Hollywood? In Southern IL?
Tired of the same ol’, same ol’? Well, go ‘on location’ to see some of Southernmost Illinois’ ties with the big screen that might be just the trip to add a bit of pickup to your days. Instead of watching TV, you could be seeing where Tommy Lee Jones filmed the movie U.S. Marshals and glimpse the plane he flew in from an underwater view.
If you are a Super-hero fan like me, a visit to Metropolis is a must! Metropolis is the home of Superman, the Super Museum and the Americana Hollywood museum, as well as a 15 ft statue of the Super Hero, and a life size statue of his love, Lois Lane. The Superman hook came about because of Jim Hambrick’s fascination with Superman lore. Hambrick, a California native, brought his hobby to Superman’s hometown and opened a Super Museum. This fun stop boasts over 20,000 items, covering the earliest to the latest Superman memorabilia. The Americana Hollywood Museum is dedicated to Hollywood of yesterday and today.
Remember the scene from U.S. Marshalls where the 727 crashes into the Ohio River? That was right across from the Bay City General Store & Lodging. The movie was filmed in 1997 and owner Donna Norton shared a bit of information about the film that put their little burg on the map. “The casting included countless local persons who posed as restaurant employees of Roy Willy’s World’s Best Bar-B-Que, local and state law enforcement and first responders,” she said. Although visitors often think otherwise, there is no barbecue to be had, but there is RC Cola, Moon Pies and a great variety of antiques and collectibles and a general store restored to all of its 1915 glory.
If you are wondering what happened to that 727 used in U.S. Marshalls, it is at Mermet Springs, a scuba diving and training site.
Interested in western history? Scenes from How the West Was Won were shot at Cave-In-Rock State Park, which is located, like the Bay City General Store, right along the Ohio River. It took eight days to film Davy Crockett and the keelboat race.
Cave-In-Rock State Park was created in 1929, but its history dates back several centuries. The 55-foot-wide cave, situated on the banks of the river, served as shelter for Native Americans as well as French explorers. Then later in the 18th century and the early 19th century, the cave was used by outlaws and river pirates. Later, it was used for revivals, town meetings, shelter and even as the backdrop for a western movie. We filmed our own adventure here using our video camera, and, you can too!
These are just a few of the fun ways you can get a Hollywood fix without flying halfway across the United States! Keep in mind Southernmost IL. weather is much milder than that of Northern IL, but, it can still freeze and ice up in Jan. & Feb., so check out the weather conditions. If the road is clear, hit the road!
Enjoy Southern IL!