In the halls of American pop culture there is a legend about music setting the prisoner free. The story of The Prisonaires has been identified as one of the earliest known cases where the prisoner truly was set free by the power of music. This documentary tells the story of The Prisonaires, 5 amazing men in the Tennessee State Prison who captured the hearts of officials with their music. The most famous song was “Just Walkin’ in the Rain“. Take a captivating look back at the realities of life, hardship, music, racism and ultimate triumph over extreme adversity.
The Prisonaires were a vocal singing group in the 1950’s made up of incarcerated inmates serving time at the maximum penal facility in Nashville, Tennessee. The Prisonaires recorded several tracks at the now famous Sun Records and several hit songs including “Just Walkin in the Rain”. Johnny Bragg and Sam Phillips brought the vocal perfection of The Prisonaires to the public through very extraordinary measures and difficult political times. Thanks to the ernest efforts of then Governor Clement’s prison reform, The Prisonaires forever changed the landscape of music history.
THE PRISONAIRES – Official Trailer
THE PRISONAIRES – 30 Second Trailer
MEET THE PRISONAIRES – Short Clip
INSIDE THE BIG HOUSE – Short Clip
GOV. FRANK CLEMENT – Short Clip
VOICE OF JOHNNY BRAGG – Short Clip
THE 6th PRISONAIRE – Short Clip
SAMS PHILLIPS PROUDEST – Short Clip
Cast & Crew
Convicted on 6 counts of rape. Sentenced 594 years in prison.
EDWARD L. THURMAN
Sentenced 99 years for murder.
Guitarist & Baritone Vocal
Sentenced 99 years for murder.
Sentenced 1 to 5 years for involuntary manslaughter.
JOHN E. DRUE
Sentenced 3 years for larceny.
CASS PALEY – Producer, Director
CASS is president of Cassel Productions, an independent, full-service production company that has produced numerous documentaries for American television and international broadcast over the past 20 years, including the Saga of Western Man series for ABC television and the Emmy Award winning National Geographic special, Journey to the Outer Limits.
For the past 20 years, Cass has been the archivist for the Roy Orbison Estate and has produced three DVD projects: Austin City Limits Concert, Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits, and The 1973 Australian Concert.
In addition, Paley has worked for Warner Bros. Records, Capitol Records, Sony Music, EMI Music and other entities to produce over 250 electronic press kits for distribution to MTV and all major entertainment media for such artists as Madonna, ZZ Top, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Dr. John, REM, and the B-52s.
Paley produced and directed a film on satiric artist Charles Bragg (Charles Bragg: One of a Kind) as well as a trio of multi-part documentaries (Guns of the Old West, Guns of the Civil War, and World War II: Breadlines to Boomtimes) with writer and co-producer Rodger Jacobs for PBS.
Lions Gate Films acquired worldwide distribution rights to Paley’s feature documentary, Wadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes (2000), winner of the Best Feature Documentary at the South by Southwest Film Festival.
RYAN RANNEY – Producer, Editor, Writer
RYAN is the owner of Ranney Studios, an HD film and video post-production facility including DVD authoring and audio production. With over 20 years experience Ryan’s workload has ranged everywhere from penniless and ridiculous productions to full-length feature films and music releases. Our systems and expertise allow for seamless integration between Film production and Music production.
Ryan has worked for music artists such as Roy Orbison and Marcus Miller and for Film studios including Paramount Pictures, Cassel Productions and Total Entertainment Centers.
Ranney Studios was founded not only to be a precision thriving business but also to give time and effort to up and coming talent and artistic projects.
Ryan is also an accomplished Musician / Guitarist / Producer and has recorded his own works for public and commercial release.
Find out more about Ranney Studios and the Music of Ryan Ranney at: www.ryanranney.com
SEAN FERNALD – Producer
SEAN has 10+ years of major record label experience with MCA Records, Virgin Records, Capitol Records and Sony Music, specializing in visual marketing, music video (production and promotion) and music licensing for film.
Over the past 20+ years, Sean has worked on virtually every station of a film set on over 80 films, giving him a comprehensive perspective on the craft of filmmaking. Sean is also a voting member of N.A.R.A.S. (National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences) and the Guild of Music Supervisors.
Sean Fernald recently produced the horror film RED VELVET (a horror-fantasy film starring Henry Thomas) and the musical celebration HAPPY ON THE GROUND: 8 DAYS AT GRAMMY CAMP (for The Grammy Foundation). He is currently preparing “The Prisonaires” (a documentary feature on five Tennessee Prison inmates who helped change the landscape of Doo-Wop Music in the 1950s), “Evil Never Dies” (the guardian of a terrible demonic secret is about to pass his burden on to a new sentinel), “Lucio” (a true-story based on a humble bricklayer who took brought Citibank to their knees) and a feature bio-pic based on the life of 70s adult-star Vanessa del Rio, told against the backdrop of organized crime who controlled Times Square from the 70s to mid-80s.