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Roger Smith


Lights! Camera! Action! Ms. Margret

Genoa has been abuzz for a week as a Los Angeles film crew made a Hallmark movie "'Till the River Runs Dry," in the tiny town, that stars longtime actress Ann-Margret.

Margret is one of the world's most glamorous and versatile superstars and has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. She has won five Golden Globe Awards and received five Emmy nominations. Margret still draws sell-out crowds in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Radio City Music Hall in New York.

In the movies, she plays Tula Jeeters, a widow recluse whose livelihood is threatened when relatives try to sell her property to construct a golf course.

Patsy Fitzgerald, the site locator for the production company, Dawpate Ltd., said the movie, due for release before the end of this year, has a happy ending.

The company filmed in Genoa through Wednesday this week and just about doubled the town's population.

Sunday through early Tuesday, the crew used the historic Genoa Bar for movie scenes.

In negotiations with the production company, owner Willy Webb closed up the bar for exterior and interior scenes to be shot. He said, although the movie is supposed to be set in fictitious Cumberland, Colorado, the bar's real name will be seen in the end result.

Fitzgerald said originally the plan was to shoot the movie in Placerville, Calif. Some members of the production company had visited Douglas County last year to play golf, and after visiting Genoa, it was decided the old bar had to be included.

"It was short notice, a quick deal," Webb said, "An hour after I heard I signed the contract."

Webb would not divulge how much he was paid for use of his business.

"After I accepted, the site locator was true to her word and paid in full, up front."

Webb said the company couldn't leave up any signs that referred to Nevada, so new signs were painted to adorn his bar.

It was controlled chaos all week as more than 100 people converged on the town to start shooting. At least 50 locals were hired on as extras in the film.

"They all seem to know what the other needs," Webb said. "I am amazed to see how organized they are.

"I asked the director how he keeps it under control, and he said, 'It's never under control."'

Webb said he would welcome the company of professional film makers any day.

"The crew is so professional," he said. "It's incredible. They are like a whole bunch of ants."

To help a crew member celebrate a birthday, Webb re-opened the bar after filming on Sunday, so the production company could celebrate.

Fitzgerald said the entire town has been very accommodating. She figures the company will have spent more than $20,000 on food and necessities in the town during the nine-day shoot.

Dawpate Ltd. has a few other films in the works and Fitzgerald said Genoa will definitely be considered for a future site.

"This is a wonderful area, and the people have been great," she said.

Other town locations being used in the film include the Genoa Town Hall, fire station and meeting room, Town & Country Real Estate, The Inn Cognito, La Ferme and the Legend Country Inn.

The film crew also rented Martha Williams' property on Main Street to store equipment.

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by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

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