The true life soap opera of Frank Provo and John Pickard. Both had been precocious teens working as professional radio actors and writers in the 1920s.
They fell in love in the 1930s and became a successful writing team for various radio (Wendy Warren and the News, Young Dr. Malone) and television day time shows. Their show From These Roots was one of the first televised soap operas in the 1950s. The Bachelors of Broken Hill Farm brings to life their love story, the adventures of their group of actor friends such as Julie Bovasso of “Saturday Night Fever” and Jessie Royce Landis of To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest as well as family tragedies. Together, they would endure everything -from WWII, homophobia, the Red Scare to theatrical hits and misses, while living as openly as they could during a time when it was illegal to be gay.
In this documentary - a world is conceptualized to capture the times within which they lived. There are no talking heads. The script is based on letters, interviews and diaries of Frank, John, their friends and family. Their voices brought to life by professional actors. It is told visually through hundreds of appropriated film clips as well as photographs and mementos from their personal archives. Tragicomic in tone, the feature thematically parallels their work as playwrights and soap opera writers.
In the summer of 2014, I came across an archived New York Times story about an American Sargeant John David Provoo who was a practicing Buddhist and had been an American POW in Japan during WWII. After the war, he was put on trial for war crimes. While researching his treason trial, I ran across a more fascinating story about his brother, Frank “Bud” Provo and his writing partner John Pickard. As I dug deeper, I found a neighbor of John’s in Great Barrington, Mass. I drove to meet this neighbor and he gave me 2 boxes full of their personal materials. He had held on to them ever since John passed away in 1995 and seemed relieved to give them to me. In the boxes were over a 1000 typed love letters written by Frank to John during his military service in WWII, hundreds of faded old photos, a handful of diaries, news clippings, postcards and plays. I am not a documentary filmmaker, but felt compelled to retrace Frank and John’s life together and the people in their lives. After several years of research and fact-checking, I decided to create a feature documentary based on the materials given to me. The Bachelors of Broken Hill Farm is the result.
For Biography on Director/Writer - Erika Yeomans
Hollywood Women’s Film Institute Festival, June 14-18 2019 AWARD WINNER - BEST LGBTQ HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY
Zeitgeist, New Orleans April, 2019
New Filmmakers Alt Fest 2019, Anthology Film Archives, NY
Miami Independent Film Festival, November 2018, Monthly Festival Selection
Original Song permission from 3’s A Charm by Lizzy Yoder
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.