On a hot early summer day in 1958, the crew and cast of the Doris Day/Jack Lemmon/Ernie Kovacs movie “It Happened to Jane” arrived at the Plainville railroad station. Although the story was set in Maine, filming was done in several Connecticut locations. As news spread, many residents made their way to the center of town to check out the excitement.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, well-known railroad historian Robert Belletzkie will present “When Hollywood Came to Connecticut: A Salute to Doris Day and It Happened to Jane” at the Plainville Historic Center. He has done new and extensive research using manuscripts, newspapers, railroad documents, photographs, maps, and eyewitness accounts.
Belletzkie will focus on the action along the “Canal” or “Northampton” Line at the staging area in Plainville while also outlining the history of the now 126-year-old Milldale Depot in Southington where an important scene was shot. He will talk about the stars’ activities (including Ernie Kovacs’ marathon card game in the Plainville station), public reaction, and much more. Belletzkie will also highlight what some consider the real star of the film – the “Old 97,” the last of the New Haven Railroad’s steam locomotives.
In advance, the Historical Society is collecting information and photos related to the 1958 filming to show in a display and/or online. If you can share reminiscences, memorabilia, or photos (they can be scanned at the Historic Center), please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (860)747-6577. The society encourages local participation as Plainville looks back on the day that Hollywood came to Central Connecticut.
The program will be held Saturday, Oct. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Historic Center at 29 Pierce St. There will be time for audience questions and comments. Refreshments will follow. All are invited and there is no admission charge. Elevator access is available.