This year marks the 50th anniversary of the drive-in classic Thunder Road, a movie starring Robert Mitchum that was filmed in locations around Western North Carolina. Wedge Brewing, Asheville’s newest micro-brewery, plans to mark the occasion with an outdoor showing of the film at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 19.
Tim Schaller, owner of the Wedge, wants anyone with a story about the movie to come out and share.
“There’s people here in their 70s who were 20 years old when the movie was filmed,” he says. “There are little stories to come out of the filming of the movie, and we’d be honored” to hear them.”
Mitchum’s movie (he wrote the story and sings the theme song) pits poor moonshiners against rival ‘shine runners and government agents, known as revenuers, who are determined to shut them down. Thunder Road is populated with gritty characters and features heart-pounding chase scenes filmed on snaking mountain roads, including one car chase through what is today the River Arts District, where Wedge Brewing is located.
Some residents recall that the Toxaway Falls and Quebec areas of Transylvania County served as backdrops for filming, while others note that Mitchum stayed in downtown Asheville at the Haywood Park Hotel. The old Merrimon Avenue Pharmacy and Holye’s Office Supply also served as movie sets.
Everybody is invited to the screening — “even if they have bad memories or made-up stories,” Schaller says, adding that he’s also inviting classic-car owners to come out and add to the ambiance.
Schaller asks that anyone interested in the event call him at 279-6393.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor