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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Skyliners' Story

Skyliners' biopic set to film in fall
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Skyliners hit "Since I Don't Have You" has already appeared on the soundtrack of a dozen films, including "American Graffiti." Its next appearance will likely be in a film named for the song.

Gavin Rapp, son of late Skyliners' singer Janet Vogel, has written a script for "Since I Don't Have You," a Skyliners biopic telling the story of the Pittsburgh vocal group's late '50s breakthrough and mid-'70s comeback.

The script is told from the perspective of Rapp, who grew up in Bethel Park and Brentwood with his mom, a singer, and his father, Terry, described as an "overbearing husband" and "tough streetwise cop." Vogel took her own life in 1980, at the age of 37, when Rapp was 13. He's been estranged from his father, a former University of Pittsburgh security officer, since.

Rapp says the film is being cast now and is set to shoot in the East End some time in the late fall.

"We have the offers out to the actors," Rapp says. "We're waiting to hear back from them. Everyone we sent it to really likes it."

Rapp's previous film with his Winter Morning Pictures, the noir crime drama "Trapped," starring Corbin Bernsen and Tom Atkins (who will appear in this one as well), went straight to DVD. He believes the interest in the Skyliners nationwide and the familiarity with the 1959 hit, which has been covered by everyone from Barbra Streisand to Guns 'N Roses, will make "Since I Don't Have You" a theatrical release.

Winter Morning Pictures is working on the film in conjunction with Smithfield Street Productions, which Rapp says will help him with the period setting.

Also, Rapp is teaching a script-to-screen class on the film at Central Catholic High School and expects students to be a part of the production, on and off the screen.

The movie has the blessing of the group itself. Former Skyliners singer Joe Verscharen, who read the script, wrote to Rapp and his two siblings: "It is an absolutely fantastic story. I love you kids, and I am sorry you had to go through that. I never knew. I never knew."

Skyliners frontman Jimmy Beaumont said, "I fully support and endorse this beautiful emotional story. It is time."