Hollywood markets the Amish

  • Author(s): John A. Hostetler and Donald B. Kraybill
  • When: 1988-12
  • Where: Image Ethics by Larry Gross
  • On March 3, 1984, the Wall Street Journal carried an article entitled "Hollywood Today Is All Over the Place As States Lure Films.". The author remarked, "States are winning movie business because they offer fresh and authentic things to film as well as lower costs, far less red tape, cooperative communities and a great deal of help in finding suitable locations." The cooperation between the states and Hollywood is illustrated clearly in the making of the film Witness in the Amish country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Early in 1984 the "Today Show" an-nounced that Paramount Pictures was making a major feature movie in Amish country. No one in Lancaster County, however—neither the Tourist Bureau nor the Amish—knew anything about the proposed movie. It came as a complete surprise, and met with two very different reactions: excitement among movie fans and merchants, and dismay among the Amish who were to be the subject of the film.

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