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Tom Brosnahan's Stardom

Tom Brosnahan (T-15) shared this story about his work with the Turkish Ministry of Tourism.  Tom, many of you know, went on to a career as a travel writer for Berlitz, Frommer's and Lonely Planet, starting, of course, with Turkey.  His website is http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/about/AboutTB.html,

In the story below, we're trying to figure out who the couple is that appears in the Turkish movie on tourism.  Let us know if you know who they are.

1968 the Ministry of Tourism contacted me, living in Istanbul, and asked if I was interested and available to act as a foreign tourist in an educational movie they were making to be entitled "Bir Fincan Kahve: Turiste Nasıl Davranalım?" (A Cup of Coffee: How Shall We Behave Toward the Tourist?) Because I was then embarked on writing "Turkey on $5 a Day" for the Ministry, they presumed (rightly) that my schedule was not rigid, and that I might be available. I was. I thought it would be interesting and I'd get to see aspects of Turkey I would not otherwise see. It was. They asked me to find a "co-star," and she had to be blonde. I didn't succeed at this, but they found a young lady named Lynn Nordstrom in Ankara, daughter of some American contractors living and working there, who was also available. The whole movie thing is described in my memoir "Turkey: Bright Sun, Strong Tea," in Chapter 8: Stardom! (An ironic title, for sure.)

We ran around in two minivans with the camera crew and director making the 25-minute, 16-mm movie, which was to be shown in tea houses and cinemas (no TV in Turkey then, you'll remember) to educate the Turkish public to the coming wave of tourists and how they should be treated. Lynn and I were "The Farmers," a foreign tourist couple of indeterminate nationality come to tour Turkey. We had various adventures (good restaurant, bad restaurant, car breakdown, Tourist Office, Meeting the People, etc.) and after returning home we sent a letter of thanks to a particularly helpful Tourist Office director. The letter, revealed near the beginning of the movie, provides the narrative for the flashbacks chronicling our adventures.

The film opens in Marmaris—the Marmaris of 1968, with a waterfront of fishing boats and nets, not tourism (if you can imagine). Two tourists saunter along, ask a local for the Tourist Office. He pantomimes that he can't speak English and doesn't understand them. A boy, fishing off the dock, hears the exchange, comes running, and translates, thus demonstrating how to help tourists. This tourist couple is a pair of PCVs whose names I have forgotten, who just happened to be in Marmaris at the time, and who are, unfortunately, not included in the credits (Lynn and I are the only non-Turks credited as actors).

I have a 16mm reel of the film, and I had it transferred to DVD. It's jaw-dropping to look back on the Turkey in which we all first arrived....

Cheers, Tom

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