Hollywood in Northeast Mississippi Daugherty recalls movie days with Robert Duvall

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

EVERGREEN COMMUNITY – In 1971 or ’72, someone put an “o” where an “a” should’ve been.
The full cast list for “Tomorrow” features Dick Dougherty, not Dick Daugherty.
“I kid around and say that’s why no one called me for another movie roll,” 66-year-old Daugherty said.
Hollywood’s Robert Duvall came to Northeast Mississippi to star in “Tomorrow.” Horton Foote adapted the screenplay from a William Faulkner short story about a poor farmer who gets unexpected grace in his life, only to have it taken away.
“It was a good story, a real good story line,” Daugherty said. “They don’t make movies like that anymore.”
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Daugherty attended the University of Mississippi. He wasn’t in a hurry to get a job, but two friends were on the “Tomorrow” crew when Duvall let it be known that he needed a “rough-looking” fellow.
“They thought of me,” Daugherty said with a grin.
Duvall wasn’t the director, but Daugherty said he made a lot of decisions. They met in Duvall’s room at the Trace Inn, and watched an episode of “Highway Patrol.”
“Robert Duvall was in the episode,” Daugherty recalled.
He was paid about $175 a day to be Buck Thorpe, a no-good snake of a man who tried to run away with another man’s daughter.
“The only scene that ended up in the movie was where I got killed,” Daugherty said. “The gun had a flashbulb on it that went off when he shot the gun. They weren’t very technical. They didn’t have all the special effects they have today.”
After his four or five days of shooting were over, Daugherty stayed to help out. Crews set up a sound stage at the Tupelo fairgrounds and shot scenes at Jacinto Courthouse in Alcorn County.
“They actually built a sawmill somewhere in Itawamba County. I couldn’t tell you where,” said Daugherty, who lives in Itawamba County’s Evergreen Community with his wife, Brenda.
An antiques dealer in Frankstown provided a buggy and other Depression-era items to add authenticity. It was a low-budget production, but it helped the area economy, Daugherty said.
Eventually, Daugherty had to take another job. He couldn’t attend Duvall’s party in New York, but the friends who called him made the trip.
“Al Pacino was there, and Robert De Niro, all the ‘Godfather’ crew,” he said.
“Tomorrow” played at the Lyric Theatre, but didn’t make a big nationwide splash. Daugherty bought several DVD copies on the Internet to give away.
He’s never gotten that follow-up call from Hollywood, but he gets to keep the memories of his few days as Buck Thorpe.
“It was fun just being part of it, seeing how they did everything,” he said. “I’m sure they do it all different now, 40 years later.”
scott.morris@journalinc.com