Turner Classic Films at the Victorian Mansion Museum in Barnesville | News, sports, jobs

Director Ted Ross, left, films actors in the upcoming Turner Classic Movie documentary “40-Take Willy,” which will be released next year. The Belmont County Victorian Mansion Museum in Barnesville was the setting for a brief scene. (photo provided)

Belmont County’s Victorian Mansion Museum has long been a focus of the county and Barnesville, and the museum’s commitment to preserving the atmosphere of the period was recently rewarded as the museum will be featured in a television production.

Museum President Cathy Messenger said director Ted Ross contacted the Historical Society to prepare a documentary for Turner Classic Movies. One of the museum employees, Brooke Rogers, was chosen to play a character.

“They came on Tuesday and filmed,” she said. “Our treasurer, he got a little part. He was the doctor.”

Rogers had one line.

“It was very interesting for Brooke and I to see everything and how each scene was set up and what was going on,” Messenger said. “It was surprising to see what happens in the film.”

Messenger said the Victorian mansion suited Ross’s needs.

“They were filming in Wheeling. They had some exterior scenes near some Victorian houses, but the Victorian houses had been updated on the inside, so he couldn’t use them. He was asking about a Victorian house that he could use,” she said. He called us on the Facebook page and came two weeks before filming and specified the areas he wanted to use for filming.”

The director and the messenger quickly hit it off.

“When he came here to the museum, he was so amazed at how accurate everything was in this era,” she said. “He said he didn’t understand why it wasn’t used more.”

The museum has been transformed into a production set complete with stage lights, costumes and makeup for the actors.

“It’s called ‘40-Take Willy’ and it’s about William Wyler,” she said of the man who directed such classic films as “Ben Hur,” “Funny Lady” and “Roman Holiday.” “It’s about his life story. A documentary about him. The actors always called him ’40-Take Willy’ because he would do 40 takes of one scene. That’s why he won so many Oscars.

“We’re decorating our open house for Christmas, so we decorated two parlors for Christmas. In the movie there was a scene, so they used one of the parlors and they used the grand hallway and the staircase and one of the upstairs bedrooms.

Messenger also learned something about all the time and energy it takes to watch a movie.

They were here for 11 hours of filming. I asked him: Of all the things you shot that day, how long would it be on film? “He said about five minutes,” she said. “No wonder movies are so expensive to make.”

She said this will be the first time the museum has received this level of exposure.

“This is going to be national. It’s even going to be Emmy-ready, and it’s going to be prime time,” she said. “In our algorithms and things, we’ve picked up new people. She brought interest and objects to the museum. “We appreciated that, because they chose us.”

She said that the film will be released next year. There may be a Barnesville premiere after it airs on TCM.

Meanwhile, Messenger said Christmas preparations are underway. The museum opens for holiday tours on November 5.

“We’re opening early this year. We usually open after Thanksgiving,” she said. “We had a lot of visitors last year while we were decorating.”

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