Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Muhlenberg Former Judge Executive and Friend Chosen for 'Jury Duty' in 'To Kill A Mockingbird' in Alabama

mockingbirdMUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (5/15/13) – Just about everyone who has taken high school literature classes is familiar with the gripping courtroom drama entitled "To Kill a Mockingbird". The Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee, and Oscar winning film starring Gregory Peck as lawyer Atticus Finch, were based on actual events that occurred early in the writer's life in Monroeville, Alabama.
 
Lee captures the intense drama, laced with Twain-like humor, in this immortal tale of a Southern lawyer who defends a black man accused of the rape of a white girl in a small Alabama community Lee calls Maycomb in her novel. Lee still lives in the town and has not allowed interviews since 1964.
 
However, the real life adventure of two Muhlenberg County natives is also quite a story. It involves former Judge Executive Rodney Kirtley, Ralph Dillihay, formerly of Drakesboro and their wives, Suzanne Dillihay, a native of Martwick, and Jackie Robinson Kirtley of Central City. Both couples now live in Bowling Green, but decided to make a trip to Alabama.
 
Dillihay explains what happened. "We all are in the same Sunday School class at church, and got to know 2 other couples originally from Monroeville. As we got to know them, they reminded me that Harper Lee is from that town, and from time to time they would bring up interesting facts about the town, it began to fascinate me." Dillihay said.
 
"We then learned that a group of local actors there give live performances of "To Kill A Mockingbird" each year in the actual courthouse where the drama played out." Dillihay said.
 
"We decided to go down to see a performance. When I called to get tickets the lady at the box office said, 'Well, today you are going to get a special deal. I thought she must have meant our tickets would cost less or something like that. Then she explained, 'No, you are going to be on the jury!' Ended up, we weren't just in the play.., Rodney was picked to be the foreman. It was a fantastic production. You would have a hard time telling that these were just local people that get up and go to work every morning. They really seemed like highly trained professional actors. They sell out all shows, 16 or so I think each year in May." Dillihay noted.
 
"The funniest part is Rodney somehow had never read the book, and had never seen the movie. So he was a bit surprised when they gave him the piece of paper that said 'Guilty,’” Dillihay said.
 
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was an instant success, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a true American classic.

The plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as an event many say occurred near the author's home in 1936, when she was just 10 years old. To make things even more fascinating for fans of Southern flavored literature, the town was also where renowned author Truman Capote spent his summers. He and Ms. Lee were best friends throughout his life, and many of his novels and short stories were also inspired by the town and its people.
 
"Even though it's a novel, it's really about what went on in Monroeville." Dillihay continued. Harper Lee was Scout. Her father, of course, was a lawyer there. But to actually see the town and especially to be inside the courtroom that inspired Ms. Lee's novel was really a once in a lifetime experience for all of us. If you ever get a chance to go, put it on your calendar to call them in February because the tickets for all shows go pretty fast." Dillihay stressed.
 
Although performances of this one of a kind courtroom drama are sold out this season, if the Gulf Coast is on your summer vacation plans, you can still tour the courthouse and the town's many historic landmarks, that will seem hauntingly familiar to anyone who has read the novel.
 
Monroeville is located approximately half way between Montgomery and Mobile.
 
The appropriately named "Mockingbird Players" are set to perform before sold out audiences through May 18th, with all proceeds going to keep the courthouse and other historic sites in the town looking just the way they did when Atticus and Scout walked hand in hand through the not so fictitious Alabama town of "Maycomb".
 
Paul McRee
SurfKY News
Photos provided by Rodney Kirtley

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14
2/6/2014 - posted

Stock Report

button coupons
1 DOW 17,804.80
+26.65 (0.15%)    
2 S&P 2,070.65
+9.42 (0.46%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,765.38
0.00 (0.00%)    
2/6/2014 - posted
2/6/2014 - posted
button classifieds

In Other News...

Earlington Church Toy Drive Blesses Community Families

EARLINGTON, Ky. (12/20/14) - The Earlington First Baptist Church hosted its annual Toy Drive Thursday, Dec. 18. Karen… Read More
2/6/2014 - posted

Most Read This Week

December 16, 2014 10837

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 17, 2014 7746

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 17, 2014 6833

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 19, 2014 4571

Armstrong Mine to Layoff 39 by End of Day

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 19, 2014 4534

Dawson Springs Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Detective Sean McCance
December 18, 2014 4201

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 19, 2014 4071

Woman Flown to St. Mary's after Two-Car Collision

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 16, 2014 4036

Highway Crews Pre-Treating Roadways for Potential…

in Hopkins News by Keith Todd
December 16, 2014 3746

KFWC Proposes 2015-2016 Deer Season Dates and…

in General News For All Sites by Department of Fish and Wildlife
December 19, 2014 3426

Vehicle Fire Causes Traffic Back-Up on Pennyrile

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis

Stories Trending Today

December 20, 2014 1647

KET’s Kentucky Life Segment to Feature Old…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 21, 2014 800

UK Family Doctor Gives Back, Stays Grounded…

in General News For All Sites by Allison Perry and Elizabeth Adams
December 21, 2014 752

Earlington Church Toy Drive Blesses Community…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
December 21, 2014 726

Final 'Frozen' Performance Set for Tonight at LWC

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 21, 2014 675

AG Conway Announces 2014 Keep Kentucky Kids Safe…

in General News For All Sites by Daniel Kemp
December 21, 2014 591

Follow Safe Sleep Recommendations for Infants

in General News For All Sites by Beth Fisher
December 21, 2014 589

Legislator's Log - Week of Dec. 21, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Brent Yonts
December 21, 2014 549

NCM Motorsports Park to Break Ground on Kimberlee…

in General News For All Sites by National Corvette Museum
December 21, 2014 541

Edumedics LLC to Expand Louisville Headquarters,…

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
December 21, 2014 540

Dave Says - Dec. 21, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Dave Ramsey

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss