‘Man with a Plan’ To Air on PBS For Film’s 20th

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Front Page / Mar. 16, 2017 9:01am EDT


Fred Tuttle, star of “Man with a Plan,” and director John O’Brien smile for the camera to promote the film. (Photo by Jack Rowell) Fred Tuttle, star of “Man with a Plan,” and director John O’Brien smile for the camera to promote the film. (Photo by Jack Rowell) Vermont Public Television is resurrecting the entire three-movie “Tunbridge Trilogy” for broadcast next week, including the central film “Man With a Plan.”

All three movies in the Trilogy were created by John O’Brien of Tunbridge and were set in Tunbridge and Chelsea with many area residents in roles large and small. The movies became a big hit in Vermont and elsewhere.

On PBS, “Vermont is for Lovers” will play on March 22. “Man with a Plan” will play March 29, and “Nosey Parker” on April 5. All the showings will be at 9 p.m.

Although all the films were well-received, “Man With a Plan” acquired a life of its own. Its star, the late Tunbridge dairyman Fred Tuttle, decides in the film on a whim to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I’ve spent all my life in the barn, and now I want some time in the House,” he explains.

The movie became so popular that when O’Brien convinced him actually to run for the U.S. Senate, he won the nomination over a wealthy businessman, Jack McMullen.

The highlight of the campaign may have been a television debate, when McMullen famously was unable to tell the number of teats on a cow.

Tuttle eventually endorsed his opponent, incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy.

A photo of Tuttle by Peter Miller was eventually placed on permanent display in the Vermont Capitol.

“Vermont Is for Lovers,” the first in O’Brien’s trio of films, made in 1992, follows a newly-engaged New York City couple who come to Vermont.

“Nosy Parker,” released in 2003, stars George Lyford of Chelsea and a professional actress from New York City, Natalie Picoe.

All of the films immerse the viewer in the beautiful, intimate scenery of the First Branch, making Central Vermont people feel immediately at home.

All of them, also, were shot without a prepared script. The actors were given situations and suggestions and made up their own lines as they went along.

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