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Waynesboro grad brings cinema talents home

September 11, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Greg Kohler, a 1979 Waynesboro Area Senior High School graduate who now works as a network television producer, returns home Monday to show "Waynesboro, 200 Years of History," a 90-minute video documentary produced in his studio in Charlotte, N.C.

Kohler, 36, said the documentary chronicles the town's history from the time of John Wallace, its first settler, through the present. The story is told through a general narrative and interviews with more than 20 local historians and residents who offered their own recollections.

Since 1991 Kohler has been senior producer for special projects for NBC News in Charlotte. He is in charge of special projects for NBC's affiliates, he said.

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The video on Waynesboro will be shown on a large screen at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the local high school. Kohler will help set up and run the equipment.

Citizens National Bank of Southern Pennsylvania in Waynesboro donated $10,000 to finance the documentary.

Kohler hired Page McCarty, a professional television cameraman, to shoot the video.

"He's the best. He and I have traveled all over the world together," Kohler said.

He hired Bruce Hall, a former CBS correspondent who is now an NBC producer, to narrate the documentary.

Kohler's father, Allie Kohler, a retired Waynesboro school teacher and coordinator of the two-month-long bicentennial celebration, recruited his son to produce the documentary.

Greg Kohler began the project in February. He worked with a 12-member committee headed by Dr. Robert R. Zimmerman, a local dentist. The members did much of the basic research and sent it to Kohler in Charlotte. Meanwhile, he read three books on local history.

"I put together the framework, wrote the script and sent it up to the committee for fact-checking. Something as big as this had to be right on the money," he said.

Kohler and McCarty came to Waynesboro in May and spent three-and-a-half days interviewing and shooting the documentary.

"We worked 12 to 14 hours a day. We got as much as we could," he said.

Two men interviewed who contributed significantly to the documentary died before it was finished.

Joe W. Ausherman, a former Franklin County commissioner and chairman of Citizens National Bank, spoke of the town's economy in the years following World War II. Ausherman died in June.

Carl V. Besore, 85, a local historian and co-author of a series on Waynesboro history with Robert Ringer, another local historian, spoke of his grandparents, who opened one of the first dry goods stores in Waynesboro. He also recounted their recollections of the town's involvement in the Civil War. Besore died in August.

Allie Kohler said 500 copies of the video will go on sale after Monday for $15 each.

Information on the documentary can be obtained by calling the bicentennial office at 1-717-762-0200.

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