Archive for the ‘Post Cards on the Road’ Category

“It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed, but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its sesonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers, and not masters.”
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek


Since my last post had a shout-out to Lake Howell High School I thought it fitting to show Lake Howell the lake. The lake actually sits just 100 yards off one of the busiest roads in Central Florida (State Road 436). In fact, if you cross eight lanes of traffic from where this picture was taken you’ll be at the parking lot of a Super Wall Mart.

But as you watch a sunrise though the Spanish moss hanging on the trees, the Wall Mart seems not only 100 miles away, but 100 years away. A remnant of old Florida that was captured so well in the The Yearling, the 1939 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. In 1939 the book was actually the best selling novel in the United States.

The 1946 film version of The Yearling won two Oscars (Cinematography and Art Direction) and a Best Motion Picture Actor Golden Globe for Gregory Peck.

“Every man wants life to be a fine thing, and easy. And it tis fine, son, powerful fine— but t’aint easy.”
Penny Baxter (Gregory Peck) in The Yearling

But the movie I prefer more based on Rawlings’ work is Cross Creek (1983) starring  Mary SteenburgenRip TornPeter Coyote , directed by Martin Ritt, and screenplay by Dalene Young.

“In the late 1920s, it took a lot of guts for a woman to pack up her typewriter and move off to the wilds of Florida like that. This is the story of a woman finding herself.”
Director Martin Ritt on Rawlings 

P.S. The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings home in Florida is now part of the Florida State Parks system and can be toured at various times of the year. Though Rawlings is connected to Florida through he life and writings in the state, she was born in Washington, D.C., received an English degree from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, worked as a reporter in Louisville, Kentucky and was living in New York when she received an inheritance from her mother and decided to move to rural Florida.Later she would move to Crescent Beach, Florida and died in nearby St. Augustine in 1953.

Scott W. Smith

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I started this postcard thing on the blog years ago to give myself a break from writing and researching posts when I was on the road working on various productions. Hard to believe today is the 80th postcard. I’m posting this on the tail end of a long video production day and drive home. One of the perks of a 14+ hour day on the road was the crew was able to eat breakfast at the Over Easy Cafe on Sanibel Island, Florida and dinner at Pinchers Crab Shack in Ft. Myers where I took the above picture overlooking the Caloosahatchee River.

The restaurant is next door to the historic winter estates of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, but that’s not the only history tied to the area.

According to Kimberly Ripley’s blog, “Caloosahatchee means ‘River of the Calusa.’ It searved as the main highway inland to the Calusa Indians…Also known as ‘Shell People’ the later Calusas, from approximately the 1500’s to their demise in the early 1800’s, used seashells as foundations. They built their cities on them.”

P.S. My first postcard (Downtown Kansas City)  was August 11, 201. And for what it’s worth, my 28th postcard (Prime Time) was on a shoot I did with Deion Sanders at his Dallas-area home . The great Pro Football Hall-of-Fame football player was born and raised in Ft. Myers, Florida. To read an interesting article about Sanders’ ties to the area read the Sam Cook article about where “Prime Time” developed his personality. And to come full circle Cook was the sports editor who hired me as a 19-year-old photojournalist when he was the sports editor with the Sanford Herald Evening Herald.  

Scott W. Smith

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In honor of the 2014 FIFI World Cup Brazil championship game yesterday I decided to dig up a photo I took in Brazil back in ’07. I was part of a team that shot footage in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro (where I bought a Pele jersey) and in Manaus. I took the above shot from a seaplane at the Meeting of the Waters where the Amazon and Rio Negro Rivers meet. Pretty cool Indiana Jones-type experience.

Congrats to Germany for beating Argentina, and congrats to Brazil for pulling off what has to be one of the hardest events to pull off in a peacetime setting.

Scott W. Smith

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Yesterday I visited DeLand, Florida not knowing that it was just listed by Parade Magazine as one of 16 cities in their Best’s American Main Street competition. I took the above photo of the restore Athens Theatre just a block off the main drag in DeLand.  The historic theatre first opened on January 6, 1922. (Anyone know what movie played when it first opened?) The theatre’s name came from the town’s founder Henry DeLand who envisioned DeLand as the Athens of Florida.

DeLand is home to Stetson University which was named after the Philadelphia hat maker John B. Stetson who died in DeLand in 1906. The stadium where Stetson University plays its football games is the same stadium featured in the Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy (1999).  Both Ghost Story (1981) with Fred Astaire and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and the HBO program From the Earth to the Moon filmed on the  Stetson campus.

DeLand is also a major area for skydiving. If I recall correctly, when Tom Cruise was shooting Days of Thunder in nearby Daytona Beach (and I think even a few scenes in DeLand) he went skydiving with Skydive DeLand. (Remember reading that the producers weren’t too happen to hear about that.)

Singer/songwriter Terence Trent D’Arby who won a Grammy in 1988 for Best R&B Vocal Performance Male was raised in DeLand. In 1995 D’Arby adopted the name Sananda Maitreya and legally changed it in 2001. His song Sign Your Name was featured in the movies Up in the Air and Knocked Up.

P.S. A couple of fun connections here; I played high school against DeLand High School on the football field that was used in The Waterboy. That film was directed by Frank Coraci who directed Blended (2014) which was co-written by screenwriter friend Clare Sara. And, of course, there’s always that nice shout-out this blog received a few years ago from the official blog of TomCruise.com.

Related Posts:

Roadkill Ghost Choir (Also from DeLand.)
Clare Sera & ‘Blended‘ (She probably at least drove through DeLand on her way to Hollywood.)


Scott W. Smith

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“If you have any desire to witness presidential candidates in the most close-up and intimate of settings, there is arguably no better place to go than Des Moines.”
2007 New York Times 

Iowa State Capital

This morning I shot some b-roll footage and photographs of the Iowa State Capital, and when its golden dome has a backdrop of a deep blue sky it’s one of the most beautiful government buildings you’ll find.

You probably remember from history lessons in school that Des Moines is the state capital of Iowa, but did you know that Des Moines means The Monks? That is believed to come from the French, La Rivière des Moines—The River of the Monks—for the Trappist monks who lived in huts on now what is known as the Des Moines River.

Scott W. Smith

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“Let me try to state the basic idea of the regional movement. Each section [of the United States] has a personality of its own,  in physiography, industry, psychology. Thinking painters and writers who have passed their formative years in these regions will, by care-taking analysis, work out and interpret in their productions these varying personalities.
Grant Wood
1935 essay Revolt Against the City


A little touch of Europe in the Midwest. I’m back in Iowa this week for a video shoot and stopped in Cedar Rapids on Monday and took this photo of a lion statue on the 16th Avenue bridge connecting the New Bohemia District and Czech Village.

Maybe a reader can help fill in the facts about why the lion statues are there.

Less than a month ago, the Lion Bridge Brewing Company opened just down the street from this statue. Cedar Rapids native Quinton McClain—who used to work at a brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado—opened the brewery with the help of some tax credits, and it’s part of the renovation of an area that was hammered by the flood of 2008.

“I see Cedar Rapids and its Creative Corridor as a thriving market for craft beer. Small breweries are succeeding because people want to know, more and more, where their products come from. I see it in our farmer’s markets and our local restaurants, and the ever-increasing knowledge of the customer. People want more flavor and variety and honesty. They want to have some connection to the guys and gals and businesses that make the products they enjoy. I saw the Historic Main Street District in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village as the place for Lion Bridge Brewing because I see the preservation of our architectural and cultural history as the gateway to our city’s future success.”
Quinton McClain

McClain is connecting with an area in the way that another former artist Grant Wood (American Gothic)—a former Cedar Rapids resident—expounded in his discussions about regionalism in the arts.

From the start of this blog in 2008, I’ve always tipped my hat to Wood and his regionalism as an influence.

Related posts:
One Benefit of Being Outside of Hollywood (Robert Rodriguez)
Creativity and Milking Cows
The Rise of the Creative Class
Roadkill Ghost Choir (Folk/Indie band called part of neo-Americana)
Don’t Try to Compete with Hollywood (Edward Burns)
Screenwriting Quote #15 (Terry Rossio) ““If there are two writers, one living in Toronto obsessively focused on quality and craft, and another in Hollywood, looking to make contacts — my money’s on the out of town writer all the way.”—Screenwriter Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean)

Scott W. Smith

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“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening—and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”
Arnold Palmer

“Golf is a bond that has drawn us all together and created a special fraternity among celebrities of show business, sports and politics.”
Bob Hope



When I stopped by the Golf Channel headquarters today it was hard to miss the empty spot up front dedicated for Arnold Palmer. The 84-year-old golfing legend was busy with his duties up in Augusta, Georgia where The Masters Tournament is being held.

Last month The Hollywood Reporter wrote about a three-part documentary on the life and career of Arnold Palmer that is the first project by Golf Channel Films. (The doc begins airing Sunday night 4/13/14.)

“The Palmer documentary has been over a year in the making and will include more than 100 interviews with Palmer’s friends, peers and fans including President Clinton, Kurt Russell, Herm Edwards, Bob Costas, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. The film is produced by veteran NBC Sports and Olympics producer Israel DeHerrera and written by 18-time Emmy winner Aaron Cohen.”
Marisa Guthrie
The Hollywood Reporter 3/5/14

Part of what’s made Palmer so iconic over the years is he helped grow the game via television and his entertainment connections. Aside from  televised tournaments where he battled Jack Nicklaus, he also appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson numerous times and also in the Bob Hope movie Call Be Bwana (1963). Hope was an avid golfer—he once said he told jokes to pay for his greens s fee—and he was a long time friend of Palmer.

Here’s another side of Palmer that you may not know about. Here’s a 3-minute video for The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children made by Jon Strong that tied for Best In Show at this year’s Addy Awards in Orlando.

Scott W. Smith


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