The Chambersburg native has heard about ghosts, burial grounds, aliens and bigfoot sightings.
More than six years ago, an amalgamation of those local legends drove the plot of Putch's indie film "Route 30."
Set along the Pennsylvania highway that cuts through York, Adams and Franklin counties, the movie was a local smash. Its fall 2008 premiere at York's Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center sold out.
Putch said a post-screening discussion turned into a town hall meeting. He polled the audience about plot points and places they recognized. Ideas for a sequel were already percolating in his head at the time.
That movie - "Route 30, Too!" - premiered to sold-out crowds last fall in Chambersburg and Gettysburg. It will screen twice this weekend at York's Capitol Theatre.
"I am so looking forward, seeing the York people again," Putch said. "They
understood ("Route 30"). It was like showing it to a bunch of your relatives. They knew the secrets that only we from that area know."
With the first film, Putch said he focused on Gettysburg and Fayetteville and Caledonia. The second installment happens in Chambersburg and Orrtanna. Some new local landmarks that make cameos in "Route 30, Too!" include The Historic Round Barn in Biglerville, Cashtown Inn and the downtown square in Chambersburg.
Many of the sequel's cast members are newcomers. But some of the characters, including the mysterious White Woman and Ed Gotwalt of Mister Ed's Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium, return for the sequel.
Gotwalt, who plays himself, said part of the movie tells how the large elephant statue appeared outside his museum and store. Aliens might be involved.
"It's incredibly funny," Gotwalt, 76, said. The plot weaves together the elephant shop and a gentleman's club in a way that yields lots of innuendoes and laughter, he added.
Comedy was a welcome relief at the time for Gotwalt. A July 5, 2010, fire destroyed his longtime Adams County tourist attraction. "Route 30, Too!" was filmed that December, as the museum and store were being rebuilt.
Gotwalt didn't get to see the final cut until its September 2012 premiere in Chambersburg. The audience reaction made all the 20-degree nights spent filming seem worth it, he added.
The story, which involves lots of supernatural events and science fiction, required about 125 special effects, Putch said. He entered the film into festivals, and Gotwalt traveled to California to attend some of the screenings.
Gotwalt wondered how folks near Tinsel Town would react, but said audiences seemed to enjoy it. Some even took the elephant shop owner for a real actor, Gotwalt added with a chuckle.
Putch, Gotwalt and a handful of "Route 30, Too!" cast members will attend the premiere Saturday. Gotwalt said audience members won't have to watch "Route 30" to understand the sequel.
Putch said this time, DVDs of both "Route 30" and "Route 30, Too!" will be available after the screening. He also expects another lively discussion to follow the film. And just like last time, another installment is already in the works.
The final part of the trilogy is about half done, Putch said. He expects to start filming in 2014.
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
If you go
"Route 30, Too!" will premiere 7 p.m. Saturday at the Capitol Theatre, 50 N. George St., York.
The first 50 people through the door will get a free poster. The event will include a discussion with director John Putch. Cast members who will be in attendance include Ed Gotwalt, Dan Poole, Ray Ficca, Brigid Ryan, Jamie Rose, Alicia Fusting, Pam Putch and Noah Applebaum.
The movie will also screen 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10. For details and tickets, call 717-846-1111 or visit mystrandcapitol.org.
For details about "Route 30 Too!" visit www.route30too.com.