Monday, December 17, 2018


Clint Eastwood still going strong at 87 years young!

Clint Eastwood & Michael Pena Movie The Mule

Within in feet, and I mean feet, of where I once live in Atlanta and Augusta, major television shows and Hollywood movies are being made. In Atlanta it is "The Walking Dead" filmed in places I used to play and visit when I was pre-elementary school!

And now in Augusta, one of my favorite movie stars, Clint Eastwood has filmed and starred in a movie filmed within a block of where I grew up from age 6 to 22.

And yes, I am a fan of Clint Eastwood since he starred as Rowdie Yates in "Rawhide" in the early 1960's, guest starred on "Mr. Ed" during he same period, and went on to become my favorite policeman of all, "Dirty Harry" and then onto "Grand Torino!" He's now 88 and in what appears to be a great new movie filmed in part in Augusta called "The Mule".

Georgia is now the new Hollywood and is second only to Hollywood in producing movies and other media shows. Savannah is second to Atlanta in movie making scenes.

In fact another one of my favorite movie stars, Don Amici, a Hollywood Matine idol of the 1930's and 40's with a resurgent popularity in his older years in the 1980's, filmed a movie in Savannah in the late 1980's when I was at the Cathedral. He came to Mass each Saturday night at the Cathedral when he was in town.  The blue haired ladies of the Cathedral would swoon over him from a distance during Mass but never harassed him.

They were particularly impressed when my good friend Don approached me after Mass to say a personal goodbye to me as that was his last Saturday with us. What a gentleman he was and a great practicing Catholic movie star and truly a practicing Catholic!

But here is an editorial in this morning's Augusta Chronicle:

Will Augusta see more stars?

New Eastwood movie helps put our city on the cinematic map

When a new Clint Eastwood movie comes out, naturally you’re buying the ticket to see Clint Eastwood. Maybe not this time. Or not entirely.

“The Mule,” the 63rd movie Eastwood has appeared in, premiered in Augusta on Friday. But the real star we’re interested in - the star you glimpse here and there throughout the film - isn’t mentioned until the end credits.

It’s Augusta. And as the old song goes, this could be the start of something big.

“The Mule” spent weeks in Augusta filming at several locations. In the movie you’ll see glimpses of the Augusta Museum of History, St. Paul’s Church and Bethlehem Advent Christian Church. First Community Bank downtown plays a bit part as the Illinois Mutual Credit Union. And if you see daylilies in the movie, you’ll probably see Shaw’s Sunshine Gardens on Lumpkin Road.

Georgia is no stranger to Hollywood. Filmmakers have been coming to the state for decades. You’ve seen the city of Savannah a lot in films, such as “Forrest Gump,” “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “Glory.” if you’re a TV fan you might have seen the town of Covington, near Atlanta, which was a longtime location for the TV drama “In the Heat of the Night” and, for its first six episodes, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Just down the road, even Statesboro was a location for a couple of forgettable movies - “1969” in 1988, and “Now and Then” in 1995.

But when Georgia started dangling tax credits as an incentive for filmmakers to use the state for movie locations and production, its doors flew wide open. Goodbye Hollywood, hello Y’all-ywood.
For the most recent fiscal year, Georgia played host to 455 film and TV productions and saw $2.7 billion in direct spending here.

Now it’s Augusta’s turn to take advantage of this largesse, and why not? Once word-of-mouth starts spreading about the number of unique filming locations around here - and how you can film more cheaply in Augusta than Atlanta - expect to see a lot more film crews prowling the streets.

Jennifer Bowen is vice president of destination development with the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the liaison with the CVB’s Film Augusta. She said about five movies have filmed in Augusta, including “The Encounter,” “Saving Zoe” and “Detroit Crossing.”

But “The Mule” had the greatest economic impact - about $1.1 million in Augusta and $9 million in the state.
“It’s a huge economic impact boost for Augusta because they brought in everybody and they stayed in local hotels so they’re paying the lodging fee and the lodging tax and their transportation cost coming in,” Bowen said.
Other lucrative opportunities can emerge. For example, film tourism might not be too far behind. Fans of a movie tend to go out hunting for that film’s locations. Just ask Savannah.

There are no signs of film activity slowing down in Georgia. Two of the most popular shows on TV right now - “The Walking Dead” and the differently creepy “Stranger Things” - mostly film in and around Atlanta.

But Augusta’s CVB is positioning itself well to accommodate filmmakers who are looking for things Atlanta can’t offer Here’s hoping we see more of Augusta on the big screen, bringing in big economic windfalls.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Clint Eastwood fell to the lowest levels of Hollywood Hades when he took the exceptional book (216 weeks on the NYTimes bestseller list) "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and gave us, as director, one of the worst movies of all time.

Carol H. said...

As Hollywood spends more time in Georgia, it spends more money trying to influence our elections. Sixty percent of Stacy Abrams' campaign funds came from out of state. Hollywood threatened to pull out of Georgia when she lost.

I don't celebrate their presence here.

TJM said...

Carol H,

Hollywood supports intrinsic evil, so I don't support Hollywood. Unfortunately, there are some "catholic" priests and bishops who also support intrinsic evil so I include them in the do not support category.

Anonymous said...

Campaign donations, from whatever state, are Constitutionally protected speech. I wonder why some people are opposed to folks exercising their legitimate rights...

Mark Thomas said...

On December 24, 1959 A.D., Don Ameche was a celebrity panelist on To Tell The Truth.

The panelists tried to guess which of the three contestants was the real Father William A. Leising. In 1959 A.D., Father Leising had written an exciting best-seller entitled Artic Wings about his interesting life.

Father was 94 when he had fallen asleep in the Lord in 2007 A.D. His fascinating obituary...


At the 20:32 mark, Don Ameche questioned the contestants. Mr. Ameche's questions revealed his impressive knowledge of Catholicism. How many celebrities today could rival Don Amache's intelligent questions in regard to the Faith?

What is surprising is that despite his expert questioning of the three contestants, Don Ameche had failed to identify the real Father Leising.

This is one of my favorite To Tell The Truth episodes as imposter #2 was the great Tom Landry. Mr. Landry was the then-defensive coach of the New York Football Giants.

The following season, Tom Landry moved to Dallas to coach the Cowboys (for 29 years).

What a great episode of To Tell the Truth!


Mark Thomas