Cumberland Times-News

Latest news

June 6, 2013

‘Outdoors Maryland’ creator celebrates show’s 25th year

Glenn Tolbert talks origins, crews, more

OAKLAND — As “Outdoors Maryland” celebrates its 25th year on Maryland Public Television, the Oakland resident who launched the series in 1988 met with the Times-News Thursday to recall the early days and salute the heights to which the show has risen.

After more than 700 shows, “Outdoors Maryland” has won 37 Emmy Awards and is currently nominated for two more.

“I had watched a show called ‘Outdoors Arkansas,’ and I liked it and I knew that we could do it even better in Maryland,” said Glenn Tolbert, then employed by MPT and living in Owings Mills. “But it would be expensive and first I had to sell the idea of producing a one-hour pilot.”

Tolbert said he was somewhat surprised when Department of Natural Resources gave him and MPT an immediate green light and the necessary money.

“I got out a map, picked various regions of the state and started to choose stories and locations. I had never even been to Garrett or Allegany counties, so that took some research.”

Tolbert’s research was of the on-the-ground, up-close-and-personal variety. He had beer money and he put it to work.

“I went to restaurants and bars in the two counties and asked local people what they did in the outdoors and where they did (it). And, yes, some of the money was used to purchase liquid incentive so people would provide me with the information I needed.”

The pilot show was an unqualified success, according to Tolbert.

“It opened with a float on the Pocomoke River and closed with bears in Garrett County. The other parts of Maryland filled in the middle.”

Tolbert said the premiere of the pilot show was watched by Gov. William Donald Schaefer and lady-friend Hilda Mae Snoops. Also in attendance were various elected state officials and numerous staff from state agencies.

“When it was over there was rousing applause and we were on our way,” Tolbert said.

Tolbert produced the show for 10 years. His approach was a natural one.

“We used music if it was needed, but I’d rather let viewers hear the birds chirp or the river babble. My goal was to have viewers see and hear Maryland’s outdoors, to love it and treat it with sacred tenderness.”

Tolbert said he felt good about the fallout from the show. “People would see a show about Garrett County and say ‘Oh, wow. You mean that’s in Maryland?’”

Tolbert said he felt bad about the fallout from the show. “I have always been concerned that the show brought more people to Western Maryland and somehow lessened the quality of the outdoor experience.”

“Outdoors Maryland,” which airs on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., was originally produced by Tolbert using a film crew of three.

“Comparing the equipment from then to now is crazy,” he said. “Our recording unit was in a large, heavy box that it took one person to carry. We would hook it to the camera with a long cord.”

Tolbert said his crew was “unbelievable.”

“We couldn’t afford a helicopter so one of them would climb the highest tree to get an aerial shot. They’d cross rivers, whatever it took.”

During filming, Tolbert found himself in some difficult positions, including flat on his back in the Little Youghiogheny River after slipping and falling.

“Walking in that river was like stepping on buttered rocks,” he said.

Another time he got caught in a severe lightning storm on the Eastern Shore as a nearby tree was struck.

Tolbert said he hopes that his work and the efforts of those now producing “Outdoors Maryland” create not only an enjoyment of the state’s natural landscape, but a reverence for it. He said he always enjoyed working with employees of the Department of Natural Resources and always sought out the most enthusiastic individuals for interviews.

“Most of them love what they do,” he said.

Tolbert, originally from El Paso, Texas, said he had envisioned the East as pretty much paved over and was thrilled when he discovered its natural beauty.

“I have always been fascinated by the mystery of nature,” he said. “You know, you see the trees in the forest and the different shades of light between them off into the distance and you want to go there, to feel it, to see it, to try to understand it. I wanted that to be ‘Outdoors Maryland’ and I wanted to take the viewers with me into the different shades of light.”

Tolbert said he sees that the show’s current staff is continuing the program in that spirit.

Asked to detail the parts of Maryland and the outdoor activities he and his crew exposed to viewers during his decade with the program, Tolbert paused.

“I can’t think of anything we missed,” he said.

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

 

1
Text Only
Latest news
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob