Photo credit: Tom Judd, courtesy of the Denton Public Library

Photo credit: Tom Judd, courtesy of the Denton Public Library

Bonnie & Clydes They Aren't:

North texas defines its own visual representation

In 1967, the Denton Chamber of Commerce and other prominent locals developed a 5-year promotional campaign, "Dynamic Denton '72," to draw interest and commerce to the city of Denton. A major component of this program was a multi-media campaign that included a film, Dynamic Denton (1968),  an LP composed by North Texas State University alumni Jodie Lyons and narrated by Hans Conried, and a bi-coastal musical revue performed by the stars of the film for potential business recruits and clients.

Although people outside of Denton County might cite the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde  as North Texas' claim to Hollywood fame, many locals recall this lesser-known motion picture and viewed it as a more accurate representation of their city and its people in the late 1960s. Shot on a small budget by first-time director Joe Camp (Benji, 1974) as part of the Denton Chamber of Commerce’s nation-wide promotional campaign, Dynamic Denton shows us how the city felt Denton should be represented to the rest of the world.

The film was "lost" for decades until it was donated as part of the Denton Chamber of Commerce Collection at the university of North Texas. This exhibit includes a copy of the film later donated by director Joe Camp as well as other materials including 16mm home movies, recorded sound, and slides. Also included are articles from the local newspaper, The Denton Record Chronicle, and the campus newspaper, The Campus Chat (North Texas Daily) which show how the community and student population reacted to the promotional campaign. These sources juxtapose the film's cheery view with news about the ongoing Vietnam War and illustrates how the slogan "Dynamic Denton" became gradually appropriated and used with derision by students who opposed actions by the local leadership and viewed their small town as something less than "dynamic."

 

Dynamic Denton In the News