Being an Extra in an East Tennessee Film
Me in period costume.
There really is a film industry in Tennessee. One day, while we were living in Niota, my husband was driving home and was stopped by a gentleman wanting directions. Imagine his surprise when he recognized the man as Claude Akins. Mr. Akins was in Tennessee filming scenes for the forgettable movie, King Kong Lives.
Anyway, a few years later, I heard of a Utah film company that was getting ready to shoot a movie not far from Vonore. It was called The Work and the Glory, and while the first part of the story was set in upper New York state, the word was that the terrain and vegetation around Vonore was very close to that of New York and the seasons were more cooperative. When the call went out for extras, I applied online. After all, $80 dollars a day to appear in a movie sounded pretty good! A few of my friends signed up as well and we went together on the first day. Early! About five a.m.
The Work and the Glory is a fictionalized account of Joseph Smith and the beginning of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) through the eyes of a fictional family. So we female extras were outfitted in long, heavy dresses suitable for the early 1800’s, and for those of us with shorter hair, we wore bonnets. The men had old fashioned shirts, vests and britches held up by suspenders. It took a little while for all of us to get fitted and dressed in the two wardrobe trailers and then it was wait around to be selected for a scene.
The first film was created to look like Palmyra, New York in the 1820’s. I did two days, but only ended up in the film in one distant scene, a baptism scene at the end of the movie. That’s all that is expected of an extra. You don’t speak, you don’t interact directly with the principle actors. You also have to be available when they call you.
One of the locations I was called up for was at the Blount Mansion in Knoxville. The dresses were made with the same types of materials women wore in those long ago days, wool and cotton mostly. When doing a location shot, you had to wear them all day because that was often how long it took to do a major scene. For that particular scene, the production crew was filming in an outbuilding, not the mansion itself, but with all the downtown traffic, I imagine we were quite the sight. I was in the rehearsal, but they had to cut several of us because of space restrictions. The cameras and all the other equipment take up a great deal of space in a small building.
Later, when they shot the two sequels, that was another two or three days work and it was much more complicated. They had a set of a three-story Kirtland, Ohio, building recreated where ‘Palmyra’ used to be and the ‘canal’ that ran through Palmyra became an Ohio street. Having seen the original building (Kirtland Temple) that was being copied, I was amazed at how the set people could put together a replica that looked so real on the inside. At the same time and up the hill, they were shooting the third movie, which was set in Missouri.
It was even hotter this time, being later in the summer, and the extra’s tents were welcome. I think I enjoyed this more as I knew what to expect and had more friends with me this time. It was worth losing a day of teacher’s salary. I was able to not only do one of the scenes in the church building, but also a frantic scene of an 1830’s run on a bank, capped off by mundane sweeping on a porch in the far background as the principle actors did a scene a couple of blocks closer to the cameras.
Extras are kind of like peons in movie filmdom, but we were treated well. We were fed a nice catered lunch, had plenty of water on hand, and were able to hang out in the extra’s tent until we had to make an appearance. It was a great experience.
Some notable productions that have been done in east Tennessee are Christy, filmed in Townsend; October Sky, filmed in Knoxville, Morgan, and Campbell counties; and Bell Witch; the movie, filmed in Sevierville. There are others, but these are the most notable.
The idea that such gorgeous locales are being underutilized by the film industry might be changing. Knoxville had five productions filmed in 2018, and Visit Knoxville Film Office says this year is looking even better. We can only hope!
Susan Kite is the author of five science fiction, fantasy, and historical novels. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Visit her web site at: http://www.bookscape.net/author/main.htm
The City of Plainview hosted a ribbon cutting to mark the Grand Opening of the Dollar General Store at 1900 Tazewell Pike. Mayor Gary Chandler welcomed the crowd and thanked all who made this day possible. Mayor Chandler stated that Plainview is a growing community of caring individuals and that the city will continue to strive to “meet the needs of our citizens”.
Summer is in full swing at the Union County Farmers Market. The market is located in Wilson Park and open on Saturdays from 10am – 1pm. Our new Saturday hours allow our farmers to harvest early on Saturday morning bringing you the freshest possible produce. We hope the later hours will also encourage you to take advantage of the food trucks that are joining us! Enjoy a snack, breakfast or lunch.
A few days ago I had just risen from my chair to go to the great room for a cup of coffee. I really stood up and took notice, stopping dead in my tracks. There came a sudden crack of lightning with a deafening roar of thunder. All at the same time. That was not only close, it had to be right on top of us. My immediate worry was if there was any damage.
Being old has its disadvantages, but something I’m glad it allowed me to witness (at age 15) was the first moon landing and walk that occurred 50 years ago this month. It was one of those moments you remember exactly. In my case it was at my boyhood home in Middlesboro, Kentucky at 10:30 on a Sunday night. Me and my dad (mom was out of town) sat there watching a small black and white television totally mesmerized as these two guys walking around on another world. I remember lots of goosebumps and feeling so happy (I was a bona fide science geek by then).
I have always liked red table grapes, but have previously looked in vain for a way to cook them. A few years ago our church group took a trip up to Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. While there, we had lunch at their tearoom. Grape Salad was on the menu. It was delicious and new to all of us. We asked for the recipe. The one they gave us didn't turn out at all like the tasty salad we had there. Don't you hate that? When someone gives you a recipe and its not quite like their dish.
Enthusiasts from around the world traveled to spectate the picturesque landscapes of unique blooms at the Twentieth Annual Oakes Daylily Bloom Festival on Friday and Saturday June 28 and 29. The weather was usual for East Tennessee’s late June days, very hot and muggy, but the temperatures did not slow down the masses of guests attending.
On June 29, Main Street exploded with color. Union County Platinum Athletics hosted a Paint Party to youths and families of the community. The children, as well as the children at heart, excessively enjoyed a paint slip-n-slide, shaving cream twister, canvas painting with squirt bottles, water balloon fight, and an over the top paint war. The paint war is exactly that, a war, everyone throws powder paint at everyone who came for a fun mess of a time, creating a beautiful, colorful rainbow mess.
At the Union County Historical Society Meeting on Sunday, July 21, at 2:30 at the UC Museum, Bill Landry of Heartland Series fame will share stories from his new book, WHEN the WEST was TENNESSEE. Lisa Oakley will relate information on the East Tennessee History Center's new exhibit, “Mountain Dew”.
A class for Tennessee's divorcing parents. Held in Union County on the last Monday each month. Preregistration required at 865-992-8038 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Moore about the program at https://extension.tennessee.edu/Union/Pages/FCS-Co-Parenting.aspx
Enjoy a day of family-friendly fun! Children can compete in fun contests like "corniest joke," "fastest corn eater," and "fastest corn shucking." There will be door prizes and live music. Local vendors may sell corn products at no cost to them. In addition to corn-related shopping, local produce and craft vendors will be at the farmers market. There will be games, history exhibits, and fun demonstrations for everyone. We'll see you there!
This will be a simple self serve buffet. It will include Buttered Grits (cheese optional), Fresh- Baked Banana Muffins, Toast with homemade Strawberry and Fig Preserves, Fresh Fruit Salad, and Quiche Florentine. We will serve Orange Juice, Milk, Tea, and Coffee to drink.
Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Jr.-age 46 of Knoxville passed away Thursday, July 11, 2019 at his home following a brief battle with cancer. He was a member of Fairview Baptist Church, Luttrell. Preceded in death by father, Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Sr.; mother, Joyce Bailey Cline; grandparents, Frank and Mary Bailey; granddaughter, Riley Hubbs.
Reverend Luther Vineyard Cox – age 93 of Maynardville, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 peacefully at home with his family by his side. He was a lifelong member and former pastor of Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Luther was retired from Dempster Brothers and was a United States Army Veteran serving in World II.
Lowell Edward George, Sr., age 81 of Knoxville went home to be with the Lord on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 11:05 am with his family surrounding him. He was a longtime member of Central Baptist Church, Fountain City and lifelong resident of Knoxville. He was greatly loved by his family and all who knew him and was a father figure to many. Lowell is preceded in death by mother and father Eva and Tom Newberry.
Samuel “Sam” E. Hampton, age 70, formerly of Beckley, WV, passed away peacefully at home in Knoxville, TN on Thursday, July 4, 2019. He loved football and was an avid fan of the Cleveland Browns. He was also a lover of animals.
Survived by his wife of 46 years, Sharron Hampton and daughter Jennifer and her husband John Morris.
A service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, 2019 at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel with Minister Brad Hood officiating.
Clarence Henegar, age 85, lifelong resident of Knoxville, went to be with the Lord on July 3, 2019. He was a member of Salem Baptist Church for 50 years, and served as a deacon for 40 years. He was a graduate of Central High School, and went on to graduate from Cooper Institute. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 32 years of service. In his younger years he enjoyed bowling, and was an avid golfer. He was very well known in the dancing community. As a young man he enjoyed square dancing, and in later years, ballroom and country dancing.
Donald L. Fowler, age 80, of Knoxville passed away Tuesday, July 2, 2019. He enjoyed spending time with his family and eating out. He is preceded in death by wife of 26 years Carol Fowler, parents; Hugh & Hester Fowler, brothers; Albert, Billy, Glenn and James, and by dog Peanut. He is survived by son Keith Fowler, brother Wilbur Fowler of Springfield, Tennessee and many nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends from 2:00pm-4:00pm on Saturday, July 6, 2019 at Grove Heights Baptist Church (818 Frank Street Knoxville, TN). A service will follow at 4:00pm with Rev.
Lois Ann Lee – age 67 of Maynardville, went to be with the Lord on July 2, 2019.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Wayne Lee; parents, Clarence and Dorothy Effler; sister, Linda Sexton; brothers, Bobby and Charlie Effler. Lois is survived by her daughter, Sheila (Kenneth) Lawler; son, Bobby (Tammy) Tharp; several grandchildren and great grandchildren; sisters, Emma (Bill) Collins, Karen (Randy) Chamberlain and Gerri (Mark) Ford; brother, Sandy (Peggy) Effler; and a host of loving nieces and nephews and other family members.
Mickie D. Faulkner-age 43 of Corryton passed away Tuesday morning, July 2, 2019 at her home with her family by her side. She was a member of True Life Ministries Church. She was a loving and selfless person who loved to make others smile and be happy. She was preceded in death by father, George Lee Poindexter; mother, Anna B. Collins; sister, Lisa Poindexter.
Gene Autrey Ford – age 75 of Luttrell, passed away Thursday, June 27, 2019. He was a member of Piney Grove Baptist Church, Karns. Gene was a military veteran and a retired electrician, IBEW Local 760.