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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Red Rock Dam - A (Not Very) Frightening Place

I have lived here in Newton, Iowa for just over two years now, and only recently realized that I am living a mere half hour away from the sight of one of my childhood's worst nightmares: the Red Rock Dam.

I know.  It doesn't look all that frightening.  It's a rolled earth embankment with a concrete gravity control, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1960 - 1969). An expansion is planned to add a hydroelectric power station (to be operational by 2018).  But this was the very place where Russel S. Doughten filmed significant portions of his film A Thief in the Night (1972) and its sequel A Distant Thunder (1978). And when I was a child, I was terrified by those movies.  This is where Jerry (with those marvelous sideburns) chased Patty and threw her over the edge.

My wife and I (and our dog) took a drive there this morning.  We hiked along the trails, watched families riding on bicycles, saw people fishing and boating.  We ate a picnic lunch along the river bank.You'd hardly know that this place was so spooky.

A Thief in the Night (1972) from James Alvin Sablan Sr. on Vimeo.

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