Lights, camera, Dayton!

Hollywood sets up on Second Street

By Jim Bucher

Last week, for a couple of days, you may have heard or seen that Hollywood set up shop in downtown Dayton.

A few scenes for “The Old Man and a Gun,” with Tinsel Town heavyweights Casey Affleck, Robert Redford, Danny Glover, and Sissy Spacek, were filmed at Liberty Bank Tower and around town.

Hollywood magicians transformed Second Street, in front of the bank, back to the 1970s, complete with period automobiles and even an old Ohio Bell phone booth.

Of course, this brought out the curious who gathered across the street to take it all in, hoping to grab a quick glimpse of a star or two.

Roger Reynolds was there.

“Following FilmDayton on Facebook, was very excited to learn that Robert Redford and Danny Glover would be filming in my hometown, Dayton. I went down with a nice crowd of people to observe. Beautiful sunlit, but windy morning; was worth the wait as Robert Redford arrived about an hour later and stepped out of his car, dressed in a blue jacket and with a paper. [Maybe DCP?] A few steps, [and] he was into the bank, shooting scenes that we will soon see on the big screen,” says the Vandalia resident, comedian, and actor.

Roger, on scene for an hour or so, caught a glimpse.

“Yes, was a rather brief sighting of a huge star that Redford is, but to me, well worth the wait,” he says. “The ‘extras’ came and went several times, but it was Robert Redford who held my interest.”

Cathy Ferguson was on hand, too.

“This is my very first experience with a movie set,” the Kettering resident says. “I was there for almost three hours to catch a peek of somebody. One time, felt like a visitor to a zoo, gawking at the animals, but in this case it was stars. I’m sure they’re used to it. Had a great time.”

Later, Mr. Redford was spotted at the Oakwood Club dining as Robert Redford.

This reminds me of the numerous movies shot on location here and around the Buckeye State, especially the one I covered in my news days in 1994.

“Milk Money,” starring Melanie Griffith and directed by Richard Benjamin, was filmed partially in Lebanon.

The romantic comedy was about three suburban 11-year-old boys who find themselves behind “the battle of the sexes,” believing they would regain the upper hand if they could only see a real, live, naked lady and/or hooker. They pooled their “milk money” to take a trip to the big city to accomplish the dream.

In Lebanon, everyone was abuzz with this rare opportunity to see how Hollywood works. The crew also shot scenes in Cincinnati.

So, with news video camera in tow, I descended on the city down south to record reaction from townsfolk, and hopefully grab the film crew shooting a scene and glimpse the star.

I struck out with the latter, but I was able to grab some footage of the crew and the town, dressed up in a Hollywood facade. The detail was incredible.

Even the local bank’s name was changed to reflect the mythical town for the film.

The movie time period was set in the fall, but they were filming in a different season. So, the set-decorating folks actually trucked in fake leaves, strewing them around the street.

The movie was released and, not long after, was in the local Blockbuster Video store on VHS. Didn’t do much biz, but I thought it was pretty entertaining—and to see Melanie Griffith up on the big screen was wonderful.

What’s next for Dayton and the region? With tax credits and cheaper labor, the sky is the limit. The gang at FilmDayton is on the prowl for more any-size budget movies.

Now, this isn’t really a movie set story per say, but famous producer-director Quentin Tarantino came to town to experience first-hand the installation of the Cinerama projection system when it was installed in the Neon Movies. Through Larry Smith, the general manager, I was able to interview the eccentric creative force.

Tarantino was great and covered many topics. Of course, I offered myself up to play a TV reporter in his next film, if needed. Have him on video saying, “Yes, sure. You got it.”

Funny…never heard back.

Guess it was the old “don’t call us, we’ll call you” deal.

Note: I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Tarantino, whenever you are.

Cheers and that’s a wrap!


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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at

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