Community Reading of AA McLaughlin Screenplay

ALDERSON- The community is invited to participate in a second reading of The ’36 Combine, a screenplay about Coach AA McLaughlin and the town of Alderson. The free event will be held at the library of the Alderson Community Center on Saturday, November 18th from 12pm – 3pm. Light refreshments will be served. The Community Center is located at the corner of Chestnut and Virginia Avenue in Alderson.

As its title suggests, The ’36 Combine, is set in 1936 at the height of the Great Depression when Coach, as Mr. McLaughlin was always affectionately called, first came to the town of Alderson to teach math as well as coach football and basketball. At that time, the football team had not won a game in years – hadn’t even scored one touchdown! Yet, Coach inspired those young men to form a winning combine. The entire school and the community at large joined in this effort: attending games, raising money for equipment and other necessary supplies, and forming a marching band.

The screenplay was written by local author Courtney Smith after she interviewed many Aldersonians about Coach. “We originally presented the information as nonfiction in a readers’ theater format,” Ms. Smith remarked, “but I fell in love with the story and wanted to do more. I wanted to include more information about Bill Simmons, Eugene Boyd and Marjorie Michelinie, the Nine Girls Club, Norman Hazeldine, Stella Nelson, and others who contributed.” Although the screenplay is based on real people and true events, it is a fictionalized version. Changes were made to make the story more appropriate to be a Hollywood movie. Ms. Smith hopes that someday a movie will be filmed and more people will learn about the remarkable contributions Coach made to his community both on and off the football field as well as the incredible support that he had in Alderson.

For more information about the reading, please contact Courtney Smith, 304-645-5465.

Photo captions: Coach AA McLaughlin and the 1936 Alderson Indians

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