This year sees the 60th anniversary of the publication of Grace Metalious’ scandalous-for-the–times novel, “Peyton Place” — which means 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of Hollywood’s coming to the Midcoast to shoot a good chunk of the film adaptation.

“The movie came out just a year or so after the book, which by Hollywood’s standards was very fast,” said “Peyton Place” buff and Emmy Award-winning producer, screenwriter and director Willard Carroll. “The book came out in September and in May of the next year, they were out here shooting the movie …  it was out by the end of the year.”

Carroll and Camden historian Barbara Dyer, his one-time neighbor, recently collaborated on a documentary short about the 1957 filming by 20th Century Fox. Carroll’s “On Location in Peyton Place” will be screened along with the world premiere of the 35mm restoration of the feature film Wednesday night, July 13, at the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville. The program, including a Q&A with Carroll; Schawn Belston, executive vice president of Media & Library Services, Fox Filmed Entertainment; and Michael Pogorzelski, director of the Academy Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, will be reprised Saturday, July 16, at 1:30 p.m. at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., Rockland.

“I think next year there will be a lot of other festivals that will be interested in it … but we pressed for it this year so we can genuinely say the premiere was in Maine,” said Carroll last week, looking through his and Camden Public Library’s “Peyton Place” photographs and other memorabilia, including the script, with Dyer in the library’s Picker Room.

Carroll is perhaps best known locally for sharing his extensive “Wizard of Oz” collection via a 2014 Farnsworth Art Museum exhibition; the show is now on display at Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. But his “Peyton Place” collection is quite impressive, as well. In fact, it’s what brought him to Camden in the first place.

“My first contact here was I was bidding against a guy, when I was still living in L.A., for some ‘Peyton Place’ material … he was the then-owner of the Whitehall Inn, and they were having a festival for the 50th anniversary,” said Carroll.

The exchange led to Carroll’s loaning his collection, which includes a lot of set-reference stills “that feature a lot of the locals, so I scanned them all for him.” A cross-country trip ensued. Carroll said he’d been thinking about leaving Los Angeles, and “after about five minutes, I said, this is it: if we move here, I’ll move tomorrow!”

Dyer has her own “Peyton Place” story about the Whitehall, from a local film fest in 2000.

“We went to the Whitehall with Russ Tamblyn and his wife,” she said, recalling that Tamblyn, the only star to spend much time in Camden, was “a real nice guy.”

“My partner, Tom, is very anniversary-centric,” said Carroll, so when the 60th anniversary of “Peyton Place” loomed, the idea of creating a self-financed Camden-focused documentary was sparked. Carroll began looking into exactly where the Midcoast scenes were shot and discovered that “Barbara had found a good 95 percent of them.”

For the 2000 film festival, Dyer had revised a list of locations compiled by Frank Anzalone — “a man from New York who was crazy about 'Peyton Place'” — taking photos to compare with stills from the film. As Camden historian, she has been called upon over the years to verify the local “Peyton Place” connection … even though, at the time of filming, she admits she was less than enthusiastic about it.

“I really didn’t want it to be filmed here,” she said.

Dyer worked at Wayfarer Marine at the time and said her boss was a reader who was quite taken with Metalious’ bestselling tale of secrets, scandal and small-town hypocrisy.

“He said, 'I just finished this book and it’s wonderful literature! Take it home.’ I took it home and brought it back the next day, saying 'It’s your literature but it’s not mine,'” she said.

Dyer admitted she thought the movie was “going to ruin my town,” but the local filming has served to document Camden in a way that has endeared it to the historian’s heart. It also played a large role in the establishment of Camden Community Hospital, which became the Camden Health Care Center and, eventually, Quarry Hill.

“Fox gave money for the new hospital, and some of the people who came to film here gave their fees too,” Dyer said. “And the Camden premiere was a benefit for the hospital.”

The filming also put a few bucks and a bit of movie stardom in local folks’ pockets; Dyer said one little girl got her Social Security card because she was an extra. When the Strand held a 50th anniversary screening for its donors, Carroll was asked to make a presentation and got to meet some of the extras.

“Jo Dondis asked if I would come and talk to the donors, and about 10 people came who had been extras,” he said.

One local whose name escapes both Dyer and Carroll appears in the film as star Lana Turner — well, as her back, anyway.

“Lana Turner didn’t come here …  a lot of the footage was shot on the Fox backlot,” said Carroll, adding that many interiors were shot at Fox. As he looked deeper into the Midcoast scenes, he realized that a bit of the big “Harrington Mill” picnic scene that included many local faces must have been filmed in California too, because actress Terry Moore appears in it.

“It’s one of the better matches in the movie … but when you look at it, you can kind of tell the light’s a little different,” he said.

Looking closely was required to find some locations this long after the fact. Carroll’s “Peyton Place” collection includes a call sheet that helped him identify 42 Midcoast locations in Camden, Rockport, Hope, Rockland, Thomaston, Lincolnville and Belfast. In a couple of instances, Carroll’s filming last fall documented more than a movie location. The train crossing, which Dyer spent a lot of time tracking down, is in Thomaston, at the bottom of Knox Street.

“Weirdly, when we shot last October, we captured the last run of the Maine Eastern Express [sic],” he said. “We shot it both coming and going.”

And the famous scene where Allison (Diane Varsi) takes Norman (Tamblyn) to see a place “that nobody knows about … It's my secret place” — which turns out to be Mount Battie — that Dyer had decided was a ledge near the top of the mountain was definitively located by Carroll, lower down and on the Camden side.

“I wanted to find that rock — we’ve been here seven years, and I just found it last summer! Basically, I went up one morning and said, I’m not coming down until I find that rock,” he said.

He had a still from the movie to go on, one that reveals the rock to have a very distinctive cleft in it, the kind of thing that 60 years would have no effect on.

“I picked the wrong rock,” Dyer admitted with a laugh.

“We didn’t do this with everything, but with the view, we actually shot it from the exact camera position of that they shot the movie,” he said.

That scene often gets a chuckle during local screenings, but Carroll said the biggest laugh is when Allison catches the Boston-bound bus at the former Camden Rexall, corner of Washington and Elm … and heads north on Route 1. Locations actually to the north of Camden include the Lobster Pound at Lincolnville Beach — “I’m pretty sure the picnic benches in the back of the restaurant are from the filming,” said Carroll — and Belfast, which had four locations including the former Crosby School and two of the churches.

“We shot just before the [First Church] restoration; the steps that are in the movie won’t be there anymore,” Carroll said.

The feature film documents something else not there anymore — the reason Elm Street bears that name. The filming took place shortly before Dutch elm disease ravaged the state.

“And it’s not just on Elm Street, they’re surrounding the library grounds [Allison graduates in the amphitheater], so beautiful,” Carroll said.

Also beautiful was the experience of being in a boat on Rockport’s Mirror Lake; Carroll is quick to point out the filming had official clearance. Rockland locations include the courthouse, Thorndike Hotel and grounds of the original St. Bernard’s; Hope makes an appearance in a scene that epitomizes the Hollywood approach to geography.

“There’s a scene at the beginning where Mike Rossi [Lee Phillips] is driving into town … he drives through Hope; he drives past a building in Rockland; he stops to talk to a farmer in Hope; he looks over to see the shack — the shack’s on the backlot of 20th Century Fox — and then he drives through the Camden archway,” Carroll said.

When he made “On Location in Peyton Place,” it was on faith. Carroll knows someone who works at Twilight Time, which does a lot of classic film digital releases, but there was no guarantee it would end up with “Peyton Place.” The gamble paid off — the restoration will be released next year on Blu-ray and “On Location in Peyton Place” will be one of the extras. Of course, making the documentary was really a labor of love … and maybe a little more.

“I’m slightly obsessive,” Carroll said.

The MIFF gala premiere screening begins at 6 p.m. July 13 at the Waterville Opera House. Tickets are $14, available online at; the Centerpiece Gala event is sponsored by Camden National Bank. On Thursday, July 14, at 7 p.m., Camden Public Library offers a Peyton Place Retrospective display of images and other items from its collection (see link below). General admission tickets for the 1:30 p.m. Saturday screening at the Strand are $10.