The Thomas Beale Treasure...Making Of "Mysteries
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Recently crews from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) visited Johnson's 
Orchards and Peaks Of Otter Winery in order to re-create the story of the Beale 
Treasure for their show called "Mysteries".

A great time was had by everyone 
involved in the filming and there was much media coverage from local television 
news to the local newspaper.

The following article is from the July 12, 1999 issue of The Roanoke Times, and 
is written by Erin Sullivan.

The Johnsons are used to visitors coming and going on their 250-acre farm.

They frequently give tours of their apple orchards and, during the school 
year, show children what farm life is like.

Danny Johnson said he shows them 
the cows because he wants them to know where milk comes from, just as he 
shows them the apple orchards because he wants them to know where apples 
come from.

Danny and his wife, Nancy, have pot-bellied pigs, goats, horses, turkeys, 
ducks, ponies, a Norwegian elkhound named Bo-Bo, and other critters which 
are interesting to most visitors.

But the guests the Johnsons had last week weren't interested in any of that.

They were interested in gold.

"I'm sorry, Jeff, but can you do that again, please?" Luke Campbell wiped 
his forehead and squinted at the makeshift set near a pond on the Johnson's 

Jeff Krantz nodded at Campbell's request to reshoot and went back to his 
spot hiding behind a large rock.

The other six actors sat down again by a 
campfire on the set, picking up their props of banjos, bandannas and tin 

A wagon with two horses waited next to the campfire.

Two other horses 
were tied to a tree near the men.

"Quiet on the set! Quiet!" Sharon Tracey yelled.

She is not very tall and 
has blonde wavy hair, but as production manager, she has a voice that can be 
loud when she wants it to be.

Bystanders stopped their conversations.

Someone grabbed Bo-Bo by his orange collar so he wouldn't run into the 

He stifled a bark when Nancy Johnson gave him a threatening look.

"Action!" Campbell said.

Krantz sprang from his hiding place, wearing the 10-gallon hat, long-sleeved 
button-down shirt, long pants and cowboy boots his character "Jeb," probably 
would've worn in the 1820s.

Krantz's face lit up, a mix between a smile and 

"Gold! I swear to God I ain't never seen as much ever! Gold! Gold!"
The other actors, Jebs fellow scoundrels and treasure hunters, scurried up 
the large rock with Krantz, leaving a cloud of dust and props in their wake.

"And cut! Thank you," Campbell said, fanning with his shirt.

It was almost 
94 degrees.

Campbell is the free-lance director of the British Broadcasting Company's 
television series "Mysteries," similar to the American show "Unsolved 

Campbell and his crew were looking for story ideas recently and learned of 
Bedford County's Beale treasure mystery through the Internet.

They worked on 
background information and script writing for one week in London and flew to 
Virginia last week to film their version of the legend.

Sometime between 1819 and 1821, Thomas Jefferson Beale is said to have 
buried a vat of gold, silver and jewels somewhere near the present-day 
Bedford County town of Montvale.

The loot was conservatively estimated in 
1993 to be worth $20 million.

Beale left behind three coded messages: The first told the exact location of 
the treasure; the second told the contents; the third told who owned the 

It is said that only the second code has been broken.

People worldwide have been afflicted with the Beale addiction, devoting 
their lives to the dream of buried treasure.

In 1991, six people from Pennsylvania were arrested for digging in a 
graveyard in hopes of finding the treasure, which they claimed would be 
donated to their church.

Mel Fisher, famous for his discovery of the treasure ship Nuestra Senora de 
Atocha in 1985, hunted for the Beale treasure for three months in 1989.

Fisher was unsuccessful and said he would return with a high-powered metal 
detector, the same kind his crew used to find sunken ships.

But he died last 
year of cancer at age 76.

The BBC filmed for two days.

They depicted the modern events tied to the 
Beale story, including Fisher's quest, on Thursday, and shot the historical 
footage of Beale and his swarthy crew Friday.

Both days, the crew and actors 
had to be on the set at 7 a.


, and the day didn't end until 7 p.



The crew flew to Key West Saturday to interview two of Fisher's partners.

They said they would start editing the footage in London today.

NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries" did the Beale story about 10 years ago -- also at 
Johnson's Orchards.

Danny and Nancy Johnson are used to people knocking on their door, wanting 
to dig on the property for treasure.

Danny Johnson usually lets them, if 
they fill out the proper paperwork and promise to fill the holes they dig.

Some do.

Most don't.

Last Monday, the BBC crew met with people from Bedford's community theater, 
Little Town Players, and Sue Gilbert, Bedford's economic development 

Auditions for the part of Thomas Beale, his friend Jeb, and 
other characters were held that night.

About half the actors hired for 
Friday's shoot were members of the Little Town Players.

The BBC crew relied heavily on the Bedford community.

Horses, furs, wagons, 
costumes and other items were borrowed; stones were spray-painted to look 
like gold; silver-studded bridles were found for the horses -- all to 
provide the authentic touch the British crew wanted for the show.

"Everybody has helped so much," production manager Tracey said.

She cried 
early Friday because of the "mad week" it had been.

But she perked up at the 
shoot because everything seemed "to all just come together.

Krantz and Tim Flagg, a fellow Bedford actor who played Thomas Beale, ambled 
over to a mud-splattered pickup truck after the end of their scene.

grabbed some cans of soda from a cooler and joined Karen Hopkins, a 24-year 
member of the Little Town Players.

Hopkins played Mrs.

Morris, the wife of 
the innkeeper to whom Beale is said to have given the treasure codes.

The crew, on a lunch break, sat down in the shade near the field where they 
were shooting.

Most of the cast and crew said they didn't believe in the Beale treasure, 
or, if they did, many said the loot probably had been found by now.

The Johnsons said they found their own treasure a while back when they 
discovered a new variety of yellow apples growing in their orchard.

Danny Johnson said it's a "real sweet and juicy apple" and should make its 
debut this fall.

In honor of the Beale treasure, the Johnsons named the 
apple the "Gold Nugget.

Whether the Beale treasure is real or a hoax, it has mesmerized the 
adventurous and made dozens of treasure hunters drool at the prospect of 
finding the loot.

Michael Johnston was at the orchard all day Friday, acting and helping with 
the shooting.

Wearing a beige cowboy hat, red bandanna, smudged long-john 
shirt, jeans and boots, Johnston could have walked out of Beale's era.

Although he looked like a treasure hunter, he doesn't share the gold fever.

"A lot of people want something for nothing," Johnston said and talked about 
a man from Ohio he had met years ago.

The man spent three years and almost 
all of his money hunting for the Beale treasure and wound up broke.

"He looked haggard," Johnston said.

"I wanted to say, 'What's pushing you? 
What would be worth this?'
"It's just like the lottery.



Everybody wants to be wealthy.



and it becomes 
an obsession.


Now that you've read the news article how about the BBC filming, we're sure you 
want to take a peek at some pictures of the filming and the crew.




Otherwise, send us.






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