Carl Perkins' Story Coming to Big Screen


Million Dollar Quartet photo courtesy of
(l-r) Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash

August 28, 2007 — When rockabilly legend Carl Perkins died in 1998, he left behind a musical legacy rich with hits including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Matchbox" and "Honey Don't," recorded by artists including The Beatles, Elvis Presley and the Judds. But on his deathbed, The Tennessean reports, Carl shared perhaps his greatest story of all: the thinkin' place, his view of heaven.

Carl's daughter Debbie Perkins Swift, his business associate Rick Korn and Nashville songwriter Randy Moore have spent the past several years adapting Carl's account of the thinkin' place into a screenplay of the same title, which also reflects the guitarist's life. The film is expected to be in theaters by 2009.

Before he died, Carl suffered a major stroke followed by a series of 17 more. "He was waxing and waning, where the head just falls to the side," Debbie said. "I walked over and said, 'I wish I knew where you go when you just drift off.' And he raised his head, he made eye contact with me, and he said, 'I go to the thinkin' place, and it's a mighty good place to go.' "

Carl went on to describe in great detail the place he called heaven. He talked about seeing his heavenly father and even described what he was wearing. He died three weeks later, and Debbie is convinced her father told her the story of the thinkin' place so she could share it. "I surrounded myself with people I thought could help me complete what I had to do," she said. "It was what I had to do for Daddy."

Debbie says the film will tell the whole story of her father's life. "It's about a little boy who came from nothing," she said. "He had been abused, and I like to say he picked himself out of those cotton fields on the strings of his guitar."