Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Honor Idaho film sites

With a bill pending in our Legislature to fund film industry incentives within the state, Idaho leaders could further bolster this opportunity by asking that our transportation department revisit Professor Tom Trusky's innovative "Statewide Movie Signage Proposal." Expanding our already successful Idaho Highway Historical Marker program to include tributes to films made in Idaho could be next logical step in this popular program's evolution.

To quote Professor Trusky from last year, "The tourist/publicity value of such signage is apparent—and locals might appreciate such knowledge, too, if they are unaware of their cinematic heritage. As well, given the recent interest in bringing film production to the state, such signage would not only be public acknowledgment of Idaho's considerable contribution to the film industry but also serve as a reminder to contemporary filmmakers of the Gem State possibilities."

As it stands now, every day, thousands of travelers drive directly past Highway 75's old North Fork Store, unmindful to the fact, that in her breakout performance, Marilyn Monroe starred there in "Bus Stop."

Who knows to what high level such a pioneering program might soar? Perhaps one day we will create interactive signs, offering holograms with brief clips for tourists to enjoy.

To thwart vandals, we could program Clint Eastwood's voice, to sternly announce, "Go ahead! Make my day! Because you are now being filmed by an interactive sign, commemorating Idaho films!"

Let's not miss this important bus, because by merging the information superhighway with our back road signage, Idaho could show the rest of the world how we stand on the cutting edge, as well as being capable to cut though bureaucracy, when truly original ideas like Professor Trusky's crop up, like some of the diamond blockbusters filmed in Idaho's rough.

Footnote: Last year, Professor Tom Trusky the director of the Idaho film collection, assisted Brad Nottingham and I in our successful quest for a commemoration of the filming of Clint Eastwood's "Pale Rider" in Idaho. Although, the highway department did not construct a sign up by the Boulder Mountains as we had hoped, they did amend the Wood River Mines historical marker sign, north of Bellevue, to include a tribute to Mr. Eastwood's groundbreaking Idaho film.

Jim Banholzer


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