year MGM came to town
will celebrate its Hollywood fame
with a Sept. 3 festival to mark the
40th anniversary of the film
(June 1999) Maybe the problem was evident
right from the start: Madison er, Parkman just wasnt
Franks kinda town.
Thats Frank, as in Frank Sinatra.
And Deano, as in Dean Martin.
Maybe all they needed to salvage a really good movie was a cameo appearance
by Sammy, as in Davis Jr. Or Jerry, as in Lewis.
Heck, even Rat-Packers Peter Lawford or Joey Bishop couldnt hurt
Despite garnering five Academy Award nominations (no winners), the 1959
drama Some Came Running definitely needed something.
A better ending, according to many Madison residents who either watched
or participated in the filming of the movie at more than a half-dozen
locations in Madison, neighboring Hanover and across the river in Milton,
Too bad neither Frank nor Deano are still around to give
Madison a second chance.
But co-star Shirley MacLaine is, and Madison Main Street Program volunteers
are hoping to lure her back to Madison for a Sept. 3 bash designed to
recreate the excitement of fall 1958 when MGM came to town.
The event will benefit the Main Street program and provide locals a
chance to relive those times when Hollywood movie stars walked the streets
of downtown Madison.
This was a very exciting time for Madison, and we think this event
will be a way to pay tribute to that part of the citys history,
said Kim Franklin, director of the Madison Main Street Program. Plus,
it will be a lot of fun.
Despite its star-studded cast, Some Came Running never quite
made Hollywood history or generated rave reviews.
But at the time of the filming, no one much cared about the movies
success at the box office. Everyone just wanted to see the stars. And
maybe get the chance to be an extra in a scene or two.
by: Vincente Minnelli
Written by: James Jones (novel) and John Patrick
Runtime: 137 minutes
Filmed: Fall 1958
Original Release Date: January 1959
Fred Koehler, then a 19-year-old, was among the star-struck
who lined up each evening down along Walnut Street awaiting instructions
as a movie extra.
After working at his fathers tire store all day, he would hustle
over and take his position with about 150 others for the carnival scene,
shot on Jefferson Street of the fictional Parkman, Ind. Koehler can
even identify himself for one moment in the scene because he broke one
of the jobs cardinal rules.
They gave me a toy gun, and I was supposed to play a kid at a
shooting gallery, said Koehler, 58. They always told us
not to look at the actors when they passed by, but when Martha Hyer
went by, I had to look. She was so beautiful.
Movie stars werent the only ones getting attention. Hanover native
Carolyn Lopez caught the eye of MGM officials, who selected her to work
as MacLaine's stand-in because of her tall height, strawberry blonde
hair and MacLaine-like eyes.
I was so excited; I couldnt believe they chose me,
said Lopez, 65.
Her job was to stand or walk through a scene for the camera crew to
adjust its lights for MacLaine. The actress would later appear to film
Lopez said she never got to meet MacLaine, but she recalls filming late
one night and Martin remarking rather glibly, I think Ill
just go home and have some fried scotch for breakfast.
by Don Ward
Lopez displays a souvenir edition of The Madison Courier which
she has kept since her experience as a movie stand-in for actress
I thought, Whoa, Ive had scotch before
but not fried.
Another time, Lopez worked nearly all night while filming scenes on
Second Street. When she returned home the next morning, her husband
quizzed her about where she had been all night, thinking perhaps she
had wound up at some party with a bunch of Hollywood types.
Lopez also got a kick out of the teenagers and children who would approach
her for autographs.
I would tell them, Im just a stand-in from Madison.
But they said, We want your autograph anyway.
Lopez also worked as an extra and can identify herself in a couple of
scenes walking away, though nobody else would recognize me.
Though her brush with fame was short-lived, Lopez hasnt forgotten
it and still cherishes her souvenir newspaper clippings and movie poster.
Last year, she was interviewed for a video documentary made in Indianapolis
as part of an Indiana Film History project.
In the end, she says she was disappointed with the movie but not the
I wasnt all that impressed with Frank Sinatra, but I thought
Dean Martin was pretty good looking. Especially dressed in his brown,
silk suit and hat.
Another movie extra, John Wurtz, was only 15 when he applied for the
job. Since he didnt have a social security card, he was among
dozens of youngsters who were sent down to the Brown Gym, where they
lined up to receive their cards in order to work.
of the Rogers Corner Collection
and co-star Martha Hyer were like night and day, both in character
and as visitors to Madison. Hyer stole locals hearts.
He played a kid eating hamburgers at a carnival stand
and recalls having to shoot the scene several times.
The guy kept cooking hamburgers and we kids kept eating all of
them. Then around 3 a.m., they would provide the extras with a buffet
meal. So it wasnt a bad job, especially for a kid.
Dottie Reindollar wasnt an extra, but she worked at her fathers
drug store, Inglis, where cast members occasionally dropped in to pick
up prescription drugs. Today, she has some of those prescriptions framed
and hanging on her kitchen wall.
I remember Madison was all agog, Reindollar said. We
heard that Frank was never really pleased to be here, and he didnt
put on a very good face while he was here.
But the rest of the MGM people were absolutely wonderful.
Louis and Mary DeCar recall walking up to town each evening to watch
the filming. "It didnt change our lives, but it changed our
schedule, he said.
of the Rogers Corner Collection
Vincente Minnelli (standing at right), also known as Mr.
Judy Garland, whom he married in 1945, and as Lizas
father, observes the action from his perch atop a tower during
filming in Madison.
The filming of that carnival scene was absolutely
DeCar recalled several trailers set up at various street corners where
the actors would stay until they were called to shoot their scenes.
Of course, when they finally came out, they were mobbed by people,
Steve Chittick arrived in Madison years after the filming of the movie
and, as a collector and antique dealer, ran across several items and
photographs related to the movie.
Perhaps the most interesting item was the Parkman sign that
came off the bus that carried Sinatra into town in the opening scene.
I found it at a yard sale, Chittick said. And the
photos came from a little old lady in Kentucky. Shes dead now.
I dont even remember her name.
Chittick has since sold the items to Rogers Corner, where they are now
For todays movie-goers, Some Came Running doesnt
strike much of a chord, especially with todays big-budget flicks
featuring special effects that would make this pictures climactic
fight scenes seem more like an argument between Charley Brown and Lucy.
B ut for its time, the movie was recognized as a success, evidenced
by its five Academy Award nominations.
The story, adapted from a novel by James Jones (author of From
Here to Eternity and another movie starring Sinatra), is about
a prodigal sons return to his provincial Indiana hometown. There,
he finds, and is repulsed by, hypocrisy, sexual repression and snobbery.
Madison Main Street Program plans the following events on Sept.
Dinner, music, memorabilia auction.
Dedication of a Hollywood star embedded into
a downtown sidewalk.
Special showing of the movie at the Ohio Theater, 105
E. Main St.
Reception at the theater after the movie and photo of
Other events may include tours of film locations and
a possible appearance by actress Shirley MacLaine.
A film crew from Turner Classic Movies plans to film
the event as part of a documentary on the movie.
Event volunteer planners are seeking people who worked
as extras in the film or have memorabilia to auction or display.
Call Kim Franklin at (812) 265-3270 or Dottie Reindollar at
That is, until he meets and falls in love with the beautiful
Gwen French (Hyer), a writing teacher at the local high school.
Dave Hirshs romantic appeals to French are rebuffed, in part because
of the obvious disparity in social class, but also because of the waif-like
tramp Ginny Moorhead (MacLaine), who has followed Hirsh all the way
The recurrent theme of artist (Hirsh is a writer) divided against himself
keeps the tension flowing until the climactic carnival scene, in which
MacLaines character not Sinatras, as was originally
scripted is shot and killed by Moorheads crazed lover.
Though seemingly outdated by todays film standards, locals should
enjoy watching the movie because of familiar landmarks that pop up from
time to time, such as the Ohio River bridge, Main Street Madison, Hanover
College, the I.K.E.C. power plant and Moffett Cemetery.
Koehler is among those who recently bought a videocassette of the movie.
I enjoyed it, he said. I think its a good movie.
Especially that one particular moment in the carnival scene.
Back to June 1999 Articles.