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Archive for Sunday, September 10, 2006

TV series has Lawrence seeing stars

September 10, 2006

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Must be that Midwestern hospitality.

The city and state rolled out the red carpet for Hollywood on Saturday, welcoming a crew from the upcoming CBS show "Jericho" with hordes of media, elected officials and expansive crop art made just for them.

Heck, North Lawrence even renamed itself for the week. And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius proclaimed Sept. 20, the date of the show's premiere, as "Jericho Day" throughout the state.

A whole day. For a television show.

"This is an incredible thing the town's done for us," said Skeet Ulrich, the show's leading man.

The series, based in the fictional Kansas town of Jericho, depicts what life might be like in a small town after a nearby nuclear disaster. About 100 Lawrence residents watched a special screening of the show's pilot episode at dusk on the lawn of the Lawrence Visitor Center, 402 N. Second St.

But really, whenever there's a fictional nuclear disaster, the nation apparently wonders: What would Kansans do?

"Jericho" star Skeet Ulrich and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius chat at Stan Herd's "Jericho" crop art unveiling. The earthwork promoting a new CBS series was unveiled Saturday at Bismarck Gardens, 1616 N. 1700 Road, where Gov. Sebelius also issued a proclamation renaming North Lawrence as Jericho for a week.

"Jericho" star Skeet Ulrich and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius chat at Stan Herd's "Jericho" crop art unveiling. The earthwork promoting a new CBS series was unveiled Saturday at Bismarck Gardens, 1616 N. 1700 Road, where Gov. Sebelius also issued a proclamation renaming North Lawrence as Jericho for a week.

Sebelius could only guess as to why.

"Maybe Danni Boatwright, the 'Survivor,' inspired all of this," she said.

Or, then again, maybe it's just the nature of the state, she said. After all, ad astra per aspera, "to the stars through difficulty."

"I guess this is one difficulty we're going to survive," Sebelius said while waiting to give her official proclamation.

Crop promotion

At Bismarck Gardens, crop artist Stan Herd gave interviews to roving television crews - all from nearby CBS stations, the only network allowed to be there.

When he finally made it inside the small tent and grabbed a glass of wine, he seemed exhausted.

"It beats the crap out of me," he admitted. "I'm ready to go home."

But this is Herd's job, he said, this four hours a month he turns it on, smiles for the cameras, shakes hands until his arm hurts.

He doesn't mind it, he said. He used to draw a thick line in the sand between himself and doing corporate artwork. But now he understands, he said: This kind of work is art as well, and it allows him to afford his own projects.

"I'll cross those lines, now," he said.

He said he liked his CBS artwork - his interpretation of the show's logo featuring a boy watching a mushroom cloud rise in the distance.

In order to get a better view of the 20-acre scene, a helicopter gave Ulrich, media-types and almost anyone else a ride up for an overhead look.

On this ride, CBS-hired photographer Dick Whipple hung out of the open helicopter door and shot Herd's massive art from above.

With the art blocked from sight, Pauline and Helen Nunemaker shot photos of the family's Bismarck Gardens farm and the outstretched countryside.

Back on the ground, Helen Nunemaker couldn't have been happier.

"I've been on a little plane, but nothing like this," she said, almost bounding. "A lady my age, her first flight. It was worth it."

Ulrich said the day was worth it as well. While others may cringe at the thought of a day bombarded by interview after interview, of television cameras tracking every move, Ulrich didn't seem to mind much.

"No, it's great," he said, sipping on a Miller High Life Light. "You get a chance to broaden your horizons."

Mountains in Kansas?

And as for horizons, Ulrich said the show couldn't help but have mountains in the horizon. Sure, that's not how the horizon looks in western Kansas - if you've never been there, it's as flat as you might think - but in Los Angeles where they film the show, the mountains are just part of the landscape.


Stan Herd, Lawrence crop artist, unveiled his "Jericho" project Saturday at Bismarck Gardens north of Lawrence. The crop art was created to helped promote the new TV series "Jericho," which will premiere Sept. 20 on CBS.

Stan Herd, Lawrence crop artist, unveiled his "Jericho" project Saturday at Bismarck Gardens north of Lawrence. The crop art was created to helped promote the new TV series "Jericho," which will premiere Sept. 20 on CBS.

"We have mountains there's no way to eliminate," Ulrich said.

But in a quick conversation with Ulrich, Sebelius came up with a solution: Come back and actually film in Kansas next season.

"I gave him some grief," Sebelius said. "He said they made L.A. look like Kansas. I assured him they couldn't possibly do that."

On screen

At the night screening of the pilot, residents on hand cheered and clapped twice - at the beginning when Ulrich's character drove by a "Welcome to Kansas" highway sign and during the final credits.

The show's opening episode was filled with drama and tense scenes.

The small Kansas town is masked in confusion as all outside communication ties have been cut and the power eventually gives out. The residents know nothing about the blast other than the mushroom cloud they saw to the west.

A school bus full of children was in the country during the explosion, which disrupted the bus' route, and the driver died from injuries.

"I liked the story line. There was a good cast, and no bad acting in it," said Zach Ortiz, a Free State High School sophomore. "It was an all-around good show - well put together and well thought out."

Musician Kelley Hunt performed before and after the screening.

Star Straf, a programmer at Kansas University, said she enjoyed the show and would give it a try when it premieres.

"The characters interacted in conflict with each other. It's not just entirely action and suspense. It's a bit of both," Straf said.

The North Lawrence resident was excited about the day's events.

"I guess I live in Jericho now," she said.

Comments

bangaranggerg 7 years, 7 months ago

I love that when Hollywood comes to Lawrence they fly around in helecopters drinking Miller High Life Light.

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Ken Miller 7 years, 7 months ago

Get your Skeet fix now. This show will last six weeks.

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justtemp 7 years, 7 months ago

"In order to get a better view of the 20-acre scene, a helicopter gave Ulrich, media-types and almost anyone else a ride up for an overhead look." Actually, non-press types were politely asked to leave the area by the owner of Bismark Gardens. Despite the fact that LJW published the time and the address of the crop art unveiling, she said it was not intended to be a public event. Interesting since they were apparently trying to raise public awareness about the show.

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Confrontation 7 years, 7 months ago

Everyone should just be glad that something actually took place in Lawrence.

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julescotton 7 years, 7 months ago

aahhh I used to LOVE Skeet Ulrich. Yay for Lawrence!

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mom_of_three 7 years, 7 months ago

At least Stan Herd is trying to do something for his town. Even if he created something "corporate", at least it is promoting Lawrence.

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Tychoman 7 years, 7 months ago

That's an awesome picture of Ulrich and Gov. Sebelius.

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local_support 7 years, 7 months ago

Really, why does everyone have to be such jerks all the time?

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prospector 7 years, 7 months ago

What is Skeet running for? He is here because it is probably in his contract (do promotions, etc.) His dress and pose in the picture (hands in pockets) are just him using his acting skills portraying someone from a podunk midwest town. My bad, I guess I just don't know good acting when I see it. I will keep a better eye on the White House, because we all know how good at acting they are.

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Silence_Dogood 7 years, 7 months ago

I wonder why you care about the governor's "hippy" husband, lunacy? Do you wish she were married to a bass-ackwards, wife-beater wearin', gut-totin', Confederate-flag flyin' slob like you?

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Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years, 7 months ago

Why all the negative comments about Skeet Ulrich? Unlike John Kerry, he actually stopped in Lawrence and spoke to people, rather than buzzing past it on a train. If I was a Hollywood TV star, I wouldn't take the time to visit podunk towns in the midwest, so I give Skeet credit for doing so.

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lunacydetector 7 years, 7 months ago

"as good as it gets"...now, that's going back a few years. "scream" - it was okay i guess but not worth remembering.

"ride with the devil"....didn't see it. can't get into that director's movies. i never watch a minseries or made for TV movies so that eliminates the rest.

i'd post a link to a photo of sebelius' hubby, but there aren't any to be found. now, i wonder why?

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mom_of_three 7 years, 7 months ago

Skeet Ulrich is an actor who has appeared in many movies I KNOW you have heard of - "As good as it gets", "Scream", "Ride with the Devil", and was just recently in the miniseries "Into the West". He also appeared in a great tv movie in 2005 called "The Miracle of Ordinary Days," with Keri Russell.
Lunacy, you would probably recognize his face more than his name. Maybe you should get out more.

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prospector 7 years, 7 months ago

Wow Skeet, thanks for dressing up to meet our governor. I guess that you are preparing for your next role, when you are trying to get by on your miniscule screen actor guild pension.

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lunacydetector 7 years, 7 months ago

i wonder if sebelius brought her pony tail wearing, john lennon glasses wearing, split end and scraggily haired (translation: hippy retread) hubby with her?

....and who is skeet ulrich anyway?.....NEVER heard of him.

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monkeyhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

"He used to draw a thick line in the sand between himself and doing corporate artwork."

I guess if Bob Dylan can sell out, it's ok for you too, Stan.

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audvisartist 7 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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mooseamoose 7 years, 7 months ago

Skeet Ulrich in Lawrence, OH MY GOD!!!!!! He's right up there with Danny Bonoducci!!!

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