From the Oct. 1, 1991 edition of the Gazette by Virginia Poole:

The temperature stood at a chilly 46 degrees Monday morning at Menemsha harbor, but the movie cameras rolled anyway. Film star Christopher Reeve arrived promptly for a 7:30 a.m. call to play a scene on the wharf with fish dealer Everett H. Poole. While the crew stood in the lee and the sunshine gathering all the warmth they could, Mr. Reeve, looking tan and comfortable, went through a quick rehearsal on the windswept dock. Dressed in yellow apron, navy blue shirt and red swordfishing cap, Mr. Poole played himself without a grimace at the frosty breeze.

The film in progress is Last Ferry Home, one of a series of five family movies being made for the Boston television station Channel 5. Funded by the Heinz Family Project, it will be aired in the coming season.

Several weeks ago the call for open casting went out, and the production people began to mine the local workforce with experience in filmmaking. Several came forward including Michael Wild and Douglas Ewing.

Local talent took its share of good-natured ribbing at the shooting on Monday. “We couldn’t make up someone to look like Everett,” said Arnold Reisman, a seasonal resident, as he surveyed the filming at Menemsha harbor.

Amidst the joking the director of photography scanned the site for the best angles. Production assistants stuffed their hands in zippered coats, trying to keep their fingers warm. Sound technicians quickly foiled the eight-knot breeze blowing across the harbor. Fittingly the film takes place in the fall of the year.

“Rolling. Everybody quiet. Speed. Action,” came the cry. The cameras rolled several times, seeking different angles while Mr. Reeve and Mr. Poole performed their parts.

Then it was a wrap, and the crew bundled up the equipment and headed for Arnold and Priscilla Fischer’s Flat Point Farm in West Tisbury, where it was warmer. The farm will be the main location for the movie shoot this week.

Suddenly a new person appeared on the set. He was Billy L. Sullivan from New York city. He will play the nine-year-old son of Christopher Reeve in Last Ferry Home. Following close behind were his father and his tutor, Nanci Dator, Vineyard teacher. A barnyard cat quietly leapt from a fence to stroll down the road and a staring cow gave a low bellow. All was well.

Movie making is not a strange phenomenon to the Vineyard populace. Hundreds have taken part through Jaws I and II and The Bostonians. On the weekend Collinge/Pickman Casting, one of the top casting firms from the Boston area, learned how enthusiastic Vineyarders are about making movies. Eight hours of open casting brought 350 hopeful people to the George W. Goethals American Legion Post in Vineyard Haven on Saturday and Sunday to interview and audition. The call was for 150 extras. In addition there were two speaking roles, one for a lively boy between the ages of 9 and 11 years old, the other for a male farm worker of any age.

Plaid shirts were the in thing to wear for those hoping to pass as farmers. The Island’s supply of lively young boys turned out in force. Two of them wore their Children’s Theatre T-shirts, as a reminder of their training. Another young hopeful brought an album of his play programs, news items and pictures. Poised as could be, he looked through them with a casting agent, who was thoroughly interested.

Those waiting in line listened eagerly for any news of the process they would face inside. “I hear there is a fruit stand in the movie,” Kate Scott said. “I don’t know where it is.”

“Shhh, don’t tell everything you know,” someone else said.

“I hear they want to know what kind of car you drive,” said another.

“I’ve got an old Volkswagen. I’m in for sure,” said a third.

Three people — two women and a man — came bounding out of the legion hall. They almost skipped with excitement. “We’re in!” said one. The women were Marion Browne and Cathy Kommer, both carrying their uniforms. “We told them we were registered nurses and we got parts. Not really, but we’ll find out Wednesday.”

“I’m going to be pushing the gurney to them,” said Carlos Kommer.

“Andy Warhol — here comes the 15 minutes!” said Marion Browne.

The week will be a suspenseful one for those waiting to get a call. The little playmate for Danny will not be announced until later in the week. And the speaking role for the farmer may be cast from off-Island, Cathy Pickman said on Sunday afternoon.

The staff of Collinge/Pickman was pleased with the turnout. “It is a tremendous group of people,” said Patty Collinge. “Very varied.”

Near 3 p.m. on Sunday the casting staff was piling up the last of the pictures, careful to keep applications of people who wanted to act together in the same file. Fascinated little boys watched their older playmates and siblings try out for the part of Danny’s friend. “Even if you don’t get in, it’s just fun!” said a Vineyard woman happily.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox