Shawshank Redemption revisited

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That's me, center, left, during filming in Mansfield, Ohio in 1993.
That’s me, center, left, during filming in Mansfield, Ohio in 1993. Photo by Denise Porter

Today is the 21st anniversary of the theater release of The Shawshank Redemption, adapted from Stephen King’s short story “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.” I was fortunate to be an extra in the film, but sadly only made the cutting room floor. The scene I was almost in, where Brooks (the inmate with the pet bird) is nearly hit by a bus as he walks down the street was filmed from a variety of angles. As a fellow pedestrian I thought for sure I’d be in the background. We wore wool in the middle of an Ohio summer pretending to be in a New England winter.

I can’t understand the people that see nothing in this movie. The film is a classic. Being part of it a fond memory.

After filming was a wrap, I was allowed access to the crumbling main reformatory building in Mansfield, Ohio. All alone in the cold, dark prison, I listened to the haunting sounds of creaking metal and wind howling through broken prison windows, hoping the cell doors would not lock behind me. On the top floor of the building was a room where inmates were held close to their release date. Along with their names and when they went in front of the parole board, one can see images of biplanes – a new contraption at the turn of the last century.

I was also given permission to copy many historic images from the prison which are fascinating even to this day to look at. See more images here.

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