Archive for Friday, December 4, 1992


December 4, 1992


Dozens of local residents withstood gusting winds and chilly weather Thursday afternoon to get a glimpse of actor Richard Thomas and actress Brooke Shields during the shooting of a movie in Lawrence.

Shields and Thomas were in Lawrence to film "The Laura Black Story," which will be aired on ABC television.

The one-day Lawrence stopover came on the heels of about two weeks of filming in and around Topeka. Thursday's shoots took place in the parking lot of the Eldridge Hotel, Seventh and Massachusetts; in the basement of the hotel in the Big Six Sports Club; and inside La Prima Tazza, a coffee shop at 638 Mass.

About 1 p.m., Akiko Chamberlain, a resident of Stouffer Place apartments, was one of about 30 people to watch filming of a scene behind the Eldridge Hotel.

Chamberlain managed to get some pictures of Thomas during the shoot, but she was disappointed to learn that Shields wouldn't appear in the scene.

After sticking around for some filming at La Prima Tazza about an hour later, her patience paid off. She got a good view of Shields inside the restaurant from the street outside.

"She's gorgeous," Chamberlain said.

DAN MURTAUGH, 1131 Tenn., and about 50 other people were on hand to watch the filming of that restaurant scene, which involved both Thomas and Shields. After the shoot ended, Murtaugh managed to get Thomas' autograph while the actor was returning to the Eldridge Hotel.

Although Thomas is best known for his television role as John Boy in "The Waltons," Murtaugh said he appreciates Thomas' other works.

"He was in `Andre's Mother,' an American Playhouse production concerning the AIDS crisis. He does a wonderful job in that," Murtaugh said. "He also played Private Fleming in `The Red Badge of Courage' several years ago."

In "The Laura Black Story," which is based on actual events, Thomas plays another role that breaks the John Boy stereotype, that of a man whose obsession with a woman leads him on an illogical, violent rampage.

IT WAS in February 1988 that Richard Farley entered Black's place of employment in California's so-called Silicon Valley and went on a shooting rampage. Farley killed seven people and injured four, including Black, who suffered a collapsed lung and a shattered shoulder from a round of gunshot.

Farley eventually surrendered and now is incarcerated.

Farley and Black met as employees of the same company. Within a month, Black reported that Farley had a strange obsession with her. He began to stalk Black even though she had made it clear she did not want to see him.

Black was in Lawrence on Thursday to watch the filming of the movie, which she said sends an important message.

"I think the message that the story tells is that stalking is a very serious problem that can lead to horrible, horrendous consequences," Black said. "There's also now recourse for women who face this problem. There are solutions, especially if they come forward with the problem and bring it to the awareness of authorities."

SHIELDS, who plays Black in the movie, said that while she never has faced anything as nightmarish as Black's, she can draw somewhat on her own experiences in portraying Black.

"As a public figure, you learn that there are certain issues that you have to learn to deal with that are really unique, and one of them is being stalked," Shields said.

With the airing of the movie, Shields said, "I hope people become aware that this is happening everywhere, in every walk of life, in every profession."

Thomas said people have asked him what it's like playing the villain. He doesn't view the role that narrowly.

"I hope that they (the television viewers) see a person when they see the performance," Thomas said.

About 200-300 people from Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City and other areas of northeast Kansas have served as extras in the movie. Filming in Lawrence wrapped up around 12:30 a.m. today, and filming of the movie will end Monday in Topeka.

As of yet, no airing date has been set for the movie.

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