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George Washington Carver film scene will be shot at Saranac Lab

November 3, 2012
By staff ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - A telecommunications company from Maryland will shoot segments of a film about George Washington Carver at the historic Saranac Laboratory here.

Signature Communications of Huntingtown, Md., has been engaged by the National Park Service to produce a centerpiece video for visitors to the George Washington Carver National Memorial, located at Carver's birthplace in Diamond, Mo. Titled "Struggle and Triumph: The Legacy of George Washington Carver," the 25-minute film will be accompanied by an educational video and supplemental educational package tied to national Common Core curriculum standards.

As part of the filming process, and to augment the archival images and film available, Signature Communica-tions is bringing Carver's experience and legacy to life through re-enactments of seminal experiences in his life, filmed in authentic period settings. Childhood scenes have already been filmed with actors at historic villages and farms in Missouri, as well as at Carver's birthplace in Diamond. Because the lion's share of Carver's lifetime of achievement occurred at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., the filmmakers want to reinforce the significance of his laboratory research and teaching there. But none of the interior settings where Carver worked in Tuskegee have been retained in their historical condition.

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George Washington Carver teaches in his laboratory at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., around 1905.
(Library of Congress photo archive)

After a wide search, Signature Communications came upon the Saranac Laboratory Museum, maintained by Historic Saranac Lake, and will be undertaking location filming there on Nov. 14.

Dating from 1894 - near the time when George Washington Carver was preparing to move from the Midwest to Tuskegee - the Saranac Laboratory's white glazed brick walls, wooden cabinetry and period-accurate hood cabinet are very much of the same historical style as those of Carver's later labs at Tuskegee. Period photographs reinforce that similarity.

To round out the illusion, the filmmakers will outfit a professional actor with period attire to represent Carver and are also seeking several college-age men and women to appear as supporting actors, representing Carver's African-American students at Tuskegee. Acting experience is not required for these non-speaking roles, and Signature Communications will supply an appropriate wardrobe as well as a $100 stipend and a credit in the film. Interested parties should contact John Allen at 410-535-3477 or

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While Carver would become known as "the peanut man" because of his extensive research into the practical uses and agricultural advantages of peanuts, Carver's life work and legacy went far beyond the peanut in his search for ways to "help the man farthest down," as he put it. His early years were fraught with struggle and rejection, beginning with his birth to a slave mother near the end of the Civil War. He witnessed mob lynchings and was denied admission at a white college, yet became a well-educated scientist and teacher of national and worldwide influence and renown.



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