You probably heard the news that David Crosby, the famous singer/songwriter best known for his stints in the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, died on Thursday, January 19th, at the age of 81. The world mourns the loss of a true rock ‘n roll legend and counterculture hero.
But did you know that Crosby’s father, Floyd Crosby, achieved fame and notoriety in the entertainment industry in his own right, as a celebrated movie cinematographer? There is an interesting connection between the elder Crosby and the Historic Gatlinburg Inn.
In 1942, Floyd Crosby entered the Great Smoky Mountains to film footage for a documentary about the struggle of American farmers after the Great Depression. It is believed that the movie, titled The Land, never aired at that time, perhaps for political reasons. It has aired in a couple of broadcasts in the years since.
While coming through the area, Floyd stayed at the Historic Gatlinburg Inn. Our records show he checked in June 6, 1942, along with his film crew. We cannot definitively say that he was here filming The Land, but the timing of the stay and geography of the Great Smoky Mountains would point to that being the case. He was here filming something!
It would not have been unusual for someone of Crosby’s status to stay at the Gatlinburg Inn. The owners of the Inn, Rel Maples and his wife, Wilma, often entertained dignitaries, business people and celebrities.
Floyd Crosby’s most commercial success came from a series of films he did with Roger Corman (yes, that Roger Corman) that were mostly in the horror and science fiction genres. Some of those titles you might recognize include The Fast and the Furious, The Beast with a Million Eyes, and Attack of the Crab Monsters.
Though not the household name of his famous son, David, Floyd Crosby was an accomplished cinematographer with a long and successful career. He won an Oscar for Best Cinematography for the 1931 movie Tabu: A Story of the South Sea, as well as a Golden Globe for the 1952 Western, High Noon. He remained involved in film until his retirement in 1970.
The Historic Gatlinburg Inn is proud of our history, and we love connecting the dots between the people who have stayed here and their connection to the history and culture of America. We invite you to come visit us and connect those dots for yourself!
Rest in peace, David and Floyd Crosby – may you enjoy eternity creating art and music together.
David Crosby photo © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com