by James Dobbs
Blanche is the story of a lonely, real, West Texas Cowboy named Tommy. The movie is based on a bet made in West Texas in the 1950’s between Jack Thornton and Louie Granger on whose chicken could fly the farthest. They enlisted Ex-World War Fighter Pilot Bill Hargus to take the chickens up in his Piper Cub Plane and drop the chickens. The Last Chicken to land won the bet.
Blanche is Tommy’s pet chicken that he received from his friend Suzanne after his wife died. “There is something to be said about a partner that doesn’t talk.”
Tommy lives in the middle of nowhere, on a farm in West Texas. “Living out there drinking out of a watering trough, one fork, one spoon, and a fishing pole.” On his farm, Tommy has no running water, no electricity, and eats the catfish that he fishes out of his pond. He lives alone with the exception of Blanche.
Tommy’s best friend Clifford hasn’t seen him in a while, but starts to visit him more and more often. Clifford is sad to see his friend in pain and lonely, so he tries to make a bet with him to get his mind off of things. The bet, is that Clifford’s chicken can fly further out of an airplane than Blanche, and whoever’s chicken wins receives $100.
Clifford visits his and Tommy’s old Air Force friend, Don Juan. He gets Don Juan to agree to throw their chickens out of the plane to see whose chicken will fly farther. Clifford also gets Don Juan to agree to pull a few feathers out of Tommy’s chicken so it cannot fly as far and so Tommy loses the bet. Clifford is tired of losing, and has lost 90 percent of all of the bets that they have made together.
Clifford then visits Suzanne to see if he can line up a chicken for himself to use in the bet. Suzanne is scared for her chickens but agrees to lend Clifford a rooster to use for the bet as long as nothing bad happens to him or to Blanche. Clifford names the roster Red Baron.
The bet gets so big, that Tommy’s niece goes to his farm to ask him about it. She shows him posts from Facebook and Instagram that tell of the bet.
The bet ends up getting so much heat that Tommy and Clifford get summoned to court by animal rights activists. The judge decides in their favor and no charges are made. Tommy and Clifford continue their bet.
Tommy, Clifford and all of their friends gather as Don Juan gets ready to take his plane out. Don Juan takes the chickens and flies up 1000 feet. He drops the chickens and they glide back to the ground. Everyone is amazed that they made it down safely.
Twila Lamar made her directing debut with “Blanche.” The actors were friends of a friend of hers and were all true West Texans. They all made their acting debut in this film. The film had beautiful music and three of the songs were created by Lamar herself. She made an appearance in one of the last scenes singing her song at a restaurant.
“Blanche” is a friendly family movie. If one pays attention, it can be seen that the movie is more than just a bet about chickens being thrown out of a plane. “Blanche” is about lifelong friendships, moving on and a little bit of a love story.
The film was put together in two weeks and the run time is an hour and seven minutes. “Blanche” is a seven out of 10. It is an incredibly interesting and heartwarming story. It will be available on iTunes and Amazon in the near future.