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‘Ashland’s Field of Dreams’ to premier at PAC

IRONTON — The premier of a film about America’s pastime will go head-to-head with Friday night lights.

The documentary, “Ashland’s Field of Dreams” will have its world premiere at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Ky. tonight at 7:30 p.m. The film is free to the public and no tickets are required.

At a press conference Thursday to announce the film’s release, writer and director Dave Carter said the film was a virtual time machine in documenting by re-creation, 1950s baseball action at Central Park. The press conference was held at Ohio University Southern in the center that bears his name.

“We found uniforms that were 50 years old, never used. We found old equipment on eBay and shot action sequences with more than 30 boys,” Carter said. “The images were then processed with special effects software and the result is a faded old film – look, scratches, streaks and all.”

Carter, who has won six regional Emmy awards and a national Emmy for his work on the Johnny Carson Show, said the documentary features interviews with many boys — now men in the 60’s — who played baseball “every day, sometimes all day long.”

The Flatwoods, Ky. native said the PBS-style documentary has been in the works for nearly two years. He said it began with a chance encounter at Central Park two summers ago with Gary Wright who had just committed to donate $125,000 to rehabilitate the main diamond at the park, called CP-1 in the 1950s

That meeting encouraged Carter to start a website called www.CP-1.org for those who played on the diamond in their youth to record their memories. As Carter read the entries that were posted to his website, he says a story we wanted to tell developed. The story then took shape in his mind as a documentary.

“Ashland’s Field of Dreams” is 57 minutes long with the version being shown at the Paramount on Friday containing an additional 25 minutes of bonus footage. Carter even went as far as to create a 1950’s feel with the premiere by having a cartoon and re-created Universal newsreel shown before the film starts.

Longtime Cincinnati Reds announcer Marty Brennaman narrates the film and will take a night off from his broadcasting duties to attend the premiere. Local musician Ryan Parker produced the music for the film.

This is not Carter’s first forte into producing baseball documentaries. Carter won one of his Emmy awards for the film “Mickey, Whitey and Me” about the Mickey Mantle-Whitey Ford Fantasy Baseball Camp.

He picked up two more Emmy awards for “The Long Summers of Lou Dials” about a baseball player in the Negro Leagues.

The film will be broadcast on KET, the Kentucky Educational Network in October. It will also air on Channel 25 in Ashland and Ironton at 9 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 31; at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2 and at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3.

Copies of the “Ashland’s Field of Dreams” DVD will be available in Central Park on Saturday when the annual baseball reunion takes place from 1:30-3:30 p.m. DVD’s are $15 and movie posters are $5. The DVD and poster will also be available online at www.CP-1.org.