservations, call Sue Jeffreys at (256) 765-4247. Stevens will be at the festival only during the luncheon. Even though Stevens’ career has been focused around music, he has hosted his own national television show and theatrical productions. He has also produced and marketed numerous, very successful video productions, in long and short forms.

His first television show was a 1970 summer replacement for The Andy Williams Show on NBC.

“My first involvement in the entertainment business was in records and sound only. When you add pictures, it just enhances that communication. I always wanted to be involved in entertainment. Television, certainly, is the most powerful facet of the entertainment industry,” Stevens said. Stevens and some friends once developed and shot a pilot for a TV show (Amazing Rolling Revue) but it was not picked up by a network. With that experience, he next packaged eight of his music videos (Ray Stevens’ Comedy Video Classics, which includes “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” and “The Streak”) and marketed them on cable television and sold them via an 800 number. The TV pilot was also packaged and offered as an up-sell during the telephone ordering process for the Classics package. All of this coincided with the proliferation of home use of VCRs. More than 2-million copies of the music package sold.

Another long video, Ray Stevens Live, was shot in 1992 on the stage of his theatre in Branson, Missouri, and also proved to be a popular seller. In 1995, he released Get Serious! The Movie. In 2000, he issued Ray Stevens Funniest Video Characters.

A native of Clarkdale, Georgia, Stevens began his songwriting career in Atlanta with publisher Bill Lowery and then moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1962 after the success of the record, “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills.” Later in 1962, “Ahab the Arab” was a top five pop hit. In 1969, he had a top 10 pop hit with “Gitarzan.”

He wrote “Everything Is Beautiful” for his 1970 TV show. The resulting record gave him his first number one pop hit and won him a Grammy Award as the male vocalist of the year.

In 1974, his comedic, musical account of a then-current fad, “The Streak,” gave him his second number one. In 1975, he won a Grammy for his record “Misty.” Later hits include “Shriner’s Convention,” “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” and “It’s Me Again Margaret.”

Lindsey, journalism professor Bobbie Hurt and director of university relations Bill Jarnigan, with assistance from UNA Pres. Robert L. Potts, started the film festival in 1998. Since then, the festival has attracted student and professional entries from across the nation and the continent of Africa.

This year’s festival, chaired by instructor of speech communication Lisa Darnell, begins at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 19, with a screenwriting session and concludes Saturday night, April 21, with the awards ceremony.

Annette Himmler
Office of University Relations
University of North Alabama
Box 5026
Florence, AL 35632-0001
Tel: (256) 765-4225
fax: (256) 765-4812