Filming of the Columbia Pictures crime drama Fool’s Parade began on September 21, 1970.
The movie was based on Davis Grubb’s 1969 novel of the same title. Like Grubb’s earlier breakthrough novel, The Night of the Hunter, Fool’s Parade was set in the author’s native West Virginia. Much of the filming was shot on site in Moundsville.
The film starred Jimmy Stewart as legendary coal-shooter Mattie Appleyard, a character modeled after West Virginia storyteller Riley Wilson and the convict Holly Griffith. Fool’s Parade also featured George Kennedy, Strother Martin, Kurt Russell, and Anne Baxter. Wheeling native Morgan Paull played in the film, as well.
Little needed to be done to make the Moundsville of 1970 appear like it did in 1935, when the movie is set. The state penitentiary, the Marshall County Courthouse, and the vacant Marshall County Bank building all served as realistic sets. Davis Grubb made it to town for the last day of shooting. He took a $750 taxi ride from New York City, accompanied by his dog, Rowdy Charlie.
Fool’s Parade premiered at the Court Theater in Wheeling in June of 1971.