In 1997, Jack and Dee Martin were offered the opportunity to appear on the Home and Garden TV show – “The Good Life”. The film crew arrived on April 19, 1997 and spent three days filming. They filmed Jack plowing and harvesting broomcorn, making a broom and demonstrating to a local school group. They interviewed Jack and Dee about the theme of the show, which is – Leaving the Rat Race Behind to Live Work off the Land at Something you Love to do. The show was also interested in the contrast of what Dee was doing compared to all the years she spent as a professional singer, recording and living a life of moving around and being on the road.
They wanted to film her singing some of her original material, so Dee took the opportunity and wrote a song called “The Good Life”; which she performed along with a gospel song she had written. As she had hoped, the producer, Scott Craig, loved the song and ended up leasing it for the duration of the program. During the filming they also made friends with the show’s coordinator, Cathy Fisher, whose daughter Rachel has an antique shop in Michigan. Hockaday Handmade Brooms are now sold in Rachel’s antique shop. The program first aired in November 1997, and again in 1998 – 2002. Whether it will air again has yet to be decided.
The story of Hockaday Handmade Brooms and Jack and Dee Martin has appeared in over 50 newspapers and magazines; including every major paper in the state of Tennessee. They have also been featured in the “Tennessee Magazine” in 1990 and 1999; one of the few folk artists to be featured twice in 10 years.
Their first television appearance was on a show titled, “On the Road with W. R. Morris”, the man who wrote the well-known book about Bufford Pusser. It aired in 1987, just one year after they first opened their gift shop. In 1992 they filmed for three days for Japanese TV on a show called “Mrs. America”. They started out filming Dee performing on Beale Street; but were so interested in the broom story that they ended up filming Jack also. The show ran for three days instead of one day as originally planned. During that same year, Jack appeared on PBS on a Memphis show about broom making. They have also been featured on every TV station in Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee. Their tours have taken them to many historical homes and museums in and out of Tennessee, as well as many folk-art festivals.
Besides being featured on HGTV from 1997-2002, they were also featured on the TV show “Tennessee Crossroads” in 1998. One of their proudest accomplishments came in 1996 when Jack & Dee were chosen as one of the Top Twelve Folk Artists in the Nation to perform at the 1996 Olympics. They have also been featured on the American Profile web site.
Jack and Dee consider their most important accomplishment to be the demonstrations
on broom making that they have given to over 700,000 children; keeping folk-art
alive for generations to come. Their dream of opening their own museum came
true in 1995; and they had their first broomcorn festival in 1996.