1937 Disaster May Bring Film To East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/18/04 - New London

1937 Disaster May Bring Film To East Texas

For some East Texas students looking at museum photos at The London Museum, pictures are the window into an historic tragedy that happened to students just like them, right across the street. It was at the London High School, 67 years ago today, that a natural gas leak caused an explosion that destroyed the entire school. More than 425 students and school employees were killed, and many more injured. But out of this horrific disaster may come an industry that could draw millions of dollars to the East Texas economy.

Ron Holloman has written a screenplay about the disaster, from an idea born seven years ago: "London, Texas."

"It is a film about Judeo-Christian values and what pulls people through the depths of depression and horrendous loss," Holloman said.

Holloman's childhood friend, Jerry Long, is the president of Mustang Pictures in Longview. Long has partnered up with Angelic Entertainment in San Diego. And together, they're trying to turn the script into a movie. Holloman and Long are fighting to get it shot in East Texas.

"I know that the movie is going to be made, ok," Long said. "We already have investors that are trying daily to get us to release our option on it so they can shoot it in California or Canada."

New London Mayor and Museum Director, Mollie Ward, is a survivor of the disaster. She says the community is already rallying behind the project.

"I think it definitely needs to be here," Ward said. "And not only what I think, it's the people that's coming in here, saying 'Oh, I hear you're going to have a movie. And we sure hope it's made here.'"

"We have four other major projects to follow this," Long said. "And if we can get "London, Texas" done in East Texas, those others will be done here."

If the production team can get the funding needed to make the movie here, it could be the beginning of a new industry in East Texas.

If you're interested in finding out more about the "London, Texas" film project, you can call 903-566-8099.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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