Somewhere In Time
October 15, 2012 by JoBe Cerny
This story is the most “romantic” adventure in my career, and it began many years ago. My greatest successes came in commercials, but I have had some notable roles in films. One of the first films I appeared in was Somewhere In Time, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The film critics did not give the film great reviews, but the audience’s thought otherwise, and the film went on to become one of the most watched films in the world. The majority of the film was shot at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The film became so popular that an International Network of “Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts” was formed with a quarterly magazine. Each Fall, members of the Network gather at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island for a weekend. Many of the enthusiasts wear Victorian costumes, and cast members are flown in for the event each year as fans of the movie celebrate one of the great love stories of all time. If you have never seen the movie, rent it or watch it on cable. It still draws lots of viewers. It is definitely a four hankie movie that moves audiences to tears. It is a love story about a Chicago Playwright (played by Christopher Reeve) who travels back into time to meet a woman (Jane Seymour). It was written by Richard Matheson who wrote for Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and several noteworthy motion pictures, most recently I Am Legend and Steele.
While my role in the movie is small, it is a key moment in the film. But the time I spent on Mackinac Island is etched in my memory. It was a big production. Even the journey to the island was exciting. It was the first time in my life I flew in a small airplane. The island has a small airstrip, but to this day no cars are allowed on the island, so I was picked up by horse and carriage. Even the camera crews and their equipment were moved by horse and carriage. It was truly a trip back in time. The entire cast wore turn of the century costumes. Most of the cast stayed in a school dormitory room since the Grand Hotel is always packed, but it was a great three day stay, and I have returned to the island many times since. But, the first sight I saw as I walked out of the dormitory was Jane Seymour, who was wearing a long flowing white dress, and she was walking her dog, against a backdrop of the Straits of Mackinac, as the wind blew her hair behind her. She didn’t have to do anything to instantly become art from any angle. Without a doubt, I knew this would be a beautiful movie to see on a big screen. It was eventually released in 70 MM.
The Grand Hotel is the largest wooden structure in North America, and it is a great place to stay. It is meticulously maintained by the Musser family, and the rooms are all very special. The yearly convention takes place the last weekend of the year the hotel is open. It is always wonderful to see the island when the Fall colors are at their peak. Great numbers of fans attend the convention, and it has been great getting to know a number of them. The last time I attended the convention, the fans were lined up for autographs from the center lobby of the hotel out the door and down the Grand Hotel’s very long porch up the road into the hillside. It was truly an overwhelming experience to be asked for an autograph by so many people years after the release of a film. And everyone knew who I was and what role I played.
One of my favorite memories of the film was getting a chance to meet Richard Matheson who wrote them film. He has been one of the top writers of film, television, and novels for many years. At the time we met I had just started my writing career. It was quite an honor to meet him, much less talk to him and ask him for advice. Many years later, I got to direct some of his Twilight Zone scripts, which were adapted for Carl Amari’s Twilight Zone radio dramas. Richard Matheson gave me lots of good advice and encouragement, and it was enough to keep me writing every day since then. Writing is like anything else, you get better with practice. He told me to write down good ideas and have more than one iron in the fire at all times. I had that conversation with Richard Matheson over thirty years ago. And since that time, Richard Matheson has continued to write many more wonderful projects. I found his advice and example very inspirational, and it has kept me writing. And with a little luck, I will keep writing many more years just like he has. It was nice having someone who was successful at his craft willingly give me advice, and I took his words to heart and it helped me a great deal.
Somewhere In Time Weekend is always a magical event. I have many fond memories of the film, the fans, the Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island.
Visit: www.somewhereintime.tv to learn more.