Friday, March 21, 2008

Bank Bandits at Columbus Get Half-Million

Samantha Bulgerin is a huge crime buff and found this little tidbit from the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune article from Sept 21 1926.

Click to enlarge

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I took this photo last Monday of Emily an Extra and did some playing around.

Thanks Emily
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I wonder if Universal knows how lucky they were with the Columbus shoot. Four months of hard winter with not only record snowfall but a snow event every three days.

Then Universal comes to town, melting starts and for two weeks we have basically clear weather. They finish the Columbus shoot and the VERY NEXT DAY "Snow...heavy at times...with thunderstorms possible. Snow accumulation of 8 to 13 inches."

I do what I can! I could only hold up the weather dome for so long.

For anyone near The Set. Did they get the cobblestone up in time? I'm certain the city can not plow and the faux cobblestone was pretty heavy already WITHOUT a foot of snow on it.
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I'm mention in Vanity Fair. In Bryan Burroughs blog titled "Another Side of Celebrity Worship" he compared ME to Diane Sawyer and Anderson Cooper . . . well sort of!

He writes ". . . . . little Diane Sawyers and Anderson Coopers as they snap and blog away. There’s a fellow named Rod Melotte in Columbus, Wisconsin, where they’re filming most of this week, who, I swear, has forsaken his day job to post around the clock."

OK - let me make one thing clear. I took vacation days! My boss has already fired me for the weather (a golfing tee time issue - I go though this every Tuesday) so now I'm working on Plan "B".

In Mr. Burroughs puts the internet hubbub into three groups "film fans, who argue and interrogate one another on the IMDB movie site; Wisconsinites, for whom Public Enemies has been front page news for weeks; and, especially, the legion of Johnny Depp fans"

I believe my little group of 6000 friends is a mixing of all three groups - sort of a blogging whopatooli. What started off as a Wisconsinites PE blog got the IMDB groups attention when somebody mention they wished ALL movies had this kind of excitement. Then the first Johnny Depp photos arrived and all hell broke loose.

If he thinks he was surprised look at it from my point of view. I had been writing a blog for three years, every day (almost) and had nice little orderly following. Nothing special, just my twisted view of the world.

All of a sudden I'm writing articles for The Isthmus (here and here) getting emails from Japanese Movie magazines asking for help, getting called for interviews from two TV stations and worrying about pleasing 6000 daily readers hitting the blog 10,000 times a day! Then there is that little photo book project in my mind and I also want to help the Columbus Historic Landmark and Preservation Committee get a book together.

And while doing all that I have to consider helping my very new friend Fatima Nasiru from Abidjan, Ivory Coast who has Ten million,five hundred thousand United State Dollars. USD ($10,500,000.00) left in fixed suspense account in one of the prime bank here in Abidjan.(Her wealthy cocoa merchant father was poisoned by a business associate) .

NO PRESSURE!!

So yesterday I received an email with Media Event as the headline. Not sure what it was but I figured I should take this offer up. After all the Lt Governor will be there.

I arrive and follow three TV News teams into the Colonial Carriage Shop. I stand there and they look at me like I'm some sort of vagrant. I stand my ground.

The Lt Governor is getting miked up and I'm the only still camera in the place. I'm sort of shoved to the right and out of the way of The Big Boys! Lt. Governor Lawton makes a wonderful speech and answers questions and all goes well. I snap some photos but there is a problem. Right behind the Lt Gov is a horse head.

99.99% of the citizens of Wisconsin would think nothing of this. However I'm afraid that 0.01% will think this is some sort of covert political statement. I'm conflicted. The TV guys have the best spot in the house. I'm stuck with a horses head!

Nancy Osterhaus, the Mayor of Columbus is present and gives the key to the City to Mrs. Lawton. I wonder what it can open and is there more then one key? What of the Fire Department needs it!

I snap some photos of the handing of the key ceremony and Nancy points at me and says "I want a copy of that".

It is at this point when the entire world realizes I'm there and everybody looks at me for the first time. GULP! I feel like smiling and waiving but resist.

A few more photos and all relax. Kate who has no last name (the name Kate comes from Greek origin and means "pure" . . . in case you were wondering) looks at me and says "and who are you from" (or something on that order).

The jig is up. I'm screwed. Lets see, there are now five TV crews and one blogger in the house. Which one does not fit.

BUT WAIT. I have 6000 unique readers every day. I promote Columbus, I promote the movie and instead of having to watch a news piece because . . it's ON TV, people come to the blog ON PURPOSE!

I proudly say "I'm from the Public Enemies Columbus Blog" (feeling like a total geek) and wait for a reaction. I see recognition in her eyes like she has heard of it but perhaps not read it. OK, so far so good.

It's then when Robert Chappell notices me and introduces himself. He is the Communications Director for the Office of Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton (or as some shorten it, The CDOLGBL). It seems he also knows about the blog and he continues to smile so I'm still in the good graces of State Government.

I meet Todd Frey finally who has helped out with common information at times and then David Fulton is pointed out. He is the Publicist for Public Enemies and I do not get the huggy vibes from him as I did the other's. However he is cordial and I have his email address so I can ask questions about The Book we have been talking about.

Adam Boor is there and I believe his title is something like Location Coordinator. Nice guy and he has talked to CP(my step daughter). In fact CP's house is(was) powering Base Camp.

Then Lt Governor Lawton looks and smiles and shakes my hand and I say I'm with the Public Enemies Columbus blog and a special big grin hits her face and I have a feeling she knows about it too!.

I didn't see any special big grin from Mrs Lawton when a guy said "I'm with Channel Three" - yea - take that TV dudes (just kidding, I love you guys, feel free to call me anything for an interview).

And that is my story.

The sad thing is that downtown Columbus is missing the boat here. What the places needs is a modern restaurant in a rustic setting. There is The Capri of course but there is nothing that really creates excitement when it comes to food. If Columbus was like SIM City I would create a tax incentive like the State of Wisconsin did or what I believe Lake Mills did.

There needs to be a reason to open a shop in the downtown area. Now there is an opportunity, the brick buildings are begging for new stores. We have people coming to the town, now we need something for them to do!

Easier said then done I know. How about a graduating scale of taxes. The first year you pay 1%. This gives you a chance to get your feet on the ground. Second year 2% (or whatever). Until the third year you are paying normal tax.

Just thinking out loud! I certainly would not want to have to figure that out. LOL
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ONTO Movie things.

As you know Universal left Columbus. Johnny Depp is presumed to have flown to California. The production team will be in Crown Point Indiana next week. I would love to see photos of anything EXCEPT Johnny Depp (unless it's a REAL good one).

As for this blog - I presume I will be losing a lot of you but I do intend on trying to keep up with the movie as much as I can. I HOPE people will continue to stay active.

I also have The Book to work on and I actually now have A PLAN. I really want this to happen. This weekend I hope to create a web page with details on how you can help.

OK OK - I can see you are all getting bored - this will wake you up!

Johnny and Stephen Dorff


So keep snapping photos - I really need more non-Johnny Depp actors.


Thanks!
Rod Melotte