In 1960, the film version of Splendor In The Grass, which was based on the original novel by William Inge, was released. Set in Depression-era rural Kansas, it told the story of two high school students, Wilma Dean Loomis and Bud Stamper, who fall in love. Upon its release, the film was described by the New York Times as “frank and ferocious social drama that makes the eyes pop and the modest cheek burn”, and the film received several award nominations as well as an Academy Award for its script.
And it was shot right here, in Brookhaven Town.
The August 11, 1960 issue of the Patchogue Advance, tongue firmly in cheek, reports that “overnight” an “oilfield” materialized on the property of Sullivan Gallo of East Patchogue. Selected because of its resemblance in the eyes of the assistant producer to rural Kansas, the property played host to, according to the paper, “some 65 persons” over the course of one week while shooting was completed.
Interestingly enough, the reported heat and humidity apparently did not stop the filmmakers from filming an incongruous Thanksgiving scene in the southwest corner of the living room, with Natalie Wood dressed in what must have been torturous woolens and even a bearskin rug at one point in the scene.
The Patchogue Hotel, located at East Main Street and Maple Avenue, also played host to the entire cast and crew during the shoot.
The second part of the article also shows several photos taken during the shoot, including one of actress Barbara Loden’s hair being made up, upon which the author of the article comments that although the dresses worn by the actresses in the film are meant to reflect rural Kansas in the Depression era, the “girls still managed to look quite fetching”.