Shawshank Trail bench plaque replicates the one in movie

July 11, 2012

Written by
Lou Whitmire
News Journal

MANSFIELD -- Fans traveling to see the 14 Hollywood film sites on the Shawshank Trail should have an easier time locating one item in Mansfield.

A bench that Brooks, played by actor James Whitmore, sat on as he fed the birds after his release from prison has been refurbished.

The Mansfield/Richland Convention and Visitors Bureau and Premier Graphics teamed Monday to add a coat of hunter green paint to the bench, located downtown in Central Park just west of the gazebo.

In the film, Brooks the prison librarian, sits on this bench feeding the pigeons, hoping his pet crow Jake shows up to say hello.

"Premier Graphics donated the paint and graciously agreed to help paint and scrape," said Jodie Puster, of the MRCVB.

Jack Motta, owner of Premier Graphics was an extra in the film, working as a prison guard.

"That was a great time," he said as he prepared to paint the bench with his employees Mitch Wolfe and Peter McGuire.

Visitors taking the Shawshank Trail tour should more easily recognize the newly restored bench, replicating the color in the movie, she said. The majority of the sites along the trail are clearly marked by window decals and plaques containing the logo, web site and QR code for Smartphones allowing for easy identification.

Puster said Premier Graphics designed and made the Shawshank Trail logo on sites around the area where filming took place.

The MRCVB created the Shawshank Trail Drive-It-Yourself brochure and web site, four years ago for fans of the film.

The Ohio State Reformatory was the backdrop for much of "The Shawshank Redemption," filmed in and around Mansfield in the summer of 1993. It was based on a Stephen King short story titled, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption."

The 20th anniversary reunion, "Shawshank 20," is planned in Mansfield next summer.

"Shawshank," starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, has become part of the city's history. Upper Sandusky also attracted filmmakers to its courthouse and lumberyard, as did Malabar Farm State Park near Lucas, and other sites in north central Ohio.

Bob Wachtman of Upper Sandusky came to the bench painting. He is an active volunteer for the Shawshank prison wood shop, which is open for tours by donation in Upper Sandusky.

PHOTO: Volunteers sanded and painted a bench in Central Park in Mansfield Monday afternoon to commemorate a scene in the movie "Shawshank Redemption" as part of the Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau's Shawshank Trail. Shown are Jack Motta, left, owner of Premier Graphics, and Pete McGuire. Motta played a prison guard in the movie. / DAVE POLCYN/NEWS JOURNAL

lwhitmire@nncogannett.com
419-521-7223
Twitter: @lwhitmir

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