When “High School Caesar” made its world premiere in Chillicothe in 1959, movie-goers flocked to the Ben Bolt theater to see their hometown scenes and people they knew on the silver screen. It was the first full-length movie to have been filmed in and around Chillicothe and involved local high school students, with about a dozen who had speaking parts and many others who were cast as extras. The premiere was Sunday, Sept. 13, 1959, with five showings that first day, and three the next. So many people had come to see the film that the theater held the movie over for an additional two days, bumping the scheduled showings of “Return of the Fly” and “Alligator People.” To give the community one final opportunity to see the movie, Ben Bolt’s advertisement in the Constitution-Tribune stated that “High School Caesar” “positively ends Saturday night.” Much has changed in the last 55 years. Chillicothe High School, where much of the movie was filmed, has been torn down and a new high school erected; the single screen Ben Bolt theater has since been razed, and Chillicothe’s current movie venue is now a six-plex. To mark the 55th anniversary of “High School Caesar”, the CHS drama department has re-filmed the movie as its fall production. The film will open at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Nov. 20, and will be shown again at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21, and have two shows on Saturday, Nov. 22 (at 2 and 7 p.m.). The remake is under the direction of CHS drama teacher Lisa Rule, and she likes to find ways to bring Chillicothe’s history to life. Several years ago she wrote a play for her students based on the lives of Dr. George and Erika Mandler, who escaped the Holocaust and settled in Chillicothe. The original “High School Caesar” was written and filmed by Chula native O. Dale Ireland and starred celebrity heartthrob John Ashley. The story centers around the character of Matt Stevens (played by Ashley), a high school bully whose parents are very rich but are rarely home to give him parental guidance. “I love that Caesar was filmed in our area and I thought it was time for the next generation to see this movie,” she said. Shooting of the original film was done mostly in and around Chillicothe and in the Chula vicinity. Sequences were shot at the high school, Simpson Park, the Strand Hotel, the Silver Spur near Chula and at other spots in Chula and also at the Bert Clark home and others in Chillicothe. A road race was filmed on Chillicothe’s west Third Street. Rule said she used as many of the original locations as possible in the film remake. “We shot the old high school scenes at the new high school, but we still shot at Simpson Park and used a home on Elm Street that were original locations.” Filming was also done at the Chula location, the Silver Spur, and at Nico'z. “Nicole Booth was wonderful to work with, very gracious to let us take over her restaurant, and she even jumped in as an actress in one scene,” Rule said. Indoor scenes that were originally shot at the Bert Clark home (the white-columned house on Elmdale now owned by Doug and Diana Roberts) were filmed at the Bill and Inger Young house. Their dog even makes it into the movie. Indoor scenes that were originally shot in the Strand Hotel were filmed in Randy and Pam Constant’s living room. Rule said the film will have some adaptations to today, including video blogs and Snapchats. “I think what people will enjoy is that our movie is both an homage to the original film and a transformation of the original film into one that speaks to a younger generation,” said Rule. The cast for the remake includes a member of the original cast — Judi (Vogelsang) Shaffer — and she will have scenes with her grandsons, CHS senior Matt Shaffer and CHS freshman Brett Shaffer. Judi Shaffer’s role in the original film was that of the girlfriend of Rod, one of the nice guys. That role, in the remake, is played by CHS senior Chelsea Long. The part of Stevens, the high school bully, is played by Matt Shaffer. Brett Shaffer plays the role of Rod. Judi plays the part of a waitress. “I love being able to be a part of Chillicothe's history, especially when my grandma was in the original ‘High School Caesar,’ ” said Matt Shaffer. Matt Shaffer was cast in last year’s production of “Oklahoma!” and said that the film-making process is different than being on stage, but that he has enjoyed the experience. “Filming a movie is much harder than it sounds, but it is still just as much fun as being in a play,” he said. Brett Shaffer recalled watching the movie years ago when his father, Butch Shaffer, located a copy, purchased it and surprised his family with it one Christmas. “I like how when we’re filming I can remember as a kid watching the scene in the original film,” Brett Shaffer said. He complemented his older brother on his performance in the film. “I knew my brother would be a fantastic bully in the film,” Brett said. “He’s been training for this role since the day I was born.” Judi Shaffer was 16 and fairly new to Chillicothe when she was tapped for the role in 1959. Just two weeks before the start of her junior year, her father’s job brought the family to Chillicothe. Filming took place during finals week the following spring. She said she didn’t realize the significance of the “High School Caesar” until many years later. Although considered a “B” movie, it really was the first movie made for teen-agers, she said. Shaffer said that she didn’t reflect much about her role in the movie and rarely talked about it; however, when she was attending nursing school at Saint Luke’s in Kansas City, she was surprised to learn that it was playing at the drive-in theater. “I was asleep one night, and these two classmates of mine came barging into my room and said, ‘I just saw you at the drive-in!,” Judi Shaffer said. She said she is anxious to see the completed film. “It’s been a lot of fun for my grandkids,” she said. “They were excited about getting to do this.” In addition to her grandsons, also in the film are: son Bill, who plays himself as a teacher; and daughter-in-law Janice, who plays the leading character’s housekeeper/cook. The housekeeper/cook was originally played by Caroline Walz (Charlene Coleman’s sister). In a 1959 interview with the Constitution-Tribune, Ireland said that Caroline Walz was “a life-saver” in the part of Lucy, the maid. The part was supposed to have been played by a woman from Kansas City; however, on the day they were supposed to shoot the scenes, she was unable to get to Chillicothe. The film had action, violence and scenes in which suspense abounds and relates the domination of students of a school by a teen-ager who rules by force. “He’s really a crazy, mixed-up kid,” said Ireland at the time of the filming. A number of titles were considered for the film, including “Happy High” before settling on “High School Caesar”. Cast in speaking roles for the original film were Beverly (Franklin) Poppenhagen as Bea, Judi (Vogelsang) Shaffer as Ann, Chuck Leffler as Slick, Don Henkle as Pete, Bob Head as Dusty, Butch Vanlandingham as Floyd, Ronald Pennington as Paul, Bob Davis as Freddie, Lynne Melton as Mike, Barabara Loyd as Ruth, and Mrs. Walz as Lucy. Shaffer and several others were students in Taylor Dowell’s speech class. Extras included Jerry Parrish, Gary Walker, Barbara Grace, Craig Magee, Fred Churchill, Judy (Lionberger) Cassity, Charles Cassity, Jody Conrad, Lee Ann Bradley, Dona Archer, Jim Plummer, Darrell Stick, Rich Machholz, Pat Vinson, Pat Field, Connie Barnes, Janet Barnes, Jerry Souders, Sharon Tooey, Marilee (Hill) Clark, Rick Carleton, Jerry Eckert, Jim Cole, Ron Hamilton, Bill Hurst, Fred Slater, Carol Cantwell, Cherrie Rinehart and several others. A hot rod road race is one of the events of the show Don Henkle of Chillicothe was the stunt man for professional actor Lowell Brown. Several young professional actors from Hollywood played the main roles in the film. John Ashley went on to be featured prominently in several of the early 1960’s “beach party” movies. Another of the actors, Gary Vinson, was in some other movies and TV series, perhaps most notably the Ernest Borgnine-Tim Conway comedy, “McHale’s Navy.” Steve Stevens, another actor, was on the TV series of legendary Disney star Annette Funicello for awhile and then entered into the agent business with clients including Amanda Blake, Chuck Connors, and Alan Hale. In 2001, “High School Caesar” received what is believed to be its first national telecast on the American Movie Classics cable TV channel. The original High School Caesar is available in its entirety on YouTube. The remake has been filmed and edited by Adam Mast of Mast Productions.