Stadium sizzles for reality show pitch

Rachel Mummey/The Herald
Director Jordan Wyatt of St. Louis started filming for an interview with Mike Uebelhor of Huntingburg, second from left, one of the Dubois County Bombers’ managing owners, and reality television hosts Jo Firestone of Brooklyn, N.Y., and her father, Fred Firestone of Clayton, Mo., at League Stadium in Huntingburg on Wednesday. Wyatt, who is part of a crew from Lantern Creek Productions, was in town to shoot video for a proposed new reality show called “That’s Here?!” The premise for the show is to spotlight pop-culture landmarks in small Midwestern communities that many people might not be aware of.

Herald Staff Writer

HUNTINGBURG — The bright summer sun beat down on League Stadium on Wednesday as a three-member film crew shot scenes that could become part of a reality show.

Lantern Creek Productions of St. Louis chose the stadium to film a short proof-of-concept video that can be pitched to television networks and other media, called a sizzle reel, for an idea for a new reality show called “That’s Here?!”

Lantern Creek partners Jordan Wyatt and Frank Wachowe said the premise for the show is to spotlight pop-culture landmarks in small Midwestern communities that many people might not be aware of. Wyatt visited Huntingburg about a year and a half ago and discovered League Stadium, which was featured in “A League of Their Own” in 1992 and “Soul of the Game” in 1996.

“It’s kind of a hidden gem compared to a lot of other places,” Wyatt said of the stadium. “It was just a really cool place and it stuck with me.”

Mayor Denny Spinner said the city was first contacted by the production company about a month ago.

“It’s just another confirmation of what a treasure we have here in our city,” he said. “The stadium is a landmark people recognize through the great success of ”˜A League of Their Own.’ It’s an opportunity for us to promote what we have here.”

Comedians Jo Firestone of Brooklyn, N.Y., and her father, Fred Firestone of Clayton, Mo., were selected as the hosts for the sizzle reel. The pair received on-camera batting and pitching tips from Dubois County Bombers players as the team practiced Wednesday afternoon.

Wyatt said the stadium was selected to be featured in the sizzle reel because of its aesthetics and wide appeal. The stadium is also very recognizable, he said, because it retains the features from the “A League of Their Own” set.

Dubois County Bombers’Chris Tavares, left, Jacob Armstrong, top and Bo Ausmus kept cool in the shade while waiting to participate in the filming of a sizzle reel for a travel-based reality television series at League Stadium in Huntingburg on Wednesday.

Lantern Creek is aiming to produce a video about 10 minutes long that will be used to pitch the reality show idea and raise money to expand the sizzle reel into a full pilot episode. While it is unknown if the show will ever be picked up and produced either on television or as a web series, Wachowe said the sizzle reel could at least become an example of the company’s work to be posted on its website or on YouTube.

“It will get out there one way or another, we just can’t say how yet,” he said. “There are so many (other) options out there now than just television.”

Mike Uebelhor, managing partner for Dubois County Baseball that owns the Bombers, was interviewed for the video. Uebelhor is also a member of the League Stadium Advisory Board that seeks to promote the stadium as a tourism destination.

“It’s an honor to be picked for this,” he said. “Any opportunity we have to expose League Stadium to the outside area is great.”

Lantern Creek also interviewed former Huntingburg mayor Connie Nass, who was in office when “A League of Their Own” was filmed, and shot scenes at the Bombers game Wednesday night. The Bombers discounted tickets for the night to help fill the stands.

“Everything has gone really well,” Wachowe said. “Everyone’s been really helpful and the weather cooperated, although it could have been a little cooler.”

Wachowe said he had never been to Huntingburg before and was unfamiliar with League Stadium, but he recognized the field when he saw it.

“I really like that they kept all the period signage,” he said. “Those are really cool.”

Uebelhor said the stadium has had increased visitor traffic this year, including several tour buses.

“I really think this is the tip of the iceberg of what we could do with that facility,” he said. “It’s a good start. Who knows how (the sizzle reel) will end up, but it definitely can’t hurt.”

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