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Little Laura and Big John

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Little Laura and Big John" (1973).jpg
Directed byLuke Moberly
Bob Woodburn
Produced byLou Wiethe
Written byLuke Moberly
Bob Woodburn
Based onstory by Phillip Weilding[1]
StarringFabian Forte
Karen Black
Paul Gleason
Music byBill Walker
CinematographyH. Edmund Gibson
Edited byTom Woodburn
Louis Wiethe Productions
Distributed byCrown International
Release date
11 May 1973
Running time
82 mins
CountryUnited States

Little Laura and Big John is a 1973 American feature film about the exploits of the Ashley gang in the Florida everglades in the 1910s and 1920s.[3]

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Loosely based on the true story about Laura Upthegrove and John Ashley. Laura's mother, Emma Upthegrove tells the story of her daughter and John Ashley. John goes into a life of crime after he accidentally shoots an Indian.

Historical narrative

In December 1929, Ashley murdered Seminole trapper Desoto Tiger, whose body was discovered by a crew building the Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee. In one of the first instances of a jury of whites convicting a white for the murder of an Indian, Ashley was convicted for murder, but was repeatedly allowed to escape custody, whereupon he began his life of crime. Although he spent jail time for many other crimes, he never served a day for the murder of Desoto Tiger.[4]



Plans to make the film were announced in 1968 by Luke Moberly, who owned a studio near Fort Lauderdale.[5] Costumes were borrowed from the Martin County Historical Society. By February 1969 it was announced that Fabian and Karen Black were to play the leads. Filming began 10 March 1969 on location in Stuart, Florida, in and around Martin County, and at Moberly Film Studios in Fort Lauderdale.[2][6] The budget had been raised by Lou Wiethe.[7]

Additional footage was later shot, including filming a nude scene at the public beach at the House of Refuge in Martin County.[2]

The original title of the film was The True Story of the Ashley-Mobley Gang. Then it was Too Soon to Laugh, Too Late to Cry before becoming Little Laura and Big John.[8]


Crown International bought the rights to the movie which was not released until 1973.[9]

The film marked the first time Fabian was credited as "Fabian Forte."[8]

See also


  1. ^ AUTHOR REMEMBERS SMALL-TOWN FLAVOR OF FORT LAUDERDALE: [SUN-SENTINEL Edition] MacENULTY, PAT. Sun Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale] 04 Apr 1990: 9.
  2. ^ a b c "Historical Vignettes: Ashley Gang movie is filmed in Stuart" by Alice L. and Greg E. Luckhardt, TC Palm 5 December 2012 accessed 5 July 2012
  3. ^ Little Laura and Big John at
  4. ^ "Indian River Lagoon early 1900's - The Dreaded Ashley Gang". Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Building a Movie Studio", Palm Beach Post, 13 June 1972 accessed 5 July 2014
  6. ^ Freund, Bob (March 23, 1969). "Movie Recreates Story of a Notorious Gang". Fort Lauderdale News. p. 17C – via Free to read
  7. ^ Post by  moberlystudios on August 23, 2012 at Valley Theater in Cincinnati accessed 5 July 2014
  8. ^ a b The film scene The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 21 Apr 1969: 4.
  9. ^ MOVIE CALL SHEET: Rights Acquired to Novels Murphy, Mary. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 09 Oct 1972: d15.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 July 2019, at 12:41
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