|Posted by Anne Siren on January 29, 2013 at 12:40 AM|
By Michael d’Oliveira
Pompano Beach – When Patricia Peabody showed up at the Sample-McDougald House Tuesday to give tours she thought the historic house had suffered some kind of calamity. “I thought something horrible has happened to our house,” she said.
Turns out, it was just a little bit of TV magic.
The overgrowth of vines and grime on the walls and columns, known in the industry as “age wash,” were the work of the set decoration team for “The Glades,” a fictional crime drama on A&E that takes place primarily in Broward County. “I didn’t know any of this was going on. But I’m glad I came. This is just wonderful,” said Peabody, who volunteers as a docent at Sample-McDougald.
The Glades,” which premiered in 2010, has filmed in various locations throughout Broward including Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Hallandale. With three seasons under its belt, the temporary transformation of Sample-McDougald is in preparation for the upcoming season four premier. In the episode, detectives go into the house looking for an elderly woman but find her ghost instead. Filming took place Thursday night and ended early Friday morning.
“We’re making it look like more of a haunted house,” said Set Designer Gabby Villarreal on Tuesday. “We’re just trying to make it look like it’s an overgrown plantation. Like it hasn’t been touched in years.”
And Sample-McDougald’s early 20th Century architecture lends itself to the type of work Villarreal does. It makes things easier because it has lot of character and interesting features literally built into it. “It’s always interesting going into a period house. The architecture of the house really helps guide my world,” said Villarreal.
In addition to the run-down look the crew gave the outside, the inside was also made to look decrepit with cobwebs and a paint that made the walls look old and worn-out. “And we’re putting in a little taxidermy to make it look creepy,” said Villarreal. The crew also brought in their own furniture and even made some temporary landscaping additions, including a few dead trees.
But fans of the historic home, built in 1916 by Albert Neal Sample on Dixie Highway and moved to its current location at 450 NE 10 St. in 2001, need not worry about what happens now that filming is over.
Lee Waldo, director of operations for Sample-McDougald, said everything will be restored just as it was before.
“It’s more invasive than you can ever imagine. And when it’s over everything is going to be okay,” said Waldo, who has rented out her own home for film crews in the past. And as The Pelican interviewed Waldo she was keeping a watchful eye on the set decorators, making sure they didn’t damage the house.
But while this is the house’s biggest ever role in show business, it isn’t the first time its been in front of a camera. Waldo said a Kodak commercial was filmed here sometime in the 60s and a bank from the Carolinas filmed a commercial on the porch last April. “We though it was funny that they were shooting a commercial in Florida for a southern exterior,” said Waldo.
But Sample-McDougald’s architecture, very rare in an area that has bulldozed much of its history, attracts those looking for something different.
Dan Hobby, executive director of the Sample-McDougald House Preservation Society, said the house is uniquely situated for those looking for something special – whether it be for a wedding or a TV show seen nationally by three million viewers each week. “Well, certainly anybody would realize the distinct character and historical nature of the house lends itself to that atmosphere,” said Hobby.
And as a private organization, the preservation society is always looking for ways of raising money. Hobby said the contract prohibits him from disclosing the amount of money A&E paid to film but said the funds would go towards maintenance and preservation.
“Every contribution or funds raised helps the house out. But, as with any non-profit, you can’t rely on one element to fund the organization,” he said. The house is also sustained through private rentals for weddings, lunches, community events and membership fees.
As for the question of whether or not Sample-McDougald has ever had any real hauntings, Waldo said she’s never heard of any stories of ghosts or spirits hanging around before. “But after this it may be a more interesting tale,” she said.