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A Dark and Stormy Night...

posted May 4, 2009, 10:18 AM by Elwin McKellar

It was a dark and stormy night in 1951...seven shots rang out, piercing the brittle silence of the Lumberjack Tavern in Big Bay, MI. In seconds, the life of Mike Chenoweth, a former state police officer, sharpshooter, and owner of the tavern -- was gone in a pool of blood. Seven holes pierced his body, one in the center and six more in a perfect circle around it. Lt. Coleman A. Peterson, a U.S. Army officer stationed at the anti-aircraft artillery range near Big Bay, would be tried for murdering Chenoweth, in revenge for allegedly raping Peterson's wife. He was successfully defended by John Voelker, a local attorney who would later become a Michigan Supreme Court Justice, and under the pen-name of Robert Traver, would write his now famous novel: Anatomy of a Murder.

OK, so maybe it wasn't a dark and stormy night, but the rest of the story is true and helped make Otto Preminger's brutally dramatic 1959 black and white movie Anatomy of a Murder, an American classic. A stage play based on the book was written by Elihu Winer and will be produced by the Calumet Players on May 14, 15, and 16, 2009 at 7:30 PM, in the Calumet Theatre, in Calumet MI. The cast is all Players veterans and the list is available on the Calumet Players Web site at www.cplayers.org.

The play is as honest and dramatic as the book, a bit less complicated than the movie, and a true picture of the rough and tumble nature of mid-20th century American jurisprudence. Don't miss this uniquely dramatic event upon the 50th anniversary of shooting the movie in Marquette, Big Bay, Ishpeming, and Michigamme in 1959.

In conjunction with this show we will be raffling off an autographed copy of  the novel by Robert Traver. Tickets will be available at each production and the cost is $1.00 per ticket or 6 for $5.00.