Otto Wood play opens Friday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A stage play on the life of the once famous bandit Otto Wood will debut Friday night in North Wilkesboro.
Wood, one the country’s most wanted criminals, was killed in a gunfight on East Innes Street in Salisbury on Dec. 31, 1930. Salisbury Police Chief R.L. Rankin shot and killed the “one-armed desperado” near the old Hardiman’s Furniture building.
Thousands came to view his body at Wright Undertaking on West Innes Street before the citizens of Salisbury collected $24.68 to send Wood’s body to his sickly mother in Coaldale, W.Va. The citizenry raised an extra $39.44 to help the mother in her son’s burial.
Wood had his roots in Wilkes County, where among his friends and family he developed an almost Robin Hood-type reputation through his many crimes and escapes from prison.
Jerry Lankford, editor of The Record in North Wilkesboro, has written the play, “Otto Wood; The Bandit.” It will be performed at The Record Park Friday and Saturday nights and again June 17 and 18.
Heather Osborne is the director. Nat Padgett plays the role of Otto Wood. Much of the script is based on an autobiography Wood wrote during one of his stays in prison and on interviews that led to a series of stories about Wood that appeared in The Record.
All seats for the show, which includes live music, are $5. The Record Park is located at Fourth and E streets in North Wilkesboro. For more information about the show, contact The Record at 336-667-0134.