Swampscott Film History: A Fisherman "Saves" Star of the Silent Screen
A scene in the surf at Whales Beach for a 1917 movie that featured Silent Movie Era star Mary Pickford had to be reshot after a Swampscott fisherman splashed onto the set.
The North Shore, in general, and Swampscott, in particular, have a rich history serving as the setting for movies going back to 1917.
Movies, or at least the filming of them, must have been a novelty in these parts back in 1917.
Swampscott historian Lou Gallo says that a local fisherman made an impromptu appearance on the set of the Pride of the Clan starring Mary Pickford — a huge star in the early years of film and its silent movies.
A scene for the movie was shot on Whales Beach in Swampscott and placed drowning Mary Pickford in the surf.
A Swampscott fisherman witnessed the action and did not realize it was from the world of make believe. He went into the surf to pluck the starlet from the water and the scene needed reshooting, said the local historian.
Lou had his own brush with a star back in his high school days.
He and a friend took the train to Marblehead to watch scenes shot from Home Before Dark.
They were there, on a corner in Old Town, waiting a long time for the filming that turned out to be quite brief.
Afterwards they decided to walk home and save the 50-cent train fare home.
When it started raining they started thumbing for a ride.
A black town car stopped and picked them up. Riding in the back was the star from the movie, Jean Simmons, who wanted to know what they were doing out in the rain.
They explained they had been at the movie set watching the filming.
What did they think, she asked?
It was a long time for shooting a short scene, they said.
That's movie making, she replied before dropping off the high school kids at the Fish House.
Movie making on the North Shore will continue this summer with a lot of scenes from Grown Ups 2 being shot in Swampscott.
Last year about this time scenes from the movie Ted were shot in Swampscott.
And a decade earlier, in 2001, the town served as a location for the movie Baby's in Black and, a year later, for the film My Father the Genius.
Here's a complete list of North Shore filming, according to the Mass Film Office:
1917 The Pride of the Clan
1958 Home Before Dark
Locations: Marblehead; Danvers
1967 The Thomas Crown Affair
Locations: Boston; Beverly; Hamilton; Ipswich-Cranes Beach
Locations: John Hancock, South Boston Hall, Faneuil Hall; Nahant
1970 Love Story
Locations: Cambridge-119 Oxford Street, Harvard College; Hamilton-US Equestrian Team Headquarters
1970 Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon
Locations: Braintree: Blue Hill Cemetery; Manchester-by-the-Sea
1978 The Europeans
Locations: Salem-Salem Maritime National Historic Site; Waltham-Lyman House
1979 Burned at the Stake (formerly The Coming)
1986 The Witches of Eastwick
Locations: Cohasset: Cohasset Town Center; Marblehead: Abbot Hall; Boston: Wang Center; Ipswich: Castle Hill; Scituate
1986 Flowers in the Attic
Locations: Ipswich-Crane Estate
Locations: Boston-Boston Common, South End, Sturbridge Village; Ipswich-Appleton Farm
1991 Young Goodman Brown
Locations: Salem; Topsfield: Bradley State Park; Danvers: Rebecca Nurse Homestead
1992 Hocus Pocus
Locations: Salem: Pioneer Village; Marblehead Cemetery
1993 The Next Karate Kid
Locations: Ipswich-Crane Estate; Rockport-Halibut Point; Medford-Tufts University; Brookline; Brookline High School; Groton-rte.119
1993 The Good Son
Locations: The Pyle House; Manchester-By-the-Sea; Lobster Cove; Annisquam; Rockport; Gloucester; Danvers; Beverly; Marblehead Cemetery
1993 Kilian's Chronicle
Locations: North and South Shores
1995 The Crucible
Locations: Essex: Hog Island; Ipswich: Crane's Beach; Beverly: United Shoe Factory
1998 The Love Letter
Locations: Rockport, Gloucester, Ipswich, Cape Ann
1999 State and Main
Locations: Manchester, Dedham-Endicott Estate
2000 Session 9
Locations: Danvers State Hospital
2000 Treading Water
Locations: Marblehead area
2000 What's the Worst That Could Happen?
Locations: Boston, Manchester-By-The-Sea
2000 Could Be Worse!
Locations: Everett; Cambridge; Boston; Revere; Manchester-by-the-Sea; Marblehead
Locations: North End; Peabody; Beverly
2001 Baby's In Black
Locations: Gloucester; Swampscott; Plum Island; Cohasset
2001 West of Here
Locations: Milk Street, Boston; North Shore
2001 The Retreat
Locations: Jonsson Estate, Woods Hole; Falmouth; Nauset Light; Boston Medical Center; Plymouth Airport; Peabody & Arnold, Boston
2002 My Father the Genius
Locations: Marblehead; Gloucester; Swampscott; Cohasset; Plum Island; Martha's Vineyard.
2007 The Box
Locations: Boston - Boston Public Library, Boston; South Boston; Ipswich - Castle Hill, Crane Estate, Ipswich; Milton;North Andover - Osgood Landing, North Andover; Quincy - Hough's Neck, Quincy
2007 My Best Friend's Girl (Bachelor No. 2)
Locations: Boston - Boston Harbor, North End, Old South Church, Suffolk University Law School, Copley Plaza Hotel, Jamaica Plain, South Boston, East Boston High School; Brookline - Beacon St.; Brighton - Western Ave; Belmont; Ipswich - Crane Beach
2008 Bride Wars
Locations: Boston; Salem
2008 The Joneses
Locations: Barnstable; Boston; Canton; Georgetown; Hampton; Lynn; Melrose; Newburyport; Northbridge; Peabody; Saugus; Stoughton
2008 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Locations: Boston; Chelsea; Ipswich- Crane Estate Castle Hill
2009 Furry Vengeance
Locations: Boston; Danvers; Crane Beach, Ipswich; Topsfield
2009 Grown Ups
Locations: Boston; East Wareham; Essex; Southborough
2009 Knight & Day (Fmr. Wichita)
Locations: Logan International Airport-Boston; Bridgewater; Danvers; Melrose; Waltham; Woburn; Worcester Regional Airport-Worcester
2009 The Company Men
Locations: Boston; Burlington; Chelsea; Lynn; Marblehead
Locations: Boston; Canton; Chelsea; Everett; Norwood; Somerville; Swampscott
2011 Donny's Boy (f. I Hate You Dad)
Locations: Boston; Dennis; East Bridgewater; Everett; Osterville; Peabody