May 29, 2007
An art exhibit planned for July and August at The Hub Caf and Coffeehouse will focus on the film "Raintree County. " A "Raintree County" 50th Anniversary Festival is set for July 24-Aug. 5 in various venues in Danville. Two-dimensional works of all styles with "Raintree County" themes are being solicited from area artists to fill the walls for an exhibit titled "From Cinema to Canvas: An Art Exhibit Inspired by 'Raintree County.'" Local artist Ginny Birney, the organizer for the exhibit and a member of the "Raintree County" planning committee, says the "Raintree County" festival is turning in to an arts event, with activities such as movie showings, a "Raintree County" memorabilia exhibit and a street dance included on the roster.
July 24, 2006
The "Raintree County" 50th Anniversary Committee has invited the country's foremost historian and expert on "Raintree County" to discuss the movie and the upcoming festival in 2007. Stephen V. Russell is a middle school principal who is driving from Belle Vernon, Pa., bringing scrapbooks, movie memorabilia and posters, to share with the committee and any interested attendees. The Raintree Committee welcomes anyone interested in volunteering or sponsoring the upcoming festival, or any "Raintree" fans, to come and share in the movie, magic and memories.
November 17, 2006
Remembering the way it was during the filming of "Raintree County" will be brought to the silver screen next year by a crew from Turner Classic Movies. Senior writer/producer Chuck Moore said the group was in the area shooting "interstitials," or short-form programming that is shown in between movies. "We go to different locations of famous movies, talk to people and get recollections," Moore said. "We're here in Danville for 'Raintree County.'" He said the programming will air sometime before the local Raintree County Festival, scheduled for July 24-Aug.
August 6, 2006
Stephen V. Russell gingerly removed a recording from its plastic protector. A quick scan noted "Nat King Cole sings The Song of Raintree County. " "This was a private thing that went to radio stations," Russell explained of the collector's item. "The only way to get the song was to have the 45. " Russell, who has an extensive collection of memorabilia from the film "Raintree County," has eyes all over the United States scouring nooks and crannies for collectibles. The Belle Vernon, Pa., resident has found "Raintree County" keepsakes from contacts, antique shows, and from writing to people.
July 27, 2007
Dear Editor, Kudos to Karen Logue and West T. Hill Community Theatre and of course, to the late Eben Henson. For 90 minutes Wednesday evening, those of us in the theater were escorted back in time 50 years. We sat transfixed and listening to the interviews of local townspeople describing memories and experiences of "Raintree County. " The Making of "Raintree County" in Danville brought these memories to life on stage. For the first time in many years, I actually wished I was older so I could have been among those with firsthand accounts of "star-gazing," movie making and scandalous phone calls in our beloved town.
April 30, 2007
(Note: Holly Henson's father, Col. Eben Henson, was the man responsible for luring MGM to film in Kentucky. Her mother, Charlotte, and grandmother (Mama Hen) were extras, but that's another story.) The time is 1956. For seven years MGM has been planning a Civil War movie to rival "Gone With The Wind. " To that end, they've spared no expense, sending 15,000 pounds of props, 3,500 costumes, 216 tons of equipment, 135 crew members and an all-star cast across country in what will be the most expensive domestic picture ever made.
July 29, 2007
"Raintree County" was created in a time when the big screen was trying to outdo the small screen. Television was the latest rage, and box office ratings were dwindling. Centre College professor Charles Vahlkamp, who was part of a discussion about the movie's legacy and history at Pioneer Playhouse on Saturday morning, said "Raintree County" was one of several films used to attempt a revival of the dying movie scene with its epic style. Vahlkamp said "Raintree County" was both a historic and historical movie.
November 14, 2006
Turner Classic Movies is supposed to be around this week. The crew will be in town and surrounding areas to explore the existing landmarks that were used in the filming of "Raintree County" 50 years ago. Recognizable sets include the Rodes House at Third Street and Lexington Avenue as well as the Freehaven Railroad Depot, which was purchased from MGM by Eben Henson after filming was completed. The depot has served as the box office for Pioneer Playhouse summerstock theater for the past 50 years.
March 15, 2006
A Danville woman began her 11-year career in the movies in the mid-1950s when "Raintree County" was filmed in Danville and surrounding areas. Vi Wilmot, Lexington Road, was secretary to the producer-director and unit production manager for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Inc. during the filming. This led to her behind-the-scenes career for other films on location in Kentucky, Virginia and Louisiana. "I started out working for MGM when the filmmakers first came here scouting for a location," said Wilmot.
November 16, 2006
It had been nearly 50 years, but Elizabeth Kernen remembered the scene well. "It was right over there where I held Montgomery Clift's head in my lap," said Kernen, who once was named Elizabeth Taylor, and who stood in for the famous actress during the filming of "Raintree County," part of which was shot in Lincoln County. Kernen was 16 at the time and bore such a striking resemblance to Taylor that a member of the movie crew made her Taylor's stand-in. In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the making of the movie "Raintree County," Kernen accompanied a crew from Turner Classic Movies who spent four days in Lincoln and Boyle counties this week, filming locations where "Raintree County" was shot.