Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, November 8, 2001.

Mike Robe of Hollywood (also Ark City) Visits.

Director/Writer here at Arkalalah time.

By JERRY BUXTON, Managing Editor.

[PHOTO OF ROBE By Donita Clausen/Traveler]


Talking (about) movies!

Mike Robe, movie director and scenario scripter, visits with Traveler Managing Editor Jerry Buxton (not pictured) on a recent Tuesday at The Traveler.


Mike Robe, filmmaker, script writer and Ark City native, was home for a few days during Arkalalah 2001, and thoroughly enjoyed the break from the L. A. place.

Robe, a 1962 graduate of Ark City High School, has made many movies for television and written many of them (scripts or screenplays) as well. In February, NBC-TV aired “The Princess and the Marine,” directed and written by Robe, and in August, Lifetime televised “Within These Walls,” another Robe work.

Robe, who lives in Studio City, Calif., is now working on a movie to be shown on the USA Cable Network, “Stranger in Paradise.” Robe will both write and direct the film, based on about four pages of original material, an idea, an outline, by Robert B. Parker, author of the famed series of detective novels about “Spenser for Hire.”

Parker, along with fellow famed novelists David Balducci and Ken Follett, has a deal with USA for each of the three to create, not a book, but an idea for a movie on a “Mystery Wheel of Movies” in 2002 on USA, Robe said.

“My writing hat is on (my head) now,” Robe said in The Traveler office a few days after Arkalalah 2001 ended.

He had a great time at Arkalalah, Robe said. He also visited Lawrence and the University of Kansas, his alma mater. He is a founding member of the advisory board at KU for the Department of Professional Theater and Film. He considers Ark City and Lawrence his two “Kansas homes and connections,” and reads The Traveler and The Lawrence Daily Journal-World every day on their Web sites while in California, he said.

He was invited to Arkalalah by an old friend from Ark City who also now lives in California, Susan (Cosby) Wilson of Mission Viejo. She is “Class of ‘61.” He came down from Lawrence for Saturday’s Big Parade and the Class of ‘61 Reunion.

Robe has one brother, Chris, an attorney in Wichita, who graduated from ACHS in 1965. Their father, Lyle, died about five years ago and their mother, Marcalee, died just a few months ago.

“Mom kept every Traveler write-up, of football, grade cards, etc.,” about him and Chris, Robe said. With her passing, “I’m losing my connection to Ark City. . . . Now the house won’t be here,” he said, in reference to the impending sale of the family home.

“But my spiritual connection will always be here. It was great to see so many friends over the weekend, friends from my era. It cements the connection and keeps you clear on who and why you are. It was good for my spirits and morale.”

When he directed (and wrote the screenplay for) “Return to Lonesome Dove,” 10 years or so ago, cast member Reese Witherspoon was very young and has come a long way since in her career (“Legally Blonde,” “Election,” “Pleasantville,” etc.).

The late Oliver Reed was also in RTLD, as were Jon Voight and Barbara Hershey. It was shot in Montana. When Robe made “Murder Ordained,” a four-hour mini-series for CBS-TV that aired in early 1987, it was all shot in Emporia, and the cast and production company “spent about $5 million there,” Robe said.

“Murder Ordained” was the true story of the Rev. Thomas Bird and Lorna Anderson and allegations that they had murdered their spouses to be together, and it was wonderful, according to both the public and critics.

Hollywood and other parts of America are trying to keep high financing costs in the U.S. from forcing movies to be made in Canada or other non-U.S. venues. Anti-run-away production legislation has been introduced in Washington by U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

“Scott Turow’s “Burden of Proof” was another Robe film shot in Kansas City, Kan. “We left $12 million (spent) there,” he said. But Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and other sites are getting some of the “movie breaks” now, because it’s cheaper to film there.

We will be “watching for” “Stranger in Paradise” next year.

[Note: I wrote article just as the Traveler printed it. Question: Scott Turow? I thought his name was “Turlow.” MAW]

P. S. Ad in today’s Traveler (Saturday, November 10, 2001):


November 15, 16 & 17

9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

1615 E. 20th Ave.

Winfield, Kansas

Proudly presented by Remarkable Estate Sales, Inc.

Sunday, November 11, 2001

Dear Bill,

Enjoyed the meeting yesterday. Small group. Much talk. Program given by Mrs. Kendrick, local lady who loves buttons, and expressed her appreciation for the fine work Kay did in telling about the button factory that existed here in the 20s. Very knowledgeable about the early history of the button factory and the product they produced from shells gathered in the Walnut. Industry was destroyed by oil activities.

Bea DeVore in charge locally of a group that wants to tell the story about early cattlemen [Cowley and Chautauqua and counties in Oklahoma]. They are think about producing a 30-minute video to tell stories of some of the early people involved in cattlemen associations, or so she said. I soon found out in talking to her at meeting that she really does not know what she is trying to get the society involved in. This idea started mainly with Oklahoma people, who want to tell the story about themselves and their ancestors, and I got the drift that they do not aim to go back to the very infancy of the movement. Anyway, about $500 is required for a 30-minute video produced by the local outfit that is not very whippy. They are going to put Bobby Jack Walker, our president, who went east this weekend to Branson and was not there, to work with a committee to come up with something. Sounds like it will be a shambles. Someone told me that I should be on committee and I told them I am too busy. But! I probably will in order to head off a complete mockery of project or get it on solid ground with the very early beginnings.

Talked to Larry Rhodes. Sure enough, he has had another death in the family and a member of his family had their car totaled by a deer.

Larry told me he had nothing to do with Dockson 1885 Directory of Winfield. There are a lot of pages missing. Should I go ahead with what I have?

The following pages are missing from data you sent to me:

Pages 14 and 15.

Page 40.

Pages 65 through 74.

Could it be that what the Winfield Museum has is the data you sent to me. If so, you can see that it is missing a lot of data.


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