We celebrate Charles B. Pierce Day every June 16 in Texarkana, commemorating and remembering the many artistic contributions to the community and the film industry. He is most known for The Town That Dreaded Sundown and The Legend of Boggy Creek Monster.
Pierce was born June 16, 1938, in Hammond, Indiana, and died March 5, 2010, in Dover, Tennessee. As a child, Pierce’s family moved to Texarkana where he learned many of the skills that would later earn him fame.
During the 1960’s, Pierce was employed by KTAL-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana, as an art director for the news station. He returned to Texarkana, Arkansas, where he started an advertising business on State Line Avenue and landed a job as a character called Mayor Chuckles on a local television show network.
It wasn’t until 1971 when Pierce began to really garner attention for his videography. Local news reported on the “Fouke Monster,” a Sasquatch looking creature rumored in the town of Fouke, Arkansas, and in 1972, Pierce created a film titled The Legend of Boggy Creek based on those headlines.
The movie was filmed with a 16mm camera that Pierce assembled himself. The crew, set, and actors were all local, with most of the film shot in Fouke and Texarkana. The movie cost around $165,000 to make and later earned over $20 million in the first year.
Pierce took the proceeds from The Legend of Boggy Creek and produced many other films, including the film based on true events around the unsolved 1946 serial killer case, The Town That Dreaded Sundown in 1976. Most of his earlier films were produced in Arkansas, have local actors, or have some thematic elements of Texarkana in them.
After gaining experience in Texarkana, Pierce moved to California in the 1980’s and continued directing and creating films. He even wrote the story for the film Sudden Impact, starring Clint Eastwood, a friend of Pierce’s.
Pierce went on to have a family of his own before moving to California, with their childhood home located at 926 Grand Avenue in Texarkana, Arkansas. The home caught fire on May 6, 2017, but remains standing.