Oliver Springs remembers being site of film "October Sky"

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OLIVER SPRINGS, Tenn. (WVLT) -- One East Tennessee town has a connection to space, and it's not Oak Ridge. At least it is a connection through movies.

Parts of October Sky were filmed in Oliver Springs

Downtown Oliver Springs is quiet, but 20 years ago that wasn't the case.

Hollywood came to town and set up shop.

"We pay homage to that, to the movie and just the whole space era," said Robbie Underwood, who was born and raised in Oliver Springs.

He was excited when film crews came to town to shoot "October Sky."

He explained, "All this downtown served as a backdrop for the movie."

Oliver Springs mirrored Coalwood, West Virginia, the setting for the book "Rocket Boys."

A story of inspiration, it's about four teenagers who became enamored with the space race after the launch of Russia's Sputnik.

You can still see some of the props, even pictures of the original Rocket Boys in a memorabilia window in downtown.

Some people in town played extras, like now 82-year-old Mimi Brock.

"It was so much fun. The town came alive," said Brock.

For 20 days she was a part of the shoots at five different locations.
Even though she had already retired from teaching, space exploration still fascinated her.

"It's a very important part of our lives," said Brock.

Underwood said the Space Race and the movie shot in the small downtown are still apart of his life.

"I'm a child of the Space Age," explained Underwood, "I just see the way the state of the technology has progressed and then I think back to how we got here. It's huge."

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