Short History of Trifecta Productions: "Favorite Feud" and 40's Fourth Avenue Christmas

Updated 5 years ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor

Founded in 2007, a little after the Warner Bros shoot of "We Are Marshall," which utilized Huntington's Keith Albee, Trifecta has promoted a positive film image for Huntington and West Virginia. Just one of their local project was to restore the Keith Albee sign following damage in a storm. However, Huntington's Keith has a "sister" in Flushing, N.Y. Without the coming together of Huntington residents and the care of the Hyman family, Huntington's theater could have easily become like the one in Flushing, where only restoration of the lobby area is possible.

Instead, the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center has continued to resonate the centerpiece of Huntington's Fourth Avenue.

"Hatfields & McCoys: America's Feud" re-airs Christmas Day at 12 noon on The History Channel. The documentary included a two day re-enactment shoot at Heritage Farm. Back in June, Joe Murphy and Jack Reynolds told of the filming on WTCR Radio to morning host, Clint McElroy.

During  a recent interview with Murphy, he praised the work of director Mark Cowen. In the early 1980's, Cowen he helped to define the marketing genre of behind-the-scenes "making of" documentaries and Electronic Press Kits, which are still widely used in motion picture publicity campaigns. Film titles Cowen worked to shape campaigns for were "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," the "Back to the Future" trilogy, "Patriot Games", and "Empire of The Sun".

His most recent works were "Band of Brothers: We Stand Alone Together" and "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D."

Keith Albee sign
Keith Albee sign
(c) 2012 Glen Berry

In a June 2012 interview , Cowen told the Herald Dispatch, "it was my job to try and fill in the spots where there may still be questions and maybe fill it out more for people who watched the miniseries."

However, as Murphy explained to HNN, there were few old photos, maps and other artifacts remaining. Producer Darrell Fetty had convinced History to balance the dramatic production alongside a documentary by talking to scholars concerning the feud and , in turn, how it created and still impacted Appalachia.

"I was given the task from a documentary standpoint of trying to come up with the story that at least gives balance to both the Hatfields and the McCoys by talking to the scholars with different opinions," Cowen told the Herald Dispatch. "Darrell set out with this to say there is two stories to this and if we don't tell two stories we've failed. So we tried to reach out to as many scholars and descendants and authors as we could."

Scrapping from a tiny budget, Murphy assembled re-enactors, horse and weapons experts, and wardrobes ranging from those of pioneer era seamstresses, such as Jo Patterson, who made dresses for the two day shoot, to wardrobe contributions from the Marshall University Theatre Department and Western Virginia Military Academy .

Cowen, who died in September 2012, recalled in the HD interview that the production company blew him away with its expertise in assembling Hollywood level resources quickly and economically.

"As a director you ask for something and hope that gets done but this, this is just classic Joe Murphy," Cowen said. "He has the No. 1 thing you asked for then has two or three just in case you need it. That was at every turn. I needed five extras he said 'here's 10 that you can pick from.' I asked for one horse we get eight. That was unexpected."

Trifecta Productions recently assembled a period late 1940's shoot on Huntington's Fourth Avenue for the Convention and Visitor's Bureau.




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