This year marks the 50th anniversary of Hollywood magic coming to Eckley Miners Village in Foster Twp. The patchtown rich in coal mining history was becoming celluloid history in 1968 with “The Molly Maguires,” starring Sean Connery, Richard Harris and Samantha Eggar, released in theaters two years later.
Set in the 1800s and based on the 1964 novel by Mahanoy City native Arthur H. Lewis, a group of Irish miners rise up against their cruel company bosses with dynamite and sabotage. Filming took place in the summer of 1968 with locals serving as extras and Eckley as the backdrop.
Director Martin Ritt had many movies under his belt, including working with Paul Newman, and “The Molly Maguires” was one of two movies he released in 1970. The other was “The Great White Hope.”
The movie with an $11 million budget – a large amount for 1968 – was a box office flop, earning about $2.2 million during its run. However, it help preserve Eckley as it is now.
To commemorate the anniversary, the Standard-Speaker is planning a special section about what took place in the summer of 1968 and what happened afterward. If you have a story, memorabilia or if you were an extra on the set, share your memories with the newspaper.
You can share your memories through Standard-Speaker Facebook page, by email at email@example.com or by calling Tony Greco at 570-501-3576.
This Thursday, celebrate in Jim Thorpe with a viewing and benefit at the Mauch Chunk Opera. Arrive early at 6 p.m. for a pre-movie party, followed by the movie at 7:30. The cost is $50 for the party and movie and $20 for the movie. All proceeds benefit Eckley Miners Village. Tickets are available at mcohjt.com or SoundCheck Record at 570-325-4009.