By Carol Vaughn —
The Island Theatre on Chincoteague received an early Christmas present — the original script for the movie “Misty.”
It was Ken Lang’s copy of the script for the movie, which was based on Marguerite Henry’s 1947 novel, “Misty of Chincoteague.”
Lang was a member of the electrical group on the film crew.
The donation included a location shooting schedule detailing for each scene the principal cast members, description of extras, animals needed, props, and production notes.
Also included was a poster from the 61st annual Pony Penning, with a map of Chincoteague on the back, likely used by Lang to find his way around the island.
The story of how Hayes came to own it is an interesting one.
Lang’s cousin had a daughter, Betsy Wagner, who was enamored of Henry’s book, “Misty of Chincoteague.” On Wagner’s 14th birthday in 1962, Lang gave her the movie script, which she kept all these years and which remains in very good condition.
After Wagner died in 2019, her husband, Hayes, donated the script last month to the Chincoteague Island Arts Organization and the Island Theatre, where the “Misty” movie premiered in 1961 and where it typically is shown during Pony Penning week.
The script is signed “K. Lang, Electrical Dept.” and marked “Strictly Confidential.”
The 119-page typewritten script of the screenplay written by Ted Sherdeman is dated July 26, 1960.
Bill Borges, CIAO board chairman, called the script “a real treasure,” saying Hayes’ offer “just came out of the blue.”
“We eventually want to put it in some sort of exhibit,” he said, noting the theater already has an original poster from the movie.
The theater has been closed to the public for most of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the board has used the time to work on the building and plan for the future, as well as offering virtual programs.
The movie, directed by James B. Clark and produced by Robert B. Radnitz, featured actor David Ladd in the role of Paul Beebe; Arthur O’Connell as Grandpa Beebe; Pam Smith as Maureen Beebe; and Anne Seymour as Grandma Beebe. It also included a number of Chincoteague residents as extras.
One of them, John Jester, spoke with Borges about the experience.
“All the kids on the island, they closed the school for three days and the kids were bussed to the fairgrounds when they did the fair scenes,” Borges said, adding, “They were told you can go on all the rides, eat all the hot dogs you want, all the popcorn. At the end of the day, they each got a dollar.”
“It’s a sweet movie,” Borges said.