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63.5o

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64o / 64 o

Fame in Edisto 

Edisto is the type of place that seems hidden from the rest of the world. It’s like a secret nobody wants to tell for fear of ruining the good thing all Edisto-lovers got going down here, so it’s kind of strange to think that this tiny town’s roots extend all the way to Hollywood.

To begin with, Edisto Island provides the backdrop for many films set in the south. Nicholas Sparks’ novel which was turned into the film “The Notebook” features scenes that were shot on the island. For those who are familiar with the flick, the homestead of Frank Calhoun is on the island. The DVD of the film features behind-the-scenes footage of the filming and shows the island’s welcome sign on Highway 174.

Another Nicholas Spark novel that was made into a movie in 2010 called “Dear John” was filmed on Edisto Island at Cassina Pointe Plantation. This plantation was built in the Civil War era and is featured during the Edisto Museum’s annual tour of the island’s homes, cemeteries, and churches.

Then there’s the Jim Carrey hit from the mid-1990s “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.” Many of the scenes in that film that show Ace in the thicket of the jungle, but were actually shot in the woodlands of the island.

Before Mel Gibson was known for his rants and drunken binges, he was a huge film star and his hit “The Patriot” was another movie filmed partially on Edisto. Many of the scenes featuring the South during the Civil War era were shot in Botany Bay Plantation, which is open to the public.

Aside from blockbusters and hit chick-flicks, some lesser-known films also feature Edisto Island.

In 1998, “Animals with the Tollkeeper,” which is about a cab driver who falls in love while in search of paradise, was released in South Africa. It is said that the film, which has an artistic appeal, features such striking scenes that viewers could hit pause during any scene and be struck by the beauty of the film.

“Other Voices, Other Rooms,” a film based on a Truman Capote novel featuring a child sent to live in an old plantation was also filmed on the island.

In addition to contributing to the film industry, Edisto was the home of famed Motown bass player, the late James Jamerson.

After graduating from high school, Jamerson moved to Detroit and began playing in clubs before working at Berry Gordy’s Hitsville U.S.A. studio, which was the home to the Motown record label. From there, he became a member of the legendary Funk Brothers, a core group of musicians that performed on many of the Motown recordings of the 1960s.

Jamerson played bass for hit songs like Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “What’s Going On,” the Four Tops’ “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” and hundreds of others.

Edisto also acts as a place of respite for one of the world’s biggest stars of the stage.

In the early 2000s, Broadway star Patti LuPone built a home on front beach. She can be seen around town from time to time, sucking down oysters at local restaurants and buying local tomatoes, but keeps a low profile for the most part – just the way Edistonians like it.

Anyone who’s been to Edisto knows what a treasure the place is and can understand why it’s in the movies and a hideaway for a star. It’s the tranquility of the atmosphere, the crash of the waves, the sounds of the birds, and sweetness of the southern wind that makes the island a secret hideaway filled with people who vow to never let the secret slip.

8 comments
chazzajb008
chazzajb008

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chazzajb008
chazzajb008

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chazzajb008
chazzajb008

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Judy Gilmore
Judy Gilmore

Yes I too have a copy of this article. The page is brown and very delicate but it brings a sparkle and new life to my mother's eyes each time she sees it. My mother is, Mary Francis Wilkinson Mead. It was her grandfather who painted the original oil painting. Cecil Westcoat (later changed to Wescott, due to a disagreement with his family) was an artist  and poet on Edisto. If you look on Wilkinsonslanding.com you can see a picture of him on the history page.  My mother was born and raised on Edisto and even though, Cecil Wescott, is the only person ever mentioned in all the books about Edisto, she can tell stories of the island that will entertain and excite you with each word. My mother's father, Frank Wilkinson,  was the first Charleston County police office on Edisto. Some of Mom's stories are of her father bringing prisoners to the house for something to eat before he would take them to jail in Charleston. 


Chalmers Murray, the writer of this article, has a daughter, Jane McCollum,  whom still lives on Edisto in the same house her parents lived. Jane and my mother grew up together and to this day are the best of friends. There are few things more interesting than to listen to the two of them talk about growing up on the river and all the "trouble" they got into. Jane will put the blame on mom and mom puts it on her. 


No matter where are family has been over the years, Edisto is always our destination. My mother lives with me now in North Carolina due to a stroke she had, but I pray every night that one day I can bring her back to live in the home she grew up in and the island that breaths life into her. 

BarbaraMiley
BarbaraMiley

I had forgotten about the strong, swift tides in the Inlet.  You're right.  We were aware of those tides, too, and had to be careful of them.  The Isle of Palms also has what we've always called "rip tides" in that little inlet between them and Sullivans Island.  Many people, sailors included who presumably knew how to swim well, drowned in that every summer.  But I'm talking about 67 plus/minus years ago when we used to take that walk.  Also, it was the greatest, easiest way to get a beautiful, even sun tan.  One way on the front, the other way on your back.  So much has changed through the years, and some very powerful storms have done their damage with erosion, etc.  We would do well, I think, to take every precaution to protect our environment at all levels, from the ground, to wildlife preservation, and the care of our forests and natural habitats for wildlife and all life, as well as making certain all types of water remain clean from sewage or garbage infiltration by carelessness.  Laws should be passed in every area of local government to guarantee proper maintenance of these habitats on all the islands, and not on the beaches alone.  South Carolina is too beautiful for us citizens not to take care of its cleanliness and paving of its roadways, etc.  That should just be a natural responsibility of everyone who lives or visits here, and should not be left to the government to maintain our environment by itself.


Barbara Miley

Camden, SC


jimbobka
jimbobka

I had heard this story from my parents, although didn't realize it was so long ago. The inlet is shallow enough during most of the tide cycle to wade across now and do great shell-hunting on Edingsville beach. 20+ years ago, I don't remember being able to wade across except at low tide, and even then, it was deep enough to worry about currents.

BarbaraMiley
BarbaraMiley

I would suggest that the vibes you're having about Edingsville Beach are suggesting you make a trip down there to see it, and perhaps be among the first to purchase property to build another house on that island.  When I was in my early teens in the late 1940's and early 1950's, we used to walk the length from Edisto State Park at the Bowling Alley all the way to the Inlet, and at low tide it was possible to wade the Inlet except for a few swimming strokes, and emerge on the other side at Edingsville Beach.  Then we'd walk the beautiful beach with pure white sand and no shells, and beautiful blue/green water as calm as a lake, and finally come to the Ocean where we could see the Folly Beach Lighthouse standing straight and tall.  It seemed almost close enough to swim to, but none of us ever tried that feat.  I don't know how many miles we traveled, but it took a large part of the day to get there and back.  And I don't remember, but we must have had to swim across the Inlet getting back to the bowling alley.  Even then the beach was beautiful, but nobody seemed to know what had happened to the houses that were supposed to be there years ago.


Barbara L. Miley

Camden, SC