Wine of Morning Character and Actor Bios

Joel1Joel (Al Carter)

Joel, called Barabbas, and his friends witness some of the famous miracles of Jesus Christ’s ministry. However, they fail to see the spiritual implications of Jesus’ power and seek to use Him for their own political aims, only to have the Lord shatter their dreams with His unconditional love for “traitors.” Rome pardons Barabbas, but the crucifixion haunts him for years until a shipwreck gives him a new opportunity to receive pardon from God.

A native of Upland, CA, Al went to Bob Jones University as a freshman in 1949. It was not, however, until his senior year that Wine of Morning went before the cameras. Carter was tested for the leading role along with some half-dozen other students in the University and won the part hands down. Carter had been active in University dramatic productions and had undertaken a few small roles in previous releases of Unusual Films, but Barabbas in Wine of Morning was his first major film assignment.

When Carter graduated from BJU in 1954, he went on to get his doctorate and work in the field of Human Resources.


YearickPrince Manaen (David Yearick)

Foster brother of King Herod, Prince Manaen is the leader of the terrorist group that wants to commit acts of violence against Rome. He trains Joel and later assigns him to various acts of rebellion. The Prince creates and makes famous “Barabbus” (Joel) who becomes the symbol of all those who wish to fight and eradicate the Romans from Israel.

David Yearick is a graduate of Bob Jones University. He later served many years as a full-time pastor in Greenville, SC, and also received an honorary doctorate from Bob Jones University.


omahOmah (George Hennix)

Originally from Joppa, Omah hates the Romans for what they did to his family. When he meets Joel, he tells him some about his travels and Joel is fascinated by his sophisticated manner. Later Omah capitalizes on Joel’s discouragement with Israel’s situation and Jesus’ response to Levi the Tax Collector, and recruits him into a terrorist group that wants to push the Romans out through acts of rebellion and murder.

George Hennix was a graduate of Bob Jones University. He passed away in the early 1990s.


BobIIIDysmas (Bob Jones III)

Dysmas is the young son of Jonathan of Capernaum. When Joel comes to Capernaum, Dysmas is excited to see him and encourages his father to make Joel his assistant with the shop. Later when Joel expresses frustration with high taxes and his disappointment with Jesus, Dysmas tries to encourage him. Joel ends up leaving Capernaum, but as events would have it, Dysmas meets up with Joel again in Jerusalem.

Bob Jones University’s longest acting president, Dr. Bob Jones III now serves as the University’s Chancellor. His film roles include Dysmas in Wine of Morning, Jeb Stuart in Red Runs the River, and Fernando in Flame in the Wind. Dr. Jones is also an accomplished stage actor, playing many Shakespearean characters and various other roles. His memorable roles include the title characters in Macbeth and Cyrano de Bergerac. Dr. Jones maintains a full schedule of preaching and speaking engagements across the country.


JR2Pontius Pilate (Bob Jones Jr.)

Pontius Pilate, the Roman Procurator living in Jerusalem, is in a difficult position trying to maintain peace and order in the area. Wanting good reports sent back to Caesar about his performance, he plans to release Barabbas in order to gain favor with the Jews. When Jewish priests bring Jesus to him wanting him to be put to death, Pilate can find no justification for this death sentence.

Dr. Bob Jones Jr. was largely responsible for the rich cultural education at Bob Jones University.  He played nearly every major Shakespearean character, from Hamlet to Shylock—whom he also played in the Unusual Films production Pound of Flesh.  In the highly acclaimed film Wine of Morning, Unusual Films’ first major production, he played Pontius Pilate.  He starred as General Richard Ewell in the Civil War epic Red Runs the River, and in Flame in the Wind, Dr. Jones played the memorable role of the evil Grand Inquisitor Munebraga.  His last major film role was in The Printing, as KGB General Smirov.


PaulJoseph, the Carpenter (Howard Burns)

Joseph, the father of Jesus, is close to Joel and like a father to him. He encourages Joel to move on with his life and to go to God about his trouble.

Howard Burns participated in Wine of Morning while a student of Bob Jones University. He went on to pastor several churches. Rev. Burns passed away in 2007.



ButtramStephen (Jack Buttram)

Stephen, a friend of Joel’s, is betrothed to Irene of Cyprus, a girl he has never laid eyes on. Joel happens to see her before Stephen and falls in love with her at first sight. Stephen and Irene marry, but Joel never tells Stephen of his love for Irene.

One of Unusual Films’ most frequently used actors, Jack Buttram has carried major roles in many of our productions. Starting as Stephen in Wine of Morning, he went on to portray General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in Red Runs the River, Shed McComb in Sheffey, and played the lead role of Almasihu the Doctor in Beyond the Night. His most recent appearance in an Unusual Films production was a cameo role in Milltown Pride as the doctor at the Newton Mill Hospital. On stage, he appeared in many roles, including the title role in Henry V, Touchstone from As You Like It, and Horatio from Hamlet. He taught radio for many years at BJU and worked in the field of Public Relations, including projects for such figures as Strom Thurmond. He and his wife Barbara live in South Carolina.


Paul2Paul, the Apostle (Vincent Cervera)
Joel comes upon the Apostle Paul in Antioch preaching to Jews outside a Synagogue. A Christian in the crowd brings Joel to his attention after he is done preaching. Later, Paul leads Joel to belief in Jesus Christ.

Vincent Cervera is a graduate of Bob Jones University. After his graduation, Vincent became an evangelist and preacher of the Gospel.



Myra2Irene of Cyprus (Katherine Helmond)

Irene, a beautiful girl from Cyprus, is engaged to Stephen of Cana, a man she’s never seen. She marries Stephen and has one son before Stephen perishes as a martyr for Christ. Later she crosses paths with Joel and witnesses to him of Christ.

 Katherine Helmond participated in Wine of Morning while a student at Bob Jones University. She went on to a professional acting career.


Myra3Myra, an Egyptian Dancer (Joan Devolk)

Myra, an attractive Egyptian dancer, is known by people all over Jerusalem. Joel, who’s seen her and admired her from a distance, saves her one night from the advances of Prince Manaen’s servant, Toron. Myra falls in love with him and later tries to save him from the Romans who are trying to catch him.

Joan Devolk participated in Wine of Morning while a student of Bob Jones University. She later married Barry Thomas, a graduate of Bob Jones University.



Jonathan, the father of Dysmas (Robert Pratt)

Jonathan owns a shop in Capernaum, but he is sick with palsy. He gladly recruits Joel to help him run his shop at the suggestion of Dysmas. When Joel expresses thoughts of rebellion against the high taxes imposed on the Jews, Jonathan explains that God is judging the Jews and the only hope is in repentance before God. Later Jonathan is healed of the palsy by Jesus.

A teacher in the Speech Department and Radio & Television program at Bob Jones University, Mr. Pratt went on to become Chairman of the Division of Speech. From the film roles of Jonathan (Wine of Morning), the Penitent (Flame in the Wind), and Tyler Frazier (Sheffey) to the stage roles Julius Caesar, Iago, and Polonius, Mr. Pratt had a dynamic and varied acting career. He went to be with the Lord in 1998.