America’s Darling:  The Story of Jay N. “Ding” Darling

See what people are saying!

“You and your team have accomplished what most would consider an impossible task: condensing ‘Ding’ Darling’s remarkably productive life into a sixty-minute documentary.  By skillfully blending thoughtful interviews with audio and visual treasures from diverse archives, you have captured the warmth, breadth and passion of this inspiring teacher/leader, my grandfather.”

Christopher “Kip” Koss, Past President
J. N. “Ding” Darling Foundation

America’s Darling vividly sketches out the bold outlines of the many-faceted life of a legendary American political cartoonist.  ‘Ding’ Darling was a giant among cartoonists … during a true golden age for cartooning, when newspapers dominated the nation’s political conversation.  The cartoons created by Darling and his fellow ink-stained wretches enjoyed tremendous influence from statehouses all the way up to the White House.  Much of his work remains timeless to this day, particularly his large body of cartoons advocating conservation and respect for our natural resources.”

Matt Wuerker
Cartoonist for POLITICO
President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning

“From beginning to end, your documentary is chock full of entertaining images, humor, poignant stories, and local history.  Importantly, you share highly relevant messages from ‘Ding’ Darling which embrace myriad issues still challenging us today.  As one would expect, the film embodies ‘Ding’s’ passion for an overriding conservation theme.  Using rare footage of Darling’s and his famous cartoons, you have captured the unique spirit that is ‘Ding’ Darling.”

Mike Mullins, Board Member
“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society

“BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO !!! I laughed, I cried.  I feel if you had never heard of ‘Ding ‘Darling in your life you would now have an very informed understanding of the kind of man he was.  And, how much of an invaluable asset to this country in the past, and especially for the future …  I also feel ‘Ding’ would have been so proud of his descendants and the commitment to his legacy was felt throughout the film.  GREAT JOB”

Matthew Hall, Facilities Manager
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

“America’s Darling certainly is a labor of love and an extensive project as well … ‘Ding’ Darling created a vision of environmental preservation and continually critiqued the nation’s myriad of political actors and controversies over his long and exceptional career as a syndicated cartoonist (in over 100 newspapers nationally) for the Des Moines Register.  As the film emphasizes, ‘Ding’ was and is ‘a national treasure.’”

Dr. Lisa Ossian Professor of History
Des Moines Area Community College

“I saw the article in the Register…I have been a once-a-week newspaper cartoonist (Ames paper) for 20+ years and have long admired ‘Ding’ and also the Register’s Frank Miller … thank you for helping preserve and perpetuate not only their work but their principles!”

Chris Perrin
Author and Cartoonist

“Thank you for your passion and perseverance on the film  …  those efforts yielded such a fine tribute to one of our heroes.  The film deserves to be seen wide and far.”

Steve Chase, Chief, Division of Educational Outreach
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

“Thanks for all your skills and artistry as you brought the America’s Darling story to the  screen … you have added ingenious overlays to the story that should reach our most important audience, younger people who can commit to conservation in this critical decade.”

Jim Redmond, Member
Sierra Club

“We had a wonderful showing yesterday of America’s Darling. … It was so relevant for this audience at a national wildlife refuge. … I really think they have a new appreciation for the man and his accomplishments based on this movie. Great movie… great job. Congratulations — we will definitely show it again .”

Laurel Gould, Treasurer
Friends of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

“I thought your video portrayed ‘Ding’ in a clear, understandable narrative that kept my attention to the very last scene.  I thought his great, great grandson was such a sweet touch of humanity which was the embodiment of the message of a great man. You introduced me to someone that I knew nothing about and that is a tragic omission in my life. ”

Judith Laserson

“Thank you for a great presentation. It was wonderful to bring ‘Ding’s’ legacy back to life for our folks and I know they were very pleased to get to meet you and hear about the project. “

Jana Shepherd, Program Director
Iowa Newspaper Foundation

“Samuel, my partner and I met you a couple of weeks ago in in Panera Bread.  You very kind and gave me a copy of your most recent production. My wife and I learned a great deal about the early conservation movement, Duck Stamp, and protection of our environment. We were intrigued even as much time we spend on nature channels watching programs and in National Parks that we hadn’t heard of this beginning.  You have enriched our knowledge and lives. Thank you for your kindness.”

Jim and Jane Meade
Visual Expressions

“I would like to compliment you (and your team) on the ‘Ding’ Darling documentary.   I found it fascinating, inspiring, informative, and truly a great American story that people should know; not only because of his success, but also for his ability to passionately communicate things he believed in.  Things that not many at the time understood.  Thanks for bringing him to life for me.”

Al Fuller
Friends of Horicon National Wildlife Refuge

“That’s a winner.   I wanted to watch it after a minute or two and that is key. … You could not do better than Douglas Brinkley, of course.  He really casts a long shadow when he speaks of history. The other people were new to me but not to the environmentalists that will pass on the story. … We need more activists with clout.  Maybe your film will make that point.”

Howard “Mac” Thomson, Friend

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