The TV Series ‘Outsiders’ Finds a Home in Millvale

Go behind the scenes to meet set and production designers and artisans who work magic, transforming neighborhoods into rural Kentucky.



(page 1 of 2)


Photos by Douglas Duerring

 

Linda Lang didn’t know it, but her Millvale home was ready for its close up.

Location scouts for the WGN America, filmed-in-Pittsburgh series “Outsiders” left a letter in Lang’s door in April 2015. They wanted to consider using the exterior of the white, clapboard house as the home of Ledda Dobbs (played by former Pittsburgher Rebecca Harris), the sister of the show’s sheriff, Wade Houghton (Thomas M. Wright).

“Don’t even think about it,” said John Kelly, Lang’s partner of 20 years.

Too late.
 


Set crews duplicated a stained glass window during filming of WGN America’s “Outsiders.” Inset: Linda Lang and John Kelly of Millvale
 

“When I read it, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ and I started to get excited,” Lang recalls a year and a half later, an “Outsiders” ball cap perched proudly atop her head.
“I just called them to see what it was about before I said no,” Lang says.

The next day, 35 people from the “Outsiders” production were on her doorstep with cameras.

“Do you mind if we look inside?” one of the crew members asked. By the time they left, “Outsiders” location manager John Adkins was sold on casting Lang’s house – exterior and interior – in the show’s first season.

“I said, ‘Why would they pick out my house?’” Lang asks. “And they said because it was homey, and that just melted me.”

Kelly says producers liked the home’s location on a hill with hills in the background, which suits “Outsiders.” The show is set in the fictional eastern Kentucky town of Blackburg.
 


A Millvale police vehicle parked by the education wing of Holy Spirit Parish, which depicts the Crockett County Sheriff’s Department on “Outsiders.”
 

Adkins returned to talk to Kelly, who explained his concerns. At the time the scouts arrived, he was in recovery from throat cancer and didn’t want the disruption of a film crew while his prognosis remained uncertain.

“At the same time, Linda was born and raised in Millvale,” Kelly says. “Her family goes back five generations here. This house was built in 1899 by her grandparents, and she was raised in this house. This was like the ‘Hollywood Minute’ for Linda and bragging rights at least until the day she dies and maybe after, so I said to Adkins, let’s go ahead and do this for the hell of it.”

Kelly got a good report from his doctor, and soon the “Outsiders” cameras were rolling inside and outside the Lang house in 12 of the first season’s 13 episodes.
 

 
(left) actor David Morse and actor Kyle Gallner

“Outsiders” returns for its second season on WGN America on Jan. 24, and Millvale, playing Blackburg, will be even more heavily featured than in season one, according to series creator and executive producer Peter Mattei.

“We have a lot of big things happening in Millvale, and we’re very grateful to that town and the cops and the citizens because we have big marches, car chases, a big, huge parade scene where we utilize all of the people from Millvale Days who came in and helped us,” Mattei says. “Without Millvale, we would not have a show. That town has been so generous to us.”
 

 
(left) actor Thomas M. Wright and (in sheriff’s uniform) and Kerry Patton
 

In season two, the Farrell clan of Shay Mountain — a location played by the woods on the grounds of the Jewish Community Center of Henry Kaufmann Family Park in Monroeville — come into greater conflict with Blackburg townies and the coal company that wants to evict the Farrells to exploit the mountain’s natural resources. Blackburg’s Sheriff Houghton is stuck in the middle.

Creating eastern Kentucky in suburban Pittsburgh can be tricky in some respects — but in others, it’s easy.

“Basically, we’re the Paris of Appalachia anyway, right?” says Elizabeth Township native Barbie Pastorik, a buyer in the show’s set-decorating department. “When I drive into work, I’m driving past hollers, and it’s basically just the Appalachian chain and we’re just part of it.”
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in July

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in July

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Can You Really Learn CPR in Pittsburgh in Five Minutes?

Can You Really Learn CPR in Pittsburgh in Five Minutes?

We put two of our interns to the test at the Carnegie Science Center.
Important Things to Know About the Furries

Important Things to Know About the Furries

The Furries are in Pittsburgh this weekend for their annual convention. We’ve got a list of do’s and don’ts to make them feel welcome.
Pittsburgh Workers Use the Most Vacation Time in the Country

Pittsburgh Workers Use the Most Vacation Time in the Country

Project: Time Off reports that just 40 percent of Pittsburghers end the year with unused vacation time.
Duck Donuts Opens Its First Pittsburgh-Area Location

Duck Donuts Opens Its First Pittsburgh-Area Location

The shop promises a “taste of the Outer Banks” without the 9-hour drive.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in July

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in July

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

On the eve of its largest annual event, the Pittsburgh Curling Club has plans to increase Pittsburgh’s appreciation for its intricate sport.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Can You Really Learn CPR in Pittsburgh in Five Minutes?

Can You Really Learn CPR in Pittsburgh in Five Minutes?

We put two of our interns to the test at the Carnegie Science Center.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Look for some big changes at the Upper Lawrenceville restaurant, which is expected to shutter for at least a year.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


Condado Brings the Build-Your-Own Model to Tacos

Condado Brings the Build-Your-Own Model to Tacos

At the new Downtown taco-and-cocktail joint, you can get anything you like atop your tortilla shell — but can your creation stack up to nearby alternatives?

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pittsburgh Pirates Looking for Relief from Their Bullpen

Pittsburgh Pirates Looking for Relief from Their Bullpen

The just-completed, pivotal 10-game stretch began and ended the same way for the Pittsburgh Pirates –– with no one having an answer for the faltering bullpen.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Reviews of "Cars 3" and "47 Meters Down," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Brewing Up Romance: A Couple Comes Together over Beer

Brewing Up Romance: A Couple Comes Together over Beer

See how this couple used their love of beer and breweries to create their special moments.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
New! Black Cherry Design Opens Retail Store

New! Black Cherry Design Opens Retail Store

Lauren Piasecki and Stan Adamik’s brick-and-mortar lifestyle boutique in Lawrenceville carries high-end furniture, lighting, new upholstery, candles, vintage goods and more.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

On three days this summer, the college will host visit days for prospective students.

Comments

Edit Module