2006-08-24 / News

History Channel premiers '38 hurricane story

Several Jamestown residents served as extras when Towers Productions came to the island last summer to film their production of "Nature's Fury: New England's Killer Hurricane," which will debut on the History Channel on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 8 p.m.

The program will recount the drama of that fateful day in 1938 with personal stories from those who survived the storm.

Those actors from Jamestown who helped to make the production include Patty Vandal, Carol, John and Madi Baldwin, Johnna Jamieson, Eric Bieler, Jonathan Knudsen, Kathy and Clarke Westall, Kathy and Sydney Pazera, Jenna Regan, Hannah Cordes, Steve and Michael Liebhauser, Bonnie Jamison, Kathleen and Madi Brown, Dan and Mike Harpool, Garrett Reis, Rebecca Brazil, Cathryn Jamieson, Jim Munro, Tot Wright, Bill Murphy, and Durga, Michael, Dana, and Talley Larkin Jane Bentley was also interviewed in the film, and Sonya Bieler was the production coordinator.

Among those interviewed is legendary actress Katharine Hepburn, who, at age 31, had just returned to her family's estate in Fenwick, Conn., to ponder her future after several box office flops. It was Sept. 21, 1938, and the Hepburn home stood right in the hurricane's path. As the storm hit, with their home coming down around them, Hepburn and her family were forced to evacuate. When they returned to their estate the next day, it was nothing more than rubble.

The program takes viewers to the blue-collar fishing community of Jamestown, where school bus driver Norman Caswell was picking up his students. The storm made his usual route impassible, and he found himself stranded on a one-lane road with water on either side.

In a gripping recreation, New England's Killer Hurricane will retrace Caswell and the children's fateful journey. Believing that remaining on the bus would be unsafe, he led the children into the rising waters. It was a decision he would later regret. Seven of the eight students did not survive. The tragedy changed the formerly easygoing Caswell for the rest of his life.

The program will also air Wednesday, Aug. 30, at 8 p.m. on the History Channel.

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