The Somewhere in Time Weekend and Fan Club

October 9, 2010

The Somewhere in Time Weekend and Fan Club

As I mentioned yesterday, we are going to Mackinac Island, Michigan next week to celebrate the annual Somewhere in Time weekend, and also to premiere my book, Bringing Back The Old Hollywood.

Every year since 1991, the fans of Somewhere in Time have taken over the entire Grand Hotel for a weekend in October to celebrate the film. The film is shown in the hotel ballroom, there are guided tours of all the locations (with wonderful scene re-enactments by weekend participants), and there are several discussion panels (including a riotous film trivia contest). The climax to the weekend is a full-dress ball on Saturday night for which many participants dress in vintage 1912 clothing. In fact, many people bring trunks of clothes and dress in 1912 apparel for the entire weekend.

Writer and professor Steve Ellis is the host/impresario of the weekend and he accomplishes his job with a keen wit and a deep love of the film itself. Steve has become a great friend over the years and we so appreciate both his warmth and his dedication.

The annual weekend would never have happened, and I’m not sure Somewhere in Time would be recognized around the world as it is today, if it wasn’t for Bill Shepard.

In 1990, I was contacted by Bill who said that he was a huge fan of the film and that he was starting a fan club called INSITE, The International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts. INSITE’s newsletter has been published quarterly for the last 20 years! Through Bill’s tireless efforts and passion, INSITE literally lifted Somewhere in Time out of obscurity and into its place today as a “cult film” beloved by people all over the world.

Bill retired from INSITE a few years ago, leaving it in the more than capable and loving hands of Jo Addie who actually appeared as an extra in the film. Jo has also developed an incredible line of collectibles from the film. For more information, please see www.somewhereintime.tv

So, yes, Richard Matheson, who wrote the book and screenplay, is the prime architect of Somewhere in Time. And the film’s wonderful director Jeannot Szwarc is responsible (with huge assists from cinematographer Isidore Mankofsky and film editor Jeff Gourson) for the magic that happened on film. And the chemistry and performances of Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour were truly transcendent.

But the film would never have been made at the magical Grand Hotel without Dan Musser and the film’s exposure to people all around the world is also due in very large part to Bill Shepard, Steve Ellis, and Jo Addie.

We can’t wait to see everyone next week!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzannah November 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

I would love to receive more information on these fan weekends. I missed this year, but would love to be kept in the loop for next time!

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Stephen Simon November 12, 2010 at 6:34 am

Sorry for my tardiness, Suzanna…I actually thought I had replied to this–oops!…The next Somewhere in Time weekend is October 5-7, 2011 and info can be found at http://www.grandotel.com under special packages–hope to see you there!…Stephen

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Stephen Simon November 9, 2010 at 11:33 am

Hi Suzannah…

You can check out http://www.grandhotel.com and look under special weekends/packages. The next Somewhere in Time weekend is scheduled for October 5-7, 2011. It’s a blast!

Stephen

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Jane Park November 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I was privileged to speak with you at the Somewhere In Time convention in October. Your talk was so interesting…. I hung on every word. Each of our 10 times at this fabulous weekend have resulted in special activities and wonderful new friends. This year was especially memorable, as I met you. Next year the dates of SIT are Oct. 7-9. Kind Regards, Jane Park

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Stephen Simon November 16, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hi Jane…Thanks so much for your kind comments and for correcting the dates for the next SIT weekend….We look forward to seeing you there!…Stephen

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Terry Herbert January 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Let me add what little weight I have, to your powerful endorsement of Bill Shepard and his impact as you say, “of lifting ‘Somewhere In Time’ out of obscurity and into its place today as a ‘cult film’ beloved by people all over the world”. I’m thrilled to see you giving him his due credit. Bill came in late and still made a huge impact.

He also wrote the extremely insightful, book, “The Somewhere In Time Story” a decade as he says, “after the fact.” Yet, you could not find a more authentic chronicle, showing the making of a film from all view points, from yours, Stephen, the Producer, to regular crew members, from inspiration to completion. He also used call sheets/production schedules, production diaries to document its transformation from script to screen. I particularly enjoyed (although Stephen, I know you didn’t at the time) the mentioning of the glitches which occurred along the way, and how you overcame them.

More than speaking of Bill’s considerable impact on the movie, I would like to speak of him as my friend. Maybe three years ago, I contacted Bill to read a screenplay I had written. He agreed, and even though I now realize my script was terribly in the rough, I had not yet learned how to craft a script to anywhere near Hollywood standards, Bill encouraged me, because he saw potential in the story. Since then, I have asked him for advice on multiple occasions, and his counsel has always been sage and on the money! To show you how great Bill’s filmic instincts are, when the Best Picture nominees were recently announced, Bill realized he had gone to see all of them at the cinema. Even his choice of which movies to go watch upon their release, is uncanny.

Bill is as nice a person you would ever find. Congratulations to him on his recent retirement, which gives him more time fore hobbies, to watch movies, and to expand on his impressive filmblanc.info website which directed me here. Thanks for all you have done, Bill, to encourage me on my screenplay, and to expand my favorite film, “Somewhere in Time”, to the worldwide cult status which it enjoys today!

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Stephen Simon January 29, 2011 at 7:07 am

Here, here….and a huge AMEN to that….Bill is indeed a one-of-a-kind man in every way…..Thanks so much, Terry!!…Stephen

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Terry Herbert February 1, 2011 at 8:46 pm

How many times have you read a list of the greatest films ever, only to find your favorite film, “Somewhere In Time”, excluded from the list?

I have been closely following the blogs of one of the top script consultants in Hollywood, a screen writing instructor at Warner Brothers. Interestingly enough, she will be reading my screenplay sometime next week. It does not encourage me that she has left my favorite film off her list. Next time you come across one of these lists and see “Somewhere In Time” missing, why don’t you do as I have just done. In a nice and compelling way set forth the arguments for including SIT. Here goes! Did I miss anything major?

My Case For “Somewhere In Time”’s Inclusion in Greatest Films List

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

My pen has been silent for several days, Julie, so as not to disturb your long weekend with your daughter. I also do not wish to distract you from that stack of “to be read” screenplays on your desk with mine lurking near the bottom.

But I must present the case for my favorite film being added to the GASP list.

“Somewhere In Time” was made for four million dollars in 1980 after having its budget slashed in half. Because of a poor release strategy, and an actors’ strike, which prevented Christopher Reeve, Christopher Plummer & Jane Seymour from using their star power to promote the film, it was a box office flop.

However, it was rescued by the soon emergence of VCR’s and Cable TV. Cable Station Z in Los Angeles aired it nightly and the response was overwhelming. Other cable stations followed suit, and the video store rentals greatly increased. The knockout blow was when my friend, Bill Shepard, started INSITE “The International Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts.”

Prerequisite B – Showcase an iconic performance – Christopher Reeve, fresh off Superman I’s success, was a hot commodity in Hollywood. He turned down mega millions, shunning super hero stereotypes to sign on with a low budget film, because he liked the story, and wanted to grow as an actor. In view of his untimely accident, and shortened acting career, it, along with “Noises Off” are rare glimpses of Reeve’s ability to play regular dramatic or comedic roles. He was brilliant, as were Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer in “Somewhere In Time”.

Prereq C – Have cultural impact – Is being adapted as a Broadway play.

Prereq D – Offers seminal direction or film making – Richard Matheson, maybe drawing from his old “The Twilight Zone” episodes, unleashes one of the most surprising and shocking end of film reversals ever, when Richard Collier is snatched back to the present.

Prereq G – Have attained cult film status – Its website ranks among the best, mentioned along with “The Wizard of Oz and “Gone With The Wind”. Years after the film, it produced an attractive line of collectibles. It stages huge annual Somewhere In Time weekends at Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island where the movie was made. Its fan club members receive fine quarterly magazines and enjoy cult film status, a film beloved around the world.

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Emily Bozeman May 15, 2011 at 8:02 pm

what are the correct dates for the Somewhere in Time Weekend for 2011

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Stephen Simon May 16, 2011 at 8:38 am

October 13-15…check http://www.grandhotel.com to see if any rooms are still available…it may be sold out already this year…we’re not going this year but will be there in October, 2012…Stephen

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Jill Evans September 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Too late for this year, but how can I get on a mailing list to be informed of the Somewhere in Time weekend for 2012?

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Stephen Simon September 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Hi Jill…i would contact the Grand Hotel itself right after this year’s weekend in mid-October…they sell out pretty quickly…it’s a lot of fun!!

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Jean Nicholson October 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

Just wanted you to know that the next Somewhere in Time weekend for 2012 is the last weekend in October. I believe it is the 26, 27 and 28th.
My husband and I had a great time and have met some wonderful people!

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Stephen Simon October 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

I’m so glad you had fun!!!

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Cesar D. Diaz February 2, 2013 at 8:07 am

Hi I found a picture of Maud Adams in a newspaper of Puerto Rico from 1901, so if someone was interesting I can send the picture.

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Marilyn Geiling March 12, 2013 at 9:04 am

I am so happy I’ve found this site about the Somewhere in Time weekend in October. I first saw the movie back in 80′s, fell in love with it. The music was awesome, it’s touched my soul. Would love to come to one of these weekends, need more information. Please send via email. Thank you, M Geiling

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Stephen Simon March 12, 2013 at 9:25 am

Hi Marilyn…just go to http://www.grandhotel.com and look up the Somewhere in Time October weekend…it is indeed great fun–and thanks so much for your kind words about the film…

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Wyn Wachhorst May 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Somewhere in Time remains my favorite film of all time. Did a study of it for Extrapolation magazine back in the 80s and compared some other time-travel romance films. Reprinted on my website blog.

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Stephen Simon May 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Thanks so much, Wyn!!

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Tina minton October 1, 2013 at 6:55 am

Call me a latebloomer but I just watched the movie for the first time last night. Needless to say first thing this morning, I put it back in to watch..it is a great movie.Love it.

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Stephen Simon December 30, 2013 at 10:28 am

Thank you so much, Tina…so sorry for my tardy response!!

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JOSEPH SIANO December 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

one of my favorite films. ranks among my 10 best.the story was fabulous. the music was sensational and also phtography. we would all go back in time, that’s why this picture is terrific. the cast was great perfect casting for the movie …………………joe siano

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Stephen Simon December 30, 2013 at 10:27 am

Thank you so much, Joe….and Happy 2014!!

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Clyde Lucas May 4, 2014 at 2:46 am

I retired from the motion picture industry 2 years ago after 35 years as a 399 Teamster, Somewhere In Time is a wonderful motion picture and I was happy to get it in Blu Ray, I have often thought of one day going to that wonderful hotel where it was filmed! It was a privilege working on Dr Quinn Medicine Woman with Jane Seymour.

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Stephen Simon May 4, 2014 at 5:49 am

Thanks so much, Clyde…..our teamsters had quite a challenge on an island that prohibits motorized vehicles!!…but, as always, they figured it out…did you ever know Steve Hellerstein?……you’d have great fun at the weekend….thanks again!!!!

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