Lepanto returns to business as usual

Friday, November 29, 2002

Extras working in the filming of "A Painted House" grew accustomed to hearing director Alfonso Arau shout "Action," "Rolling," "Background," and "Cut," but this week they settled into the knowledge that their days in the movie businesses is a "Wrap."

The city of Lepanto is getting back to business as usual this week, as McGee Street Productions returned to California, and all that is left are the fond memories and traces of movie memorabilia retained by local merchants on store fronts and walls.

Movie extras were called background actors during the filming of "A Painted House," the made-for-television movie by Hallmark Hall of Fame. Many of the extras worked on the set from Nov. 7-8 through Nov. 11-13.

Extras knew going into the project that there was going to be little monetary gain for their time and energy, but all agreed it was worth the effort for the fun and experience. Checks were in the mail last week from Entertainment Partners of Burbank, Calif., and each worker earned a whopping $6 an hour, less taxes and withholding.

Buffalo Island residents working as extras in the movie included, Melton and Faye Emery, of Caraway, Monte, Morgan, and Jake Emery, of Lake City, Regina Lunsford, of Lake City, Nan Snider, of Monette, John Williams, of Black Oak, and his nephew, Blake Wynne, Katey, Kyley and Buster Campbell, of Lake City, Ashley Austin and Tyler Warhurst, of Caraway.

Last Friday "A Painted House" movie items were sold by Lepanto Auction Company, and it was standing room only on Lepanto's Main Street. Customers stayed until all the memorabilia was completely gone.

"Painted in Lepanto" tee shirts, sold at Judy Blocker's Dairy Freeze on the north entrance to the city, are temporarily out of stock, with a new order to arrive soon. The tee Shirts depict a young man, with paint brush and paint bucket, painting the weathered boards of "A Painted House." The picture is framed by an outline of Arkansas. At the bottom of the shirt is the inscription, "Arkansas 2002."

Lepanto Mayor Dale Dunlap has been contacted by many citizens to find a place where the city can set up a visitor's center to display photos and memorabilia. With hundreds of personal photos floating around the town and outlaying area, a pictorial book is also being considered. The movie will not be released until the spring of 2003, but the city residents are thinking ahead, anticipating Lepanto becoming a tourist center for "A Painted House" movie enthusiasts.

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