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Putch returns to southcentral Pa. to film "Route 30"

Actor/director called Caledonia State Park area home as a child

Actor/director called Caledonia State Park area home as a child

June 24, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

The Gettysburg, Pa., audience for the latest movie by John Putch will really only need to look out the window to see the film's sets in person.

Putch brought friends to southcentral Pennsylvania last fall for 18 days of filming for "Route 30."

Among the cast were Dana Delany and Kevin Rahm of "Desperate Housewives" as well as Ed Gotwalt of more local fame - the namesake of Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum in Orrtanna, Pa.

Putch called the Caledonia State Park area home as a child, a time when his father, the late William Putch, was guiding the Totem Pole Playhouse. Now, when traveling between Hollywood and the home of his mother, actress Jean Stapleton, in New York City, Putch stops to visit old friends and landmarks in the Fayetteville, Pa., area.

"It's always been a magical spot for me," Putch said. "I think every filmmaker wants to go back and shoot something at his home."


The small cast and crew for the admittedly low-budget film appreciated the area's autumn colors and friendly residents, according to Putch.

"We set up shop at some local restaurants and pubs," he said Monday by telephone from California.

"Route 30" weaves three separate stories - one involving an obsessed Civil War guide, another with the healing promised by a "Christian Scientist" and one with a novelist looking for inspiration in a farmhouse. Putch said he believes the comedy "with great heart and sensitivity" will appeal to most everyone, although some content is not appropriate for children.

"Once I decided I was going to shoot the movie back home, the stories came together pretty quickly," Putch said. "I made the movie with the express purpose that it shouldn't be a challenge, that it would be delightful."

Putch, who described himself as producer, writer and creationer, finished sound work Sunday. All that remains to be done is professional color correction before the film has its first premiere July 19 in Stony Brook, N.Y.

Local audiences can see the movie Sept. 27 at the Majestic Theatre in Gettysburg, then participate in a question-and-answer session with Putch and some of the cast immediately afterward. Tickets are on sale at Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum, the Majestic Theatre, Totem Pole Playhouse and the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. Totem Pole and the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor will benefit from the proceeds of the Sept. 27 showing.

"I am anxious to get it out and on the festival circuit," Putch said.

Putch has been scheduled to direct episodes of "Scrubs" next month and "Ugly Betty" in October.

"Between that, I'm trolling for work," he said.

Totem Pole veterans Wil Love and Carl Schurr have parts in the film.

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