Made in USA

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"Made in USA" was a movie starring Christopher Penn created in 1987 and is best known for its footage of "transitional" Centralia. In the first 15 or so minutes, there are striking views of many boarded up houses and other buildings, and includes shots of many of the town landmarks prior to their demolition. It is perhaps one of the best visual records of the town as it was being evacuated.

The movie itself makes some references to what is going on in Centralia, but not all of it is necessarily factual. An example being the movie dialog's vocalized reason for the town's state: "Fire started in the dump." ... "It was Good Friday so no one would leave church to put the thing out; figured they'd do it the next day..." This statement of complete irresponsibility is not correct nor particularly appropriate of the hard-working, industrious citizens of the coal region.

The box description is: "Two coalminer sons who have given up on their town, their families and the way of life they once knew, set their sights on California. Along the way they pick up Annie, a wild young thing who kicks things into high gear and turns their joyride into a crazy interstate crimewave."

This movie is currently only available on VHS and for a time the Comcast On Demand "Free Movies" service. There is no existing nor known planned release for a DVD.


The S.T.S. Bus

The S.T.S. bus as seen in "Made in USA"

An interesting sight in the movie is the main duo boarding a bus in Centralia with the marking "S.T.S." on the side, bound for Mt. Carmel and Shamokin. The transportation company initials "S.T.S." stand for Schuylkill Transportation System, a real-life and still currently operating transit company in and around the coal region of Pennsylvania. On Sunday 7 Nov 2010, I wrote to the provided email contact to verify whether this routing ever existed, and one Joan M. Breslin kindly and promptly responded Monday morning:


Hello Robert,


Thank you for your interest in the Schuylkill Transportation System.


According to our Vice President of Transportation (who has been here close to thirty years) …Yes – the STS bus was actually “used” in the filming of this movie, but there was not any route at the time which ran to either Mt. Carmel or Shamokin.


Hope this satisfies your curiosity.


Sincerely,


Joan M. Breslin

Marketing and Service Support Coordinator


Gallery

Screenshots from the beginning of the movie showing some of the interesting sights that the filmmakers managed to capture.

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