Born for Hard Luck

This is a short preview trailer. You can watch the entire film at no charge on the Folkstreams website. Folkstreams is a nonprofit whose mission is to find, preserve, contextualize, and stream documentary films on American folklife.

Watch the entire film at Folkstreams

A portrait of Arthur "Peg Leg Sam" Jackson --a Black harmonica player, singer, and comedian who made his living "busking" on the street and performing in patent-medicine shows touring southern towns. Footage includes excerpts from one of his last medicine shows, videotaped at a county fair in 1972, and material filmed near his home in South Carolina in 1975. The performance includes harmonica solos, songs, a parody of a chanted sermon, folktales, and reminiscences, and three buck dances.

  • Film by: Tom Davenport
  • Produced by: Tom Davenport with Allen Tullos and Daniel Patterson
  • Cinematographer: Tom Davenport
  • Sound: Allen Tullos with Kip Lornell
  • Editor: Louise B. Steig
  • Other Credits: Assistant Filmmaker: Michael Higgins. Special thanks to Kip Lornell, Bruce Bastin, James Peacock, Charles Zug, and Pete Lowry.
  • Funding: Produced with grants from The North Carolina Arts Council and The National Endowment for the Arts
  • Original Format: Film: 16mm
  • © 1976, Tom Davenport
  • 29mins, Black & White