The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 9, 2013

Scranton bonds with NBC's 'The Office'

(Continued)

While the Scranton references were fun, they also served a purpose for the show’s writers and actors.

“‘The Office’ was all about being real, small and real, in the beginning, especially. So it really helped to have a place to be thinking about that was very specific,” said executive producer Greg Daniels.

Daniels and “Office” stars John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson and other members of the cast and crew paid a visit to Scranton last weekend to show their appreciation of the city, and thousands of adoring fans loved them back. NBC will air a segment on the “Wrap Party” as part of its May 16 primetime tribute to “The Office” — another valuable bit of free publicity.

It was Krasinski who filmed the show’s opening montage in Scranton, and he said the city became a character in its own right.

“It’s kind of the backbone of what we’re doing,” he said. “The whole thing of playing ordinary people comes from the idea that we’re all living in Scranton.”

Yet even as Scranton made “The Office” seem more authentic, the show remained a work of fiction, and Scranton very much a real place with its share of triumphs and tragedies. If anyone needed a reminder, it came only a few hours after the end of the Wrap Party, when a Lackawanna College student was killed by gunfire — the city’s first homicide in nearly two years.

And it wasn’t so long ago that Scranton was simply a punch line.

The city, about 120 miles northwest of New York, fell on hard times after the coal industry tanked, and jobs were slow to return.

Northeastern Pennsylvania still has the highest unemployment rate in the state.

But “The Office” helped turned Scranton into something of a tourist attraction — some 3,500 visitors have taken the official “Office” tour of landmarks mentioned on the show — and downtown has been revitalized into a vibrant urban center with lots of new restaurants, businesses and apartments.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Poet takes his act to Las Vegas LAS VEGAS — The old poet is dressed in black, his platinum-blond hair rakishly moussed. He stands amid the hubbub, facing a stern test of his crafted words and carnival-barker delivery. The venue is a smoky lounge called Ichabod’s, east of the Strip.

    July 23, 2014

  • Minnesota race track to refund horse owners ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota race track manager says the track will refund horse owners after an audit found it shorted race purses by nearly $437,000 over four years. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/1p9mtEh ) the Running Aces

    July 23, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysia jet victims leave Ukraine KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left the embattled plains of eastern Ukraine Wednesday, while British investigators began work on a pair of "black boxes" to retrieve da

    July 23, 2014

  • Attorney general sues 2 Minn. colleges ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and about transferring credits to other instit

    July 22, 2014

  • sniper wife pic Jurors start considering Ventura case ST. PAUL — An attorney for Jesse Ventura asked a federal jury Tuesday to award the former Minnesota governor millions of dollars in damages for what he claimed is a lie in a memoir by the late military sniper Chris Kyle. Ventura testified during the

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Target debuts shopping app "In a Snap" will recognize images

    July 22, 2014

  • Feds to monitor Newark police Probe found pattern of unconstitutional policing

    July 22, 2014

  • Thousands without power due to storms MCGREGOR (AP) — Thousands of Minnesotans are without electricity after powerful storms moved through central and northeastern Minnesota. Strong winds of 50 to 70 mph knocked down trees and power lines overnight Monday. Minnesota Power and Lake Count

    July 22, 2014

  • Ellison urges Minn. to aid Central American minors ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota congressman is leading efforts to bring more unaccompanied children fleeing Central America to the state. But, immigration advocates and nonprofit groups that serve refugees are concerned Minnesota might not be abl

    July 22, 2014

  • Detroit retirees back pension cuts by a landslide DETROIT (AP) — A year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest

    July 22, 2014