Former Twins pitcher finds a new career in the movies
Former Twins pitcher Scott Erickson has a new career: film producer. This weekend his company's first movie "A Plumm Summer" opens in the Twin Cities.
It's a children's movie based on a true story from the 1960's about the kidnapping of Montana's biggest child TV star - a puppet named Froggy-Doo.
St. Paul, Minn. — Scott Erickson threw the first no-hitter at the Metrodome and pitched on the Twins team that won the 1991 World Series. He went on to play with the Orioles, the Mets, the Rangers, the Dodgers and, finally, the New York Yankees. Then in June 2006 he played his final game.
"And I basically left Yankee Stadium, flew out to Montana right onto the set and threw on a headset," Erickson said. "And it was perfect timing, in a sense, that my baseball career ended and my moviemaking career started basically within a week of each other."
Not that it was a spur of the moment decision. Erickson's wife Lisa Guerrero was a driving force behind the move. A former sideline reporter for Monday Night Football, who had also worked as an actress and a model, she was eager to act and produce in independent movies. It was Guerrero who first heard about the film.
The film is about a family called the Plumms who are living in Montana in 1968.
"I actually auditioned for 'A Plumm Summer' and the film ended up having financial problems, so Scott and I formed a production company, we stepped in and Scott ended up funding the film," Guerrero said.
Guerrero said A Plumm Summer is based on a true story.
"There was a very popular children's talkshow host by the name of Happy Herb, that's who Henry Winkler plays, and he had a sidekick, a frog puppet by the name of Froggy-Doo," she said.
"One day Froggy-Doo got kidnapped and held for ransom. And because extortion is a federal crime, the FBI sent a team of FBI agents from New York to this small town in Montana to try to find this missing Froggy-Doo. So I play the mom of two little boys who go head to head with the FBI, so that they can find Froggy-Doo first and earn the reward money and save the family's home."
Guerrero said the story is told simply, without a single special effect. While there is an element of silliness about the story, there are some serious issues. The Plumm family may lose its home, because the father, played by William Baldwin, is more interested in drinking than paying the bills.
Erickson said they tried to deal with the situation in a family friendly way.
"Yeah, this is a project that Billy Baldwin said he can finally take his kids to. He's been in the business for twenty-something years and he's finally done something he can have his kids watch," Erickson said.
Erickson and Guerrero have done their homework. She said while research shows there is a demand for family films, and they always do well, particularly on DVD, these are not the films coming out of Hollywood. She points to the Oscars as proof.
"The films that were nominated this year for best picture were all very dark," she said. "I mean the 'feel good' picture was about a 16-year-old who got knocked up!"
Guerrero said "A Plumm Summer" is an attempt to get back to the Disney films she used to watch as a youngster.
It's is being released this weekend in four markets: the Twin Cities, Los Angeles, Birmingham, AL and Montana. They are hoping that a strong first weekend and good word-of-mouth will lead to a nationwide release. The movie will then come out on DVD in the fall.
Erickson said if all goes well, that'll be just the beginning.
"We're hoping that this does well enough to come out with a sequel to this movie, 'A Plumm Summer Adventure,' possibly, or possibly a trilogy if everything goes really well," he said.
They are also working on other film scripts and a couple of sitcoms. Scott Erickson said he's looking at a whole new career.
"I spent 17 years playing baseball, and now we are looking for another 17 years of moviemaking, if we can do it. That would be fantastic," he said.
"A Plumm Summer" will screen at seven theaters around the Twin Cities.
- All Things Considered, 04/25/2008, 5:55 p.m.