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Butch: The Legend of Langston opens on the big screen much to the delight of Butch himself

LANGSTON, OKLAHOMA -- Among the many buildings, the staff and students who've breathed Lion air for the past half-century, there is one man everybody here knows, more than famous alums or past university presidents.

He's the person you see sweeping the auditorium walkway.

Harden Benjamin is his name.

Butch, as he's best known, is the best-loved, best remembered man in school history.

"He's a rock star at Langston and obviously a legend there," says film maker David Tester.

David Tester met him for the first time more than a year ago on another assignment at Langston University.

He couldn't miss the bright suit and the big smile, and the story behind them.

Tester recalls asking, "Who is this guy?"

The response was, "Oh that's just Butch, like it was just any other person walking in the room. So I was like, 'what's his story?"

There are legends about Butch's origins.

David simply found a man who came to Langston as a student in 1961, graduated, and stayed on as a custodian.

"What is amazing," notes Tester, "is that generation after generation has passed down this unwritten law of how they treat him. Everyone treats him with respect."

We profiled Butch in a Great State story from 1994.

He'd already been on campus for more than 30 years.

Over six months of filming, David, producers Mautra Staley and Brandon Clemoens, worked to quantify his unique contribution to the campus community.

"Butch embodies the very legacy of Langston," says Staley.

Butch himself is awfully proud of his tribute.

"What do you think of your movie?" asks a campus visitor.

"I think it's great," he says. "People will have a chance to see who I am and what I'm like and things like that."

If you really want to put this short film in a category, love story might be most appropriate.

It's the story of a simple man who loved a small Oklahoma college, or, better yet, the story of how so many generations of Lions came to love him.

The 1577 production of Butch: The Legend of Langston is one of more than 100 films showcased at the 2017 Dead Center Film Festival.

Butch's movie screens 6pm to 8pm Friday night, June 9, at the Bricktown Harkins Theater.

The film screens for audiences again on Sunday, June 11, also at the Bricktown Harkins.

For more information about the Dead Center Festival including screening schedules and ticket info. go to http://www.deadcenterfilm.org