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BE resident in TV Soap Opera?

By Staff | Aug 16, 2008

A new soap opera on TV features a Blue Earth resident in a starring role.

Really. I am not making this up.

To be honest, however, the new television soap is not being produced in Hollywood, Calif., but instead is being filmed in Fairmont, Minn.

The drama is entitled ‘As The Corn Grows’ and is aired as a segment on “Our Story” on Charter Cable channel 14.

“To the best of our knowledge, ‘As The Corn Grows’ is the first TV soap opera ever made about rural Minnesota life,” says executive producer Jeff Rouse. “The show has the tongue-in-cheek flavor like that of ‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,’ and the cliff-hanging intrigue of ‘General Hospital.’

It also is very corny, Rouse admits.

“It tells the story of a big city girl who moves to southern Minnesota after inheriting a farm here,” Rouse explains.

The small cast includes Blue Earth banker Dan Mensing who plays Elmer Plow, the county agent.

Other cast members include Kati Powell, Mark Anderson, Denise Rouse and Bonnie Fjelstad, all of Fairmont.

Powell is a new Fairmont resident, having just moved from Los Angeles, Calif.

“Kati is actually our professional actress,” Rouse says. “She was a cast member of ‘General Hospital’ for a while.

Powell’s mother, Martha Scott, portrayed a mother in many movies and TV shows.

“She was Charlton Heston’s mother in both ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben Hur,’ as well as Bob Newhart’s mother on his television show,” Rouse says.

In 1940 her mother was nominated for an Oscar for her role in ‘Our Town.’

He says Kati Powell had a lot of famous stars hanging around her home while she was growing up.

“Her godmother is Peggy Lee, her sister’s godmother is Lucille Ball, and her brother’s godfather is John Wayne,” Rouse notes. “She played a lot with Elizabeth Taylor’s children.

The new soap opera is one of 15 rotating segments on Rouse’s ‘Our Story’ half hour show.

‘Our Story’ is shown once every two hours of the day, all day long. The same show is on for a full week.

Rouse was a salesman on the road when he decided to try his hand at producing a television show. He did it part time for a while until it really took off.

Today ‘Our Story’ is shown on Charter Cable in 35 southern Minnesota communities.

The show includes interviews, local news, music, skits and some funny nonsense, Rouse says.

“Several Blue Earth people have been on the show,” he adds, “Including Shelly Greimann, Rob Hammond and Dennis Zitnak.”

However, Dan Mensing is the first to have snatched up a recurring role.

Mensing says he is having fun portraying the hickish Elmer Plow. Rouse says he picked Mensing because of his great sense of humor, which many people don’t realize is there.

On Sunday of last week the cast and crew was busy filming the funeral of one of the characters in the show.

That’s right, Rouse says, in true soap opera fashion, someone has already been killed off, after only a couple of episodes.

Of course, that is not to say that the character might not return in a future show as a mistaken identity death/amnesia victim.

Stay tuned and find out.