“Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” has been Camden’s motto since before most residents there were born.
But in the summer of 1957, the picturesque midcoast Maine town tweeked its strait-laced image and became “Where the Locals Met Hollywood.”
“Peyton Place,” a big budget 20th Century Fox movie, filmed in CinemaScope, was based on Grace Metalious’ smash 1956 novel about suicide, incest, scandal, murder and moral hypocrisy. Two other New England towns refused permission to shoot the racy story there, but in a bid to boost business, Camden’s town leaders, even a minister, agreed to open their community for filming, said Ardis Cameron, author of a 2015 book about the novel and movie.
“This was a mill town and they needed the money,” said Cameron, who wrote “Unbuttoning America: A Biography of Peyton Place.” “After the movie became a hit, people flocked there to see where it had been filmed. It was never the same.”
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