Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Have you seen the movie Somewhere in Time? One of the greatest love stories of all time, this romantic fantasy was filmed right here on Mackinac Island. I told you it was magical here.
Filmed in 1979 at the Grand Hotel and released in 1980 the movie stars Christopher Reeve as modern day playwright, Richard Collier, a guest of the Grand Hotel. While there he becomes obsessed with a vintage photograph of an early 20th century actress who was performing on the Island. This is Elise McKenna who is played by Jane Seymour. As Colliers obsession with the photo grows, he discovers how to travel back through time to 1912, and meets the actress only to be thwarted by her stage manager played by Christopher Plummer.
The movie has become a popular cult classic. Every year the Grand Hotel hosts a sold out, Somewhere in Time Weekend. During the weekend, guests are encouraged to dress in clothing reminiscent of the movie and everywhere you turn there are women in lacy, high-necked dresses and men in three-piece suits with neckties and bowler hats. Guests are treated to behind-the-scenes stories by people who were involved in the actual production of the movie. If you have been to any of these weekends, hosted since 1991, you've likely heard the stories about the supposed romance between Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. But there is one story you may not have heard.
My husband and his father, Tom Wisner, had the privilege of meeting Jane Seymour at a fishing tournament in the Florida Keys back in 2001. Seymour, an avid sport fisherman and passionate artist, was attending the tournament and also selling many of her watercolor paintings to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. David and Tom, being longtime fans, and charmed by her paintings, purchased three, which gave them the opportunity to meet Ms. Seymour at an artist reception later that evening. Pictures from that night and of Jane's art are below. By the way - doesn't my husband just get more and more handsome the older he gets? I mean, who does that anyway?
“When we got to the reception, there was Jane, just this itty-bitty thing, standing in a corner all by herself,” David said. “It seemed like people were afraid to talk to her. So, me, being the shy person I am, just had to go up and introduce ourselves. I told her we were from Michigan and the first question I asked was what was the best part of doing Somewhere in Time up on the Island? She got a huge smile on her face, and said, ‘that is an easy question to answer. It was Chris.’"
Jane went on to tell the boys that she had been teamed up that day with General Norman Schwarzkopf in the tournament and he had confided in her that Somewhere in Time was his favorite love story of all time.
She then took a step closer to David and looked up at him, straight into his eyes. “Do you want to know why that was such a great love story,” she asked. “Because it was real.”
David turned into a giant goose bump. Chills ran up his spine. She was only inches away from him, looking right into his eyes and declaring her love - for Christopher Reeves. It was pretty much still a secret in 2001 that they had been involved and David could hardly contain his excitement. Here was confirmation of all the rumors he had heard over the years. She and Christopher Reeves had fallen in love on Mackinac Island. This was coming straight from her. Not rumors. Not conjecture. From her mouth to David’s ears.
“In fact to this day, he is still my best friend in the whole world,” Ms. Seymour went on to say. “And it’s a good thing our spouses have always understood the nature of our relationship.”
So, there you have it. Seymour and Reeve were actually in love during the filming of the movie. And it was that passion that caused the movie to become such a cult classic.
I usually connect my stories to food, but don't have any recipes from 1912 that I've tried and tested. Instead, I've included some copies of old menus from The Grand Hotel so that you might imagine what they would have been enjoying at that time in history. Also, with the new owners things have changed a bit in the entrance and now the lobby hosts a special spot for Somewhere In Time artifacts. These pictures are also below. I also tried to get a picture of myself standing in front of the famed room 117, but that room now appears to be a storage closet. What a bummer!
What’s your favorite line from the movie? How many times have you seen it?
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