The movie poster for Myth of Fingerprints

BETHEL — It was April and a director and crew were trying to find ice and snow, former Chamber of Commerce Director Robin Zinchuk said. The Maine Film Office pointed them toward Bethel.

“I have never had anyone in 21 years say they liked the movie,” said Andover Library Director Janet Farrington. “[Ironically] It’s also the one [DVD] I’ve had to replace the most.”

Assistant Library Director Wendy Hutchins’ said,  “They used a cabin up by Moose Pond. (Actor) Noah Wyle was all the rage at the time because he was in (the TV series) ER … (but) it wasn’t the most wonderful movie.”

“The Myth of Fingerprints,” the 1997 movie filmed in the Bethel area, is about three adult children and two of their partners who meet at their family homestead in Maine for the Thanksgiving holiday. Despite the star-studded cast of Blythe Danner, Julianne Moore, Roy Scheider and Noah Wyle — the movie was a dud.

Two of Zinchuk’s boys, now grown, are in the blurry intro of the movie. They are meant to represent the grown brothers at a birthday party.



While the movie is drab, it’s fun to watch, because scenes show backgrounds of Andover and Bethel. It is one of three movies that have been filmed in the Bethel area.

The movie opens with a scene at Gould Academy. Laura M. Piawlock wrote to say, “I was an extra for the scene taken at Gould Academy track field. My friends and I sat in the bleachers as parents watching their kids practice. We talked and laughed. I don’t even know if we made the final cut and it doesn’t matter. I was in Bethel and in a movie!”

A snowy Andover Common is the pretty background for a conversation between “Mia” played by Julianne Moore and her friend from kindergarten. Songo Pond in Albany Township is where actor Wyle, playing “Warren,” has a heart-to-heart with his girlfriend.

Most of the interior scenes of the family are filmed in various bedrooms (there are lots of bedroom scenes) and common rooms of the Merrill-Poor House in Andover.

One of the scenes between Wyle and “Jake,” played by Michael Vartan, are on a street with 19th century homes in the background. It could be Broad Street in Bethel, but it’s hard to tell.

The train scenes were filmed in North Conway, New Hampshire. Jane Chandler of Woodstock wrote to say that they thought it would be a nice family activity to be extras in the movie. Her children were in high school at the time.

“Jeff and Becky were slated to act as college kids coming home for Thanksgiving break … Our instructions stated ‘don’t show any expressions of concern or surprise, despite any sounds in the filming.’ Act normal with normal conversations. Jeff and Becky were in the back of the train car. As the filming continued, the sounds of sex were just behind them. It was very obvious what was happening in the next car,” said Chandler who added,  “And I thought this would be a nice, family event.”


Residents said it was fun to see Julianne Moore riding her bike in Andover. The cast stayed at The Bethel Inn, Zinchuk said, so there were actor sightings in Bethel, too.

For Cathi DiCocoa, the movie was a game changer.

DiCocoa said at the time that she hadn’t opened her popular Main Street coffee shop, Cafe DiCocoa.

“[Rather], we were starving to death on the corner of the blinking light in Bryant Pond, because no one was stopping, it was on the wrong side of the road and it was on a sharp corner, what were we thinking?” she said of  the small bakery she opened with Rebecca Lyons. “It was very cheap, but nobody came in.”

Next, she and Lyons’ opened a 12-by-10-foot counter kiosk in The Philbrook Place where they sold burritos, bagels, homemade bread, and soup.

“It was 1997,” DiCocoa said, “This guy came in one day. He was all dressed up – scarf, shiny shoes. You’re not from around here are you?” she said she asked him. He said he was scouting for a movie and needed an old farmhouse.


She called the Sony executive who left his business card behind. DiCocoa told him she would be interested in catering the movie and by the way, she had found a farmhouse for him, too.

When people heard she and Lyons had the gig, they loaned them equipment, including a van. She had never catered anything before but found success by scrambling to meet the directors’ often changing locations and start times.

She and Lyons fed 120 people two vegetarian meals a day for 30 days. It was food that people liked and was a change from the standard fast-food fare on set. Many meals were served at the Merrill-Poor House.

“Roy Scheider would always come down and ask for a few extra chocolate chip cookies to take up to his room. It was just fun,” DiCocoa said.

“We made enough money on that movie to afford a down payment on cafe at 125 Main St. and that’s where our business started.

“More than the money, it really empowered us, if we could feed 100 people at a time on a street corner in some random town we could certainly do it in a (fixed) location,” she said.

She went on to serve customers the next 24 years.

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