Making a Masterpiece

TCM's video on making of
"Some Came Running" to air this month

By Don Ward

MADISON, Ind. – It’s not quite Hollywood, but it’s close.
This month on the Turner Classic Movie cable channel, Madison, Ind., will be featured in the first of a series of six-minute video clips examining the making of selected classic movies.



Madison’s claim to fame was the 1958 making of the movie, “Some Came Running,” starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine. The 1959 release garnered six Academy Award nominations but came up empty on awards night due to some stiff competition.
A film crew from Turner’s Atlanta production studio visited Madison for five days last summer during the “Some Came Running” festival, staged by the Madison Main Street Program. While there, the crew interviewed several Madisonians who appeared as extras in the movie.
Five interviewees made the cut and will be featured in the video presentation, along with narrator Carolyn Clark of Madison, according to TCM’s Sean Cameron. Those interviewed for the film include Peter Woodburn, Tom McKenna, John Wurtz, Harold Lakeman and Dianne (Brientenback) Signore.
Clark led guided walking tours of “Some Came Running” filming locations around Madison during the recent festival.
“When we got to Madison and met Carolyn, we went on her walking tour and decided to use her as our on-air narrator,” explained Cameron, an assistant director and senior writer at TCM.
“She did a great job and the city of Madison should be proud of her,” Cameron said.
Cameron writes and helps direct “Hollywood on Location,” a nightly lead-in to classic movies that is hosted by on-air personality Robert Osborne.
The “Some Came Running” piece will actually begin airing the week prior to the 15th as part of TCM’s promotion of a new three-part show, to be hosted by legendary director Martin Scorsese and air nightly on Feb. 14-16 at 8 p.m. EST.
This series, titled “A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies,” will chronicle the films that had the greatest impact on him. It will include hundreds of clips and extended on-camera commentary by Scorsese, plus a chance to win a copy of the director’s companion book.
“Some Came Running” will air on the second night of the series, Cameron said, and continue running throughout the month.
To make the clip, Cameron’s crew visited six locations in Madison. Clark used some of the research on the movie and director Vincente Minnelli that she had gathered for a walking tour she conducted for visitors during the “Some Came Running” festival.
“The video is set up so that Carolyn takes the viewer on a tour,” Cameron said. “Then we cut to the various people who were interviewed. It’s really about the people of this small town and their stories.”
Woodburn told the story about Sinatra stepping inside his house to visit briefly with his grandmother, Marguarite Potter, who was dying of cancer.
"It's a story I've always wanted to share because Sinatra got such a bad rap when he was here," said Woodburn, who played an extra in the carnival scene.
Cameron said he was especially moved by Signore’s story. Signore flew in from San Diego to take part in the celebration and wound up being interviewed for the TCM piece. She was a child during the making of the movie and had a small role with MacLaine during the climactic carnival scene.
Clark, meanwhile, said she enjoyed her experience as film narrator and felt no pressure or intimidation by the role.
“I talked with a lot of people and did some research at the local library on the film to prepare for my walking tour,” said Clark, who leads guided walking tours of Madison’s historic sites during the summer months.
“When they chose me to do this film, I was flattered,” she said. “They were great people to work with.”
During the festival, Jerry Bayne of Robinson Ill., took part in one of Clark’s walking tours. Bayne is a member of the James Jones Literary Society, which is headquartered in Robinson, Jones’ hometown and served as the basis for much of his fictional characters.
More famous for his work, “From Here to Eternity,” Jones wrote the book on which “Some Came Running” was based.
Bayne said he was interested in bringing the society to Madison for one of its annual symposiums.
Contacted at his home, Bayne, a 1967 graduate of Hanover’s Southwestern High School, is encouraging the society to come to Madison for the 2008 symposium, since it will mark the 50th anniversary of the movie’s filming. So far, it is only in the discussion stage, he said.
Kim Franklin, former director of the Madison Main Street Program, said she was impressed with the video, which she received by mail in mid-January.
“They did a wonderful job, and Carolyn Clark did great as the narrator," she said. "It puts a good face on Madison."

• For more information on the “Some Came Running” video, contact the Main Street Program office at (812) 265-3270. Or visit the TCM website at: www.tcm/turner.com. To learn more about the James Jones Literary Society, visit the group’s website at: http://rking.vinu.edu/j.htm.

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