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Cushing library revisits 'Peyton Place' with Mac Smith

Oct 02, 2020
Russ Tamblyn and Diane Varsi before the Camden Public Library in "Peyton Place" (1957).

Cushing — Lights, camera, action! In 1957, Camden (and surrounding towns) became the not-so-quaint New England town of Peyton Place, and historian Mac Smith will tell the story of this transformation in a Zoom presentation for the Cushing Public Library on Sunday, Oct. 18, at 2 p.m. Free and open to the public. To register, phone Wendy Roberts at 207-691-0833 or email wrobertsmaine63@gmail.com.

The movie, based on Grace Metalious’s controversial, best-selling novel, had an all-star cast, and its filming dominated the area during its production. It is still fun to identify the locations where Lana Turner, Diane Varsi, Russ Tamblyn and other major actors recreated the juicy plot of the book. Smith has extensively researched how Maine was chosen for the locations, what the locals thought about the project and what it was like when Hollywood met Midcoast Maine, ending in the premiere in Camden in December 1957. His book, "Peyton Place Comes Home to Maine: The Making of the Iconic Film," was published by Down East Books earlier this year.

Smith previously presented a popular program, "Mainers on the Titanic," at the Cushing Public Library. A Navy veteran of the First Gulf War and former reporter at the Bar Harbor Times, he lives in the village of Sandy Point (Stockton Springs), where he is restoring the family homestead. He is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono.

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