Abc Gives Town Its 15 Minutes Of Fame

April 07, 1991|By Staff report

UNION BRIDGE — This sleepy Carroll town will emerge from anonymity to the glare of national television tonight -- if only for a few minutes.

Tonight and tomorrow, ABC-TV airs "Separate But Equal," a two-part televisionmovie that includes scenes shot last fall at the town's historic train station.

The four-hour miniseries dramatizes the events leading up to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision to desegregate the nation's schools.

The telecast airs at 9 p.m. both nights on WJZ Channel 13.

On a quiet Wednesday afternoon in late September, the ABC crew createda stir when it descended on the town unexpectedly. Residents and merchants gathered at the depot, now the home of the Western Maryland Historical Society museum, to watch Burt Lancaster and Sidney Poitier,among others, do their thing.

In the miniseries, Poitier plays Thurgood Marshall, who argued the case against segregation and who later became a Supreme Court justice. Lancaster plays Marshall's courtroom adversary, John W. Davis.

The train station, built in 1902, was dressed up to look like a Charleston, S.C., depot. The scenes shot there depict the arrival of a black sociologist, who is met by Marshall.

Although the ABC crew spent some 10 hours filming at the depot, the footage shot in Union Bridge probably will account for no more than about 10 on-screen minutes, co-executive producer Stan Margulies said in September.

But the event was nonetheless a source of pride and excitement for residents.

"It might just put this little town on the map," Union Bridge resident Betty Weishaar said on the day of the filming.

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