Saturday, July 07, 2007

Celluloid night

Singing Beach is so named, apparently, because when you walk barefoot on its white sand, it makes a squeak that is generously called “singing.”

When Karen and I moved to Massachusetts, we ended up in Manchester, the town that owns Singing Beach. Manchester was renamed “Manchester-by-the-Sea” in the mid-1990s by the town council in an effort to increase local tourism – but not too much, though…not too much – and ostensibly to separate it from its New England namesakes, Manchester, CT, and Manchester, NH. There are actually ten Manchesters in the United States (in addition to those in New England, they reside in Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, California, Illinois, Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky – I know that’s not in alpha order; it’s how Mapquest listed them. Give me a break, please.). So, you can see, not wanting to be lumped in with Manchester, Kentucky, where no doubt your cousin lives down the street or perhaps shares a conjugal bed with you, the town elected to come out from the others and be renamed. Manchester, CA, actually is on the sea, too, but…you snooze, you lose.

Manchester-by-the-Sea, which I still call Manchester just because I don’t want to sound snooty – I already have an Upper East Side pedigree to try to explain away – was the location for the David Mamet film “State and Main.” We had sightings of Alec Baldwin and Rebecca Pidgeon and Philip Seymour Hoffman (one of my favorite actors) in Crosby’s market. Then, there was the cattle call for extras, and some 800 townspeople showed up. I think Manchester-by-the-Sea’s population was only like 600.

On the big night of the filming of the “car crash” – where the buzz was that a car was going to come careening down Union Street and fly through the air and burst into flames – the folks started lining the streets in front of the police station and the Congregational church at about seven for a 10 o’clock shooting. I had friends Ryan and Aaron over from my seminary Greek class for a spaghetti dinner, and then we traipsed down the hill, about a half mile, to stand along with others and watch the spectacle.

I won’t tell you what exactly happened – or didn’t – when they shot the scene. All I’ll say is that they did it in two takes, and Hollywood must have some serious kicka#$ special effects studios.

photo: GroenGras


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I loved that film and think it's great it was shot in your town. Very funny about Manchester, Kentucky and relatives in the conjugal bed.

I have a story to share. Years ago, a former friend was the producer of the Barbara Walters show. One of the funniest stories she ever told was about the Walters interview with Dolly Parton.

In the middle of it, Walters looks at Parton and says, "When did you first have sex?"

Parton looks right back at her and asks, "You mean with someone other than uncles and cousins?"

My friend said it was the first time she'd ever seen Walters speechless.

Of course, Parton was kidding but she's always been far smarter than people give her credit for.

endangered coffee said...

Ahhh, yes, Crosby's market - when there is no other grocery store around and price isn't an object.