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Geneva Lake premier just 'Around the Corner'



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January 21, 2014 | 01:56 PM
Fame is reportedly parceled out in 15-minute lots.

Geneva Lake will get 30 minutes of celebrity treatment in an episode of the Wisconsin Public Television Network show Around the Corner with John McGivern.

A preview of the Around the Corner episode got its local premier Sunday in Lake Geneva at Horticultural Hall, where nearly 200 people showed up to see it.

Mike Brever, MPTV development manager, said the public station has had premiers for all of its Around the Corner communities.

“This is one of the best turnouts we ever had,” Brever said.

McGivern and the Around the Corner crew were here in June.

McGivern, a Milwaukee-born actor who has become a public broadcasting regular, was there along with John Gurda, a Milwaukee historian, who also appears on the show.

Joining them was Around the Corner’s producer, Lois Mauer.

Among those who came to the premier were Lake Geneva Mayor Jim Connors, Alderwoman Sarah Hill, Darien Shaefer, president of the Geneva Lake Area Chamber of Commerce; Kyle Cudworth, former director of Yerkes Observatory; Jim Gee, Yerkes director; Tom Hartz, owner of Simple restaurant; and Kevin Fleming, owner of Fleming’s Ltd. Irish imports.

Hartz and Fleming celebrated the permier wearing tuxedos — with tennis shoes.

During the 30-minute episode, Gurda made a brief appearance, extolling Lake Geneva’s bike paths and the walking path that encircles Geneva Lake. Gurda also said Geneva Lake is named after a town in the state of New York, not the giant lake in Switzerland.

Waterfront views of some of the lake’s largest homes were featured, along with some little-known trivia. For example, Stone Manor’s official name is Youngsland, named after the mansion’s original owner, Otto Young.

McGivern couldn’t pass up the mailboat tour and kibitzing with the mail jumpers (including a quick cut scene, where he yelled after a jumper “Hey, get me a diet Coke.”)

He experimented with paddleboarding, although he stayed on dry land.

In Williams Bay, McGivern made a stop at Yerkes Observatory, where he got to peek through the giant refractor’s eyepiece. In Fontana, he talked with a couple who extolled the community’s school and ambience. McGivern spent time with Olympic and America’s Cup boat racing legend Buddy Melges at his boat building company in Zenda. Melges made it very clear that a Melges racing scow may be purchased in any color, as long as it’s gray.

McGivern then visited the Baker House in Lake Geneva, where he was served tea with his choice of hats.

After the showing, McGivern, Gurda and Mauer talked about what it takes to make a 30-minute (actually, 29 minutes, 16 seconds) episode of Around the Corner

The episodes are filmed from May to October. The crew is 15 people, including McGivern and Gurda, Mauer said. And to get about 30 minutes of absolutely superb video, they spend eight to 10 hours a day over five days just filming.

But she admitted it was fun.

Much of the filming is in doing retakes, because in the earlier takes “we laugh so much, we can’t use it in the show,” she said.

Someone in the audience asked what surprised them the most about the Geneva Lake area.

Mauer said she didn’t know that Buddy Melges lived in Zenda, and was charmed by him.

Gurda said he was impressed with the quality of Geneva Lake.

“The lake is intensively used,” he said. “It’s amazing how pristine the lake water is. That’s a credit to everyone living here.”

McGivern said he was impressed with how liveable the area is.

“I knew this was a tourist destination,” he said. “But I was impressed with how ‘hometown’ it felt.”

Mauer said MPTV picked up the series for a fourth season.

McGivern said he hopes the series runs for 10 years.

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