Cumberland Times-News

February 26, 2013

“Our Town — Cumberland”

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — “Our Town — Cumberland,” which will air on Maryland Public Television on March 9 at 7 p.m. and March 10 at 9:30 a.m., is more of a love letter than a TV show, according to Rick Lore, an MPT vice president.

“It was also a labor of love for us,” Lore said during an interview at the Times-News on Tuesday. “As I sat through the first, rough take of the show, I realized I had a wide smile on my face. Cumberland residents are going to love this view of their town, because it is their view. They gave it to us, and our producer, Steve Smith, put it together.”

Lore was referring to the fact that “Our Town — Cumberland” is a product of a couple dozen local residents taking video cameras and filming what they considered to be important about the Queen City of the Alleghenies.

There was simply too much good footage to keep the program within the usual 58-minute, 26-second format, according to Lore.

“We ended up with 68 minutes. Commercial television can’t do that, but we can,” Lore said.

Lore said MPT learned from its first two “Our Town” productions featuring Chestertown and Hagerstown.

“Before filming Cumberland, we developed a script with 30 to 40 topics, but cut that down to 12,” he said. In Hagerstown, for example, the MPT producers had 45 minutes of a cat lounging. “And we missed a couple local icons there, such as the Bell Tower.”

Lore said he believes that viewers of “Our Town — Cumberland,” which includes Frostburg images as well, will see a universal sense that residents love where they are living, have pride in the community and see it as a great place to bring up children.

The program features Hollywood actor William H. Macy who tells stories about growing up in Cumberland. “His love for Cumberland is obvious,” Lore said. “Our producer and a cameraman flew to Los Angeles to interview Macy. We saved a lot of money because California Public Television out of San Diego allowed us to use their equipment.”

Cumberland topics that viewers will see range from the flourishing arts community to the homecoming football rivalry between Fort Hill and Allegany high schools, according to Lore.

John Lombardi, associate professor of mass communications at Frostburg State University, and his students assisted production, Lore said.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.