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One Tank Trip: 'Witness' 25th Anniversary Tour

By Karin Mallett, Anchor / Reporter, KMallett@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 17 2011 09:43:42 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 08 2010 06:32:12 AM CDT

In 1984, scouts from Paramount Studios landed in Lancaster County. They found a farm to feature in a movie that would see A-list stars and offer a peek into the world of the Amish.

LANCASTER CO., Pa. -

In 1984, scouts from Paramount Studios landed in Lancaster County. They found a farm to feature in a movie that would see A-list stars and offer a peek into the world of the Amish.

Now, for the first time in five years, you can see it up close.

Onboard the small shuttle, there's only room for 14.

It's an intimate, exclusive tour where you'll bear witness to the beauty of Lancaster County.

"We're going to see a couple one room schoolhouses along the way and we're also getting very close to the "Witness" farm," said Kent Stapleton.

Twenty-five years ago, "Witness" garnered mega-movie star Harrison Ford an Oscar nomination and highlighted a farm that really exists.

"Now this is Beiler's farm, what we refer to as the "Witness" farm," said Stapleton. "When the Krantzes owned it, it was called Willow Spring Farm."

In 1984, a Lancaster County couple, Paul and Emma Krantz opened up their Amish home and Hollywood descended.

In "Witness," Ford plays a Philadelphia police detective who tries to protect the star witness to a murder, who happens to be a young Amish boy.

Kelly McGillis is Samuel's mother and the widowed Amish woman Ford falls for.

"In the last 25 years, I've probably seen it five times," said Stapleton.

On the limited-edition "Witness Movie Covered Bridge Tour," you'll have special access to the farm that hasn't been open to the public since the 20th anniversary of the film.

Link: Witness 25th Anniversary Tour

"We always have people who ask, 'Well, I thought the Amish didn't allow pictures to be taken. How could they make a movie?," said Stapleton. "And people just don't seem to understand. They're actors. And so the people who were in the movie were actors. They weren't Amish."

But the farm was real. And still is.

You'll feel like an extra seeing in real life what you saw on the screen.

"In the early morning they come up over a crest in the hill and look down over the farm and when we take tourists there, that's the exact scene that they see as looking down on the farm," said Stapleton.

The unprecedented access is perhaps just another way to bridge the gap between two distinct cultures living side by side.

At the end of the tour, you'll receive a token that will take you back to a scene on a train when Samuel gets a wooden horse to hold onto to.