Gov. Gerald L. Baliles went to the capital of movieland on Wednesday to promote the idea behind a slogan that's a bit unnerving at first: "Virginia Ought to Be Shot." Shot by movie cameras, that is.
Baliles attended a reception to which many of Hollywood's foremost practitioners were invited. The trip and the reception were sponsored by the Virginia Film Office, which has assisted in filming 20 movies in Virginia in the past six years, bringing $16 million directly into the state's economy.
Currently, one film is being shot in Virginia: Francis Ford Coppola's "Gardens of Stone" in Arlington. Shooting for the film, starring James Caan, Angelica Huston and James Earl Jones, will be concluded next month.
Several movies have been made in Virginia recently, including television specials on the lives of George Washington, John F. Kennedy and western pathfinder and adventurer John C. Fremont, whose film persona was hyped far beyond the history books. In the Kennedy film, Richmond stood in as the location for Washington.
Baliles was introduced by Earl Hamner, a native Virginian who did "The Waltons," a sensitive view of Virginia country life of a half century ago, and is involved in "Falcon Crest," a soap-opera caricature of life in California's Napa Valley wine country. I was in the Napa Valley last Sunday, and the locals consider "Falcon Crest" as something between a joke and an embarrassment. Displaced Washingtonians
On my quick trip west, chiefly on personal business, I was startled at how many people there come from here (the reverse of my being here and coming from there).
At the Golden Gate National Recreational Area visitor center next to the San Francisco Cliff House, a uniformed National Park Service attendant said she came from Chevy Chase.
When I used my driver's license for a credit ID, a sales clerk at a Silicon Valley department store almost shrieked in exclamation on seeing it was from Virginia with an Arlington address. "I'm from McLean," she said.
A lawyer with whom I dealt said he had worked in the Pentagon general counsel's office and lived in North Arlington, and his son lives with his wife near Dupont Circle where "they rarely take the car out of the garage because Metro is so convenient."
And finally, I paid several visits to a neat restaurant and refreshment emporium in Palo Alto called Waverley Place. It turned out that a partner and comanager of the place is Beth Beatley Trainer, daughter of former Alexandria mayor Charles Beatley, an acquaintance for two decades. Small world. State of Confusion
A reader offers an anecdote stemming from Metro's current policy of announcing when its trains cross the line from one major political jurisdiction to another in the Washington area.
"On a recent Sunday afternoon," the reader writes, "I was riding an Orange Line train to Virginia. When we reached the Rosslyn station in Arlington , the operator announced: 'We are now entering the Rosslyn station the first stop in the District of -- I mean, in the state of Maryland.' "