Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This is a double-header blog on the exciting "The Great Escape" reality show filmed on Dark Island!

First, I have an excellent video news clip from YNN which interviews several notables from Singer Castle and local business representatives regarding the new reality show called The Great Escape which is causing a so much buzz in the Thousand Islands (as noted in my previous blog).

The pilot episode is from the mega-producers, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, who also produced The Amazing Race. Short interviews include the Singer Castle's President, Tom Weldon, as well as the noted historian Judy Keeler. Larry Foster of Schermerhorn Harbor also is interviewed in the news clip. The news video only runs for 2 minutes, so be sure to check it out by clicking on: YNN News clip.
Second, what follows is a news release and photo received direct from Dark Island filling in more details about what happened behind the scenes during the filming of The Great Escape.


Behind the Scenes:  
 Area Captains Assist in Staging the Great Escape

More than two weeks of concentrated effort went into the staging and production of the pilot for “The Great Escape” at Singer Castle.  Several area businesses and Captains were involved in providing support for both the contestants and the many crew members involved in the production.  We spoke to them to hear of their experiences.

 For several days, Uncle Sam Boat Tours brought crew members to Dark Island from Alexandria Bay along with the meals that were catered by Riley’s by the River.  A spokesperson for Uncle Sam Boat Tours told us that “Uncle Sam Boat Tours, Riley’s by The River and the Thomson family were very happy to assist the entertainment industry in coming to the 1000 Islands and hope that it will bring additional recognition to the area.”

Larry Foster of Schermerhorn Harbor assisted in the transportation of the contestants and camera crews.  The Cedar Grove, which serves as the Singer Castle shuttle during the summer months, was blacked out and used to transport the contestants to Dark Island.  Larry Foster, Bob Foster and Richard Orton assisted the cameramen in the filming of the contestants.  Of the business brought to the area by the production, Larry said “In the fall of the year it was a win-win situation for Schermerhorn Harbor.”

When questioned about his experience, Bob Foster of Chalk’s Marina mentioned that the nights were long but a good experience.  He was amazed by what work was done in so little time and felt that the creativity of the folks involved in the show was amazing.  “The people were excellent.  It was an influx of cash and brought some excitement to the area.   If the show is picked up it will be great advertising for the whole area.  One more for the resume.  I never experienced anything like that before.”  

Richard Orton, also a captain from Schermerhorn Harbor, told us that he had “a real good time” in spite of the long hours which are normal for the television production people.  He was involved because the production company needed an experienced licensed captain and thanks to Schermerhorn Harbor he was an experienced captain.  Of the people he worked with Mr. Orton said, “The people were all nice and polite.  They didn’t ask much of us as long as we were there when they needed us…and they talked to us while we were driving.”

Bob and Larry Foster also commented that “Schermerhorn Harbor and the Foster Family would like to thank the Profiles Television Productions, LLC and their Crews for the experience and the opportunity to work with them. This is an experience we will be talking about for years.”

All in all, the captains we questioned felt that the experience was a positive one and all of them look forward to seeing the pilot when it airs possibly in the next three to nine months.

 Report and picture filed by Jean Papke, administrative assistant to Dark Island's President and General Manager, Tom Weldon.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Singer Castle Mystery Revealed!

Singer Castle photos (above and below) by Ian Coristine (of 1000IslandsPhotoArt.com) showing special lighting for filming. (Copyrighted and used here by his permission). Click on each photo to see them larger. Outstanding photos.

Above: Ron Howard, one of the producers of the show. Some of his crew stayed at the Riveredge Hotel in Alexandria Bay.
Singer Castle on Dark Island of the Thousand Islands recently came alive with the buzzing of helicopters, boats, massive spot lights, and film crews. Residents were perplexed  as Dark Island's tight-lipped crew held this closely guarded secret. Homeland Security was notified in advance so swat teams would not mistakenly come to the rescue.

Top entertainment executives and up to 100 people at a time were on Dark Island over a period of two weeks, but planning had gone on for months. The project was for filming a pilot program for a reality series called The Great Escape. The show should air between 3 to 6 months from now. Stay tuned to this blog, as I will let you know well in advance for the exact show time.

The Thousand Island Sun summed it up nicely:
"The six contestants had flown from California to Syracuse and were driven to the Edgewood Resort blindfolded. They were sequestered at the hotel, without phones, so that they did not know their exact location. Food was brought in to them from local restaurants. Meanwhile, the five story castle underwent many changes with the help of engineers, builders and local workers. ... The contestants had to find their way through various passageways and floors of the castle, solving puzzles along the way. Their challenge even included having to swim underwater through one of the boathouses, which was purposely over-filled with fish."

The Recorder and Times (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) reported that this brought in an estimated $100,000 into the local community, and that does not even include the major upgrades to the castle itself! They report that future tours of the castle will be expanded to even the secret passageways and that the castle gets to keep the props left from the show. The beloved local Boldt Castle was also in the running to host the filming event, but Dark Island won out because of the secret passageways.

[Post Script: After this blog came out last night, this morning I also find an excellent story by the Watertown Times Daily. Be sure to see that article also!]

Singer Castle on Dark Island is surely a destination point you will want to make. Stay posted to this blog for more hot news stories from the 1,000 Islands!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Meet the owner of Singer Castle, Dark Island!

Above, Farhad Vladi co-owner of Singer Castle, Dark Island. Picture courtesy of (and copyrighted by) Vladi Private Islands, (per Kim Lunman). Click on photos to see them larger.

Below, pictured again is co-owner of Singer Castle, Farhad Vladi with the President of Singer Castle, Tom Weldon. Photo courtesy of (and copyrighted by) Vladi Private Islands, per Kim Lunman, photographer and author.

Meet (in a virtual way) the co-owner of Singer Castle, Farhad Vladi, by reading this fabulous article in the online Thousand Islands Life Magazine. (The article first ran in Kim's beautiful print magazine, Island Life). This is a very interesting mini-biography of a successful business man by the award winning writer Kim Lunman, so check it out and enjoy!