The building may be rubble, but Overland Park’s French Market lives on in ‘Where Pigeons Go to Die’

Jay Senter - February 20, 2019 11:20 am
The French Market property at 95th Street and Metcalf is being cleared for a new office project.

A pile of rubble is all that remains of The French Market building at 95th and Metcalf as crews clear the site for the construction of Shamrock Trading Corp.’s new office towers.

But memory of iconic relic of 1960s-era development along Overland Park’s Metcalf corridor will live on — at least in blurry VHS-transferred video available on YouTube.

In the late 1980s, fresh off Highway to Heaven, veteran actor and producer Michael Landon signed a deal with NBC to write and direct a made-for-television movie based on the 1978 Robert Campbell novel Where Pigeons Go to Die. Landon’s film of the same name tells the story of a man remembering the grandfather with whom he used to race pigeons as a young boy. The locally semi-famous movie was shot on location in Lawrence and Overland Park.

A run down farmhouse in the shadows of the recently constructed office towers at the northwest corner of 95th and Metcalf served as the family’s home in the movie, and in the film’s opening scenes, Landon, who plays the grown version of the boy, is show piloting a large sedan toward the house, which has fallen into disrepair. Blink and you’ll miss it, but one of the French Market’s towers is visible in the background:

The film aired on Jan. 9, 1990, and was one of Landon’s last major projects before his death in July 1991 after suffering pancreatic cancer.

There’s a version of the film subtitled in what appears to be Slovenian posted on YouTube. Click here to see the sequence where the French Market shows up.

(Hat tip to Brad Moore of the Facebook group We Grew up in the OP! for reminding me of this gem of local cultural history).

Briefly Noted: SM Northwest’s Oklahoma! to debut Friday after postponement due to weather

Weather delays debut of SM Northwest musical. The planned public debut of SM Northwest’s production of Oklahoma! was canceled Thursday night because of weather,

Theatre in the Park

Johnson County’s Theatre in the Park celebrates 50th season in 2019

Theatre in the Park, the most-visited outdoor theatre in Johnson County, celebrates its 50th season this year. And as a big thank you to

Roeland Park Aldi

Aldi proposes making $60,000 donation for art in Roeland Park instead of incorporating piece into new store project

The Roeland Park city council on Monday gave tentative approval to allowing Aldi to provide a $60,000 arts donation in lieu of incorporating an

High school students in KC metro area compete in visual arts at Merriam Community Center

Students from all over the Kansas City metro area showcased their artistic talent last night at a visual arts competition. The exhibit took place

SMAC PTA honors this year’s Reflections arts competition winners

The Shawnee Mission Area Council PTA this week recognized the 20 Shawnee Mission students who took awards in this year’s National PTA Reflections Program,

Roeland Park prepares to restore or relocate several pieces of public art

Efforts to update Roeland Park’s art installations progressed this week as councilmembers gave preliminary approval to restore or relocate more than a dozen art

Culture Division

Johnson County parks department launches Culture Division for more arts, culture, history programming

Johnson County Park and Recreation District has created a new division dedicated entirely to culture. JCPRD kicked off the launch of the new division

SM East set to debut production of Medea Thursday

SM East’s theatre department is going back a ways for this fall’s play. Students today will debut their production of Medea, a Greek tragedy

SM East band earns prestigious invitation to perform in New Year’s parade in Rome

When the eyes of the world turn to the famous New Year’s Day parade through the ancient city in four months, the Shawnee Mission

Briefly noted: SM Northwest’s Alyssa Mendoza runner-up in KC Superstar

SM Northwest student Alyssa Mendoza takes second in KC Superstar finals. SM Northwest student Alyssa Mendoza took second place in this year’s KC Superstar