The Gift

The Gift

Film Session(s)

13 minutes, United Kingdom, 2014



8th January, 1946. Tupelo, Mississippi.

A BOY – eleven, tussled auburn hair – snoozes on the porch of a shotgun house as ‘The Roy Rodgers Show’ plays from a nearby wireless radio. Suddenly, his MOTHER - thirties, pretty but authoritative – turns off the radio and tells him it's time to go.

After their short drive through the cotton fields of Mississippi, they arrive at Tupelo Hardware. Exiting the car, the Mother takes the Boy by the hand as they walk towards the red brick building. Approaching the door, the boy stares at a bicycle sat, pride of place, in the storefront window. The Mother ushers him inside. A bell rings as they enter the large hardware store.

Heading straight for the counter, they are met by the store worker, FORREST BOBO – late fifties, with thinning grey hair and a warm smile that only a grandfather can share – who greets them warmly. The Mother explains that they are there to buy the Boy's birthday present - and he has his heart set on the bicycle in the window. The Boy interrupts – he no longer wants the bicycle, instead he’s now transfixed by a .22 rifle hanging on the wall behind Forrest. The Mother is adamant; the Boy can't have the rifle. They argue – ending with the Mother telling him to wait outside. The Mother explains to Forrest that the rifle is too dangerous. Forrest agrees...but maybe there is something else in the store instead...

Outside, the Boy sits on a nearby bench, morosely playing with his six-shooter cap gun. Forrest exists the store clutching a large, black case and joins the Boy on the bench. After quizzing him on his interest in the rifle, Forrest opens the case and shows the Boy a guitar – explaining just how great a gift it is; the constructive influence of creating music with the guitar, rather than the destructive influence of a rifle. Forrest offers up the guitar for the Boy to try - he thinks about this for a moment before strumming a few times and clearly getting into it.

Back inside the store, the Boy heads back to the counter, and his Mother. The Mother asks the Boy if he's made his mind up. He has – he'll take the guitar.

Back at the shotgun house, sitting on the porch steps, the Boy strums at his guitar. The Mother calls him for dinner but he doesn't move – genuinely distracted by the guitar. She calls again, firmer. This time he hears her and stops strumming. Climbing to his feet, the Boy walks inside, his guitar in hand; leaving his six-shooter on the wooden floor of the porch. As he enters, he closes the door behind him, revealing a name plaque, carved into the front door of the house: Presley.

Based on a true story.


Director(s): Gabriel Robertson

Producer(s): Ken Petrie