1071 Heritage Park Drive
Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center
Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd” is based on Budd Schulberg’s “Your Arkansas Traveler,” a short story about a fictitious Arkansas native. Shot on location in Piggott, Arkansas, the motion picture is known for being the screen debut of both Lee Remick and Andy Griffith. Director Elia Kazan used many Arkansans as extras in the film and praised the people of Piggott for their hospitality.
The northeast Arkansas community was chosen because of its connection to the legendary Ernest Hemingway, who lived and visited there when married to Piggott native Pauline Pfeiffer. Otto “Toby” Bruce of Piggott, a friend of and assistant to Hemingway, heard of the project after meeting Schulberg in Key West while visiting the author. Bruce suggested Piggott, director Elia Kazan and Schulberg visited, and they decided it was the place to shoot.
Scenes were shot at the local football field, the Clay County Courthouse and at the home of Pauline Pfeiffer’s brother, Karl. Today the house is the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center. The production crew also built the town a swimming pool which is no longer there. Actress Patricia Neal made a guest appearance at the film's 50th anniversary celebration held in Piggott in 2007.
Piggott: 184 miles northeast of Little Rock via U.S. 49 off I-40 east
When shown on Tuner Classic Movies cable channel, host Robert Osborne said Andy Griffith threw himself so totally into the role the nastiness impacted his personal life. When filming was completed, Griffith reportedly told his family he would never do a role like it again. He never did.
Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal in a scene shot at what is now the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott.