Thursday, July 26, 2012

Arrival at the Kent Farm: only the sound of the wind in the high grass



So here we go! Photos and the tale of the first stop on our movie location trip, 'The Farm, The Field & The Tower'! As mentioned, I've decided to write separate posts for each location because there's just SO MUCH to tell!!!

On Saturday, July 7 we flew out of LAX, heading to Calgary, Alberta Canada and the Kent Farm filming site from "Superman, The Movie"! As I spoke of earlier, I had a flurry of e-mails the day before we left from several contacts / fellow fans of the movie in regard to visiting and shooting at this location, which is privately owned. There's a very long and complex story behind all of it that reached some rather inflated heights. At this point and out of respect for those involved, I don't think it's that crucial to elaborate...not to mention the fact that the it would take forever to transpose here!

After flying over the beautifully snowcapped Canadian Rockies, we landed at the Calgary Airport where I began to experience my first time time outside the US. But from the very first moment we were inundated with why everyone else seemed to be in the area; The Calgary Stampede! An annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July. We were completely unaware of this event but right away noticed that a lot of men were wearing cowboy hats and every eatery and hotel was decked out with some type of western motif....like hay bales in the lobby!

"Are you going to The Stampede?", we were asked by everyone. "No, we're just going to the Kent Farm." Believe it or not we actually said that a few times just for a laugh.

Our first night in Calgary was a bit of a revelation; it stays light for a very long time in the evening. How late? Try 11pm before the sun actually sets!! Crazy!

The hotel we stayed in was really nice and just over an hour from the Kent Farm. To our surprise, the pool area (which we'd hoped to enjoy) actually housed a THREE STORY water slide!! Saturday night was pretty packed, but on Sunday when we made our way down to see if we could try it out...the place was a ghost town! For the simple reason that everyone and his brother staying there was attending The Stampede! Yay!!

Smiling broadly as we walked in to discover the space void of people, the water slide appeared to be off. One of the attendants came by and we asked if maybe it might not be working. Nope, we were told. They'd just shut it down because no one was there. At which point the switch was happily thrown and we had a couple of hours all to ourselves! It was A-MAZING!!

Midday was turning into afternoon and I knew it was time for us to get ready to head to the farm. I'd also planned for us to visit a couple of other Smallville filming locations from "Superman, The Movie" while we were in the area; the Smallville Cemetary, Smalville High School and the tracks where young Clark jumps in front of the train.

The weather predicted 80 degress and clear skies all day. But as dark clouds surprisingly appeared to the south, we wondered what things would be like when we arrived at these locations.

As we started our drive south from Calgary to Blackie, I began thinking about how much time we'd want to spend at each stop. Surely the Kent Farm would be the center piece of our trip and I knew I'd want to spend the most amount of time there possible. So I made an executive decision; if we travelled the additional hour south to two of the three additional locations (over two hours total from the hotel), took all the photos and absorption time we desired, then back tracked to the farm, we could be in serious jeopardy of missing the best light possible for enjoying the site as well as taking great photos. Not to mention actually savoring the prime time of the day there!

Verdict: this trip we'd pass on the additional locations.

It was a tough decision but one I was fine with almost immediately. The farm held the most amount of emotion for me and what with the flight only being three hours to Calgary from LA, I knew it'd be easy to take even a weekend trip and return in the future.

Clouds continued to close in as I monitored the situation while guiding Rebecca (who drove everywhere during this entire trip...her election) with directions.

I had Google map coordinates for the farm on my iPhone (provided by someone who'd posted a couple of photos he'd snapped of the farm online), even though we were trying stay away from incurring roaming rates which were astronomical! Having shunned usage from the moment we arrived in Canada, I really felt the need to just shuck it and use the best tool we had in the car for navigation and communication.

As we arrived in Blackie a few drops began hitting the wind shield. This was NOT good as Sunday was pretty much our one day to make this trip before heading off on Monday afternoon for South Dakota and Devils Tower. Somehow we got turned around a bit from where I knew the farm had to be, heading down a road that actually turned out to be two roads to the west. It was now around 5pm. I wasn't worried about day light...just how those rain clouds would pan out.

Suddenly we found ourselves coming up cold on where the farm was actually located. I began scratching my head because according to what I had in front of me on the phone, we were in the right place. But with a little road assistance and perseverance, we at last found ourselves heading down the right road.

Within a few kilometers the barn of the Kent Farm started to peak over the horizon. A wonderful chill came over me as we began to recognize and grow closer to those iconic structures.

THERE IT WAS!!!



Yes, it was a bit overgrown some 34 years on. But still beautiful to behold!!

We drove down to the house just next door to turn around. At that moment, and quite miraculously, the sun started to peak out below the dark crowds, shining glowing afternoon light onto the farm and surrounding area. My fears of a darkened visit had lifted and an underlying back-up plan that we might have to return early the next day before our departure was swept away!

I can't tell you how much of an emotional moment it was to stand there on the road and see the place where the Kents and their special adopted son live in "Superman, The  Movie"! The road in front of the farm where Clark surprises a group of school mates, claiming he'd ran home ahead of them. The barn where young Clark discovers the crystal that would change his life. And the field where Ma Kent found Clark looking off in the distance, realizing it was time for him to leave.

As Rebecca parked the car by the side of the road, I immediately reached for my iPod and did the first thing I was waiting to do the moment we arrived; play "Leaving Home" from the soundtrack.

At the end of the opening, foreboding crescendo of discovering the green crystal, the low strings started and began to grow...

...and I just wept.

I couldn't believe we were there. I couldn't believe we were standing at that very place. It just took my breathe right away.

I predicted to Rebecca long before we made this trip that because this place was so far away from everything, even down a very long dirt road, that the only sound we'd hear would be the wind in the grass. And that's exactly what we experienced as we got out of the car. It was so peaceful...so gentle. I'll never forget that sound.

The entire time we were there only three cars passed by. This is a giant swath of farming land and residents were far and few between.

It was time to take photos and we took A LOT! It may seem like there are only a handful in the set, but in fact we had multiple angles of everything in our camera lenses. The pics you see are the best of the best of the best.



I knew there was only one thing to wear to the Kent Farm and it became my mission to find it no matter what. I just knew that someone out there online had to be selling a Christopher Reeve Superman 'S' T-shirt. It didn't take long to find a seller on eBay and shortly thereafter the 1978 shield was in my possession. I proudly donned it after we arrived and now everything was right and perfect. BTW, I even purchased a black one with white 'S' as well which represents Jor-El's robes from the movie.

We were there for probably close to two hours as we brought snacks to enjoy in the car just to give us some extra time enjoying the scenery.

I plugged in my laptop so we could watch the entire Smallville sequence from the movie, much of which takes place right where we were standing. This is something I've enjoyed doing at every single movie location visit and trip. There on the screen were Glenn Ford and Jeff East talking about not showing off and that young Clark was here for a reason. We watched intently, occasionally gazing up at the farm in wonder with only the dialog in our ears. We ended with the crane shot over Ma Kent and young Clark into the wheat fields.

With one last very long look and some more photos, it was time to go. 8pm and the sun was still up and bathing the Kent Farm in it's continual glow.

You can view the entire set of photos from 'The Farm, The Field & The Tower' on Flickr which begins with this location...RIGHT HERE! I'll be posting specific photos to this set from each of the next two stops as I write the story of Devils Tower and the Kinsella Baseball Field, respectively.

I was now in a wonderful buzz of where we'd just been, continuing to listen to John Williams sweeping score as we drove away and back to our hotel. But not before having some well deserved dinner.

Ultimately we were very lucky to have made the decision to not go to the other locations. I really, REALLY want to see them at some point! Hopefully sooner rather than later. But we truly arrived at the Kent Farm when we were suppose to....and I took the sun coming out at that precise moment as a true sign of that.

The next morning we got up and ran a couple of errands; I forgot to bring my car adapter for the iPod so we had to pick one up at a local electronics store. Then it was off to the Calgary International Airport just 2 miles away to head to destination #2...

Next trip post: Devils Tower!

18 Comments:

At July 26, 2012 at 5:03 PM, Anonymous allen said...

Wow!
So cool, can't wait for the next stop on the tour!

 
At July 26, 2012 at 5:47 PM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

Thanks!! Should be able to get Devils Tower up sometime tomorrow...depending on our timeline at work.

Things might be heating up Friday but I'm determined to stay focused on rolling out out entire trip with photos in a timely fashion!

 
At April 20, 2013 at 8:50 AM, Anonymous Tom K said...

Just found these pix! Man! You completed a journey that I would love to take. The Kent farm/Smallville scenes were always my favorites in the movie. It must have really been special and meaningful to stand out in the wheatfield where Clark and Martha stood and look out into that vast expanse. Congrats!

 
At March 2, 2015 at 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I am a huge superman fan and we will make a RV trip through Canada in may this year. (Starting from Calgary) Is the Kent Farm on this location ? Range Rd 264,Blackie and is the road suitable for an RV ? And is it possible to walk to the barn ? It looks like there is nobody living in that house and the place is abandon.

Gr from Holland
Marten

 
At March 2, 2015 at 9:44 PM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At March 2, 2015 at 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds great !! The place brings back a lot of memories when i was a kid. I saw it at least a 1000 times. To be there and see it with my own eyes will be something special. Thank you very much

 
At March 3, 2015 at 11:49 AM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

My pleasure! It was such an emotional moment arriving there and to take it all in at last, especially after wanting to travel there for decades. Have fun on your trip!

 
At April 11, 2015 at 12:44 PM, Anonymous Mr C. Peterson said...

It would be greatly appreciated if you would stop disclosing the location of this site, as some of the fanbase are illegally entering the buildings and stealing from the owners property. These types of continued activities will only lead to the demise of this site. Your assistance in maintaining this important piece of history is vital! Sent by the brother of the owner.

 
At April 11, 2015 at 1:46 PM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

Mr. Peterson -

Thank you for contacting me and I apologize if these photos have caused any harm. I find it appalling that anyone would go to the farm house or barn to break in and try to steal anything! This is certainly not something I would endorse in any way and have only complete respect for yourself, the owner and this beloved location. However I would like to point out that there are several photos posted by others on Google Earth that does show the exact location on the map of the farm. It was important to me out of respect in this post to only reveal the town and no other specifics. Jason Thomas, who is a friend of mine, was in touch with Tony a few years ago and has asked these people on several occasions to remove their at times on the property photos in order to help protect the farm from such trespass and damages. If I may, could you email me because I have a question or two. Jason and I have discussed a screening of the movie near the farm but certainly not on the property. This will not be a giant event, fairly modest. We're looking to gain permission from one or two of the nearby neighbors but do not in any way, shape or form want to intrude. We would be honored if you can come. Popcorn and refreshments are on us. The Laycraft's are being invited as well. My e-mail address is: lafilmcutr@earthlink.net.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
- David Blanchard

 
At April 11, 2015 at 3:41 PM, Anonymous C. Peterson said...

Well then maybe you can enquire from your friend Jason, what items he has in his possession that were removed from the property|?

 
At April 19, 2015 at 8:08 PM, Anonymous Casey said...

Least you could do David is remove the location of this property from your website and discontinue disclosing the location, you'll be part of the reason this property disappears if this continues. Other webhosts have had the decency to comply with our requests.

 
At April 21, 2015 at 8:44 AM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

Mr. Peterson, I've only posted the name of the town and not the exact location. There are many other websites out there that have revealed the exact map coordinates of the farm. In fact, this information was even made public several decades ago. With all due respect, I don't see a problem with merely naming the town and allowing the photos to remain.

On the flip side, there's a lot of money that the owner could make if he allowed the property to be renovated and refurbished to appear as it did in the movie and open it up as a moderate tourist attraction. He would not have to run this business, it could be operated by others that of course he would feel comfortable with. This is merely a friendly and non-invasive suggestion. The owner has in his possession a piece of land that could surely become a fair to good amount of added income.

 
At April 21, 2015 at 9:37 AM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At April 21, 2015 at 9:41 AM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

I would also like to point out that Jim Bowers was the one who initially provided to us the location of the farm, which was the catalyst for our trip to Blackie. Perhaps you should contact him again after your recent conversation to explain that he hasn't the right to hand out this information either.

 
At April 25, 2015 at 2:45 PM, Anonymous Casey said...

Thank you David, I have continued to contact all parties involved and believe that we have all come to a mutual understanding in relation to this privacy and trespass issue.
We understand that this property is valuable to the fanbase and as such, if the wishes of the present owner are not respected, this property then becomes a liability. Liabilities have a tendendancy of disappearing. As I told Mr Bowers, and you can confirm, this property holds more value as a redevelopment site at this time, unless you are aware of someone who is seriously interested in making a significant offer to aquire this site. Thank You.

 
At June 12, 2015 at 5:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Casey,

Sorry for the late reply.
I did not get the adres from Chris or from LA-filmcutter.
I only asked La-filmcutter if the road was suitable for an RV.
I accidentally found the adres when i was searching for movie-locations in Canada in the region Calgary. I did that because Calgary was our startingpoint of our holiday in Canada and the US. And we (me and my girlfriend) are both movie-lovers and we were curious what movies were filmed there. So i was very surprised i found superman. I always thought it was filmed in Kansas. We are from the Netherlands and we have met a lot of old dutch people who emigrated to canada many years ago. It was wonderfull and we love your'e country. I realy understand your worries and I respect that. I am sorry to hear that there are people stealing from this location. (I have read that on the LA-Filmcutter site.) There are no words for that !!!! When we drove by there was a farmer working next to the farm. Maybe the neighbour ? I asked him if it was ok to take some pictures. He said, no problem
So we did that and then we continued our trip to the first campground close to the US border.

I believe i got the location from here on youtube but i am not sure:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmx8MxQ1zZ0
Maybe it is a good idea to send this person a message to remove this from youtube.

For me it was a special moment to see the farm with my own eyes.
It is a special place for me because i saw it at least a 100 times when i was a kid.
Like Chris said, there are people who don't respect youre privacy.
We are not like that and I will give you my word that i will not spread this location through the internet.

Gr from Holland
Marten

 
At August 15, 2015 at 4:34 PM, Anonymous Casey Peterson said...

Marten,
Sorry for my late reply. It has been a busy season.
We appreciate that you have respected the property during your tour through Canada. Our concern is always unauthorized entry ( break and enter ), as well as theft of physical property and/or intellectual property, ( unauthorized distributed photos or videos of private property ). I cannot stop the distribution of already posted information to the world wide web, I can only request and hope that those webhosts responsible for starting this problem, cease, desist, and respect our right to privacy and quiet enjoyment of the property, something of which I believe we've agreed upon. We do wish to see a viable future for this property.
Thank you.

 
At September 9, 2015 at 2:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Scotland and have always wanted to visit the location, it holds a dear place for me, but coming across this online it seems like some people have spoiled it for the majority, who only want to see the location in person. Most descent people would even consider going into the property grounds. I do agree that the location is on the internet and would be easy for anyone to fine, as I have done. I hope the property remains a place where genuine fans can go past without any eyes of suspicion, as it does hold dear to a lot of fans.

 

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