References to Raleigh Nc in Popular Culture and Film

Raleigh, also called the “City of Oaks” is the capital city of North Carolina. Over the years, Raleigh has enjoyed increased popularity, both in film and other popular culture. If you have ever traveled the roads in southeastern USA, there is no doubt you have seen NC license plates that proudly boast “First in Flight.” This slogan refers to the famous Wright Brothers’ flight – the first successful controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight. The flight actually occurred in Kill Devil Hills, the outer banks of NC, which is a 3 and a half hour drive or just a short flight away from Raleigh.

Since that famous flight, there are some other people and events that put North Carolina on the world’s radar. James Taylor toured extensively, singing praises of North Carolina at his concerts in the 1970s. A little know fact is that George Harrison and Paul McCartney of the Beatles were guest performers on Taylor’s first recording of “Carolina On My Mind” in the 1960s. The song praises NC life and was written from James’ memories of growing up in NC. When he lived in Carrboro, it was literally just a “country road” away from Raleigh.

The capital city itself was probably most popularized nationally by Andy Griffith and company through the highly ranked and now syndicated television shows: “The Andy Griffith Show,” and later “Mayberry, R.F.D.” Several episodes have scenes where “big city” officials from Raleigh visit the sheriff’s office. TV characters Andy Taylor, Barney Fife and others make several references to Raleigh and occasionally visited Raleigh. When Don Knotts left the show to pursue movie roles, the fictional town of Mayberry wished Barney well as he pursued advancement in his law enforcement career in the big city of Raleigh.

Raleigh has been represented in movies as well. One example is “Cold Mountain.” It is in a Raleigh hospital where the wounded Inman (Jude Law) deserts from the Confederate Army for a long hike home to Cold Mountain, NC, to be with his love, Ada (Nicole Kidman). Part of Bull Durham, dubbed the most popular sports movie of all times, was filmed in Raleigh. Just a visit to Mitch’s Tavern, across the street from NCSU, will take you back to the late 1980s when the film was made. Mitch’s hasn’t changes much and still has movie mementos, including broken glass resulting from the movie bar scene.

One of the biggest boons to Raleigh has been when “Money” magazine first listed Raleigh as the number one place to live in the early 1990s. Since then Raleigh has continued to be one of the top ranked cities by “Money,” “Forbes,” “Kiplinger” and others. As a result, many have relocated to the area, causing the Raleigh population to grow by close to 70%.

Presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson and James Polk came from Raleigh. Raleigh is also the home to various contemporary celebrities. They run the gambit, from Clay Aiken, popular American Idol runner up, to Heavy Medal recording artists Corrosion of Conformity. Several athletes, such as baseball player, Josh Hamilton grew up in Raleigh. And, Raleigh watched rising star Evan Rachael Wood grow up on stage along side her father, Raleigh’s most popular thespian, Ira David Wood, III.

North Carolina actively encourages television and movie filming and many movies have actually been partially or completely filmed in the state. In addition to other studios and all the on location sites made available throughout the state, Raleigh offers customizable filming studio space convenient to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Combined with a rising population, all the accolades enjoyed over the years, and being in a prime location of a film friendly state, more of Raleigh promises to be seen!