BBC, Nat Geo film crew shoots footage at Green Lawn Cemetery for doc with Columbus ties

A film crew from the BBC and National Geographic visited Green Lawn Cemetery in early July to film background footage for a limited-series documentary on Tommy Thompson, a controversial treasure hunter with ties to Columbus.

A film crew from BBC and National Geographic visited Green Lawn Cemetery in early July to shoot background footage for an upcoming limited series on the S.S. Central America.

The three-part limited series, titled “Lost Gold,” will tell the story of the recovery gold treasure from the ship, which sank in a hurricane in 1857, and former Battelle scientist Tommy Thompson, who persuaded 161 people and companies to invest in the recovery effort in the mid-1980s. That includes members of the Wolfe family, who are buried at Green Lawn Cemetery.

Randy Rogers, executive director of the Green Lawn Cemetery Association, said that the film crew was interested in the cemetery because of the Wolfe family monument and the wolf statue, which commemorates the North Graveyard.

“They were a little disappointed to find out that John F. Wolfe, who was one of the main advocates for recovering the gold, is not buried at Green Lawn,” Rogers said, adding that the former publisher of The Dispatch, Columbus business leader and philanthropist, was buried at Saint Joseph Cemetery after his death in 2016.

“But otherwise, they were happy with the footage they got.patch.

Columbus and central Ohio are a significant part of the “Lost Gold” story. Among the original investors in the exploration mission were several well-known central Ohioans and companies, including then-Worthington Industries chairman John McConnell; then-Wendy’s president James Near; developer Don Casto III; Homewood Corp.; Ohio Company chairman John W. Wolfe; and The Dispatch Printing Company.

In 2005, The Dispatch Printing Company, then under the Wolfe family’s ownership, helped sue four directors of Columbus Exploration, the company that replaced the original exploration group, Recovery Limited, to seek an accounting of the company’s finances and inventory of the gold.

From 1987 to 1989, Thompson’s team located the shipwreck and recovered three tons of gold coins and bars. Years of disputes and litigation over ownership of the treasure followed, and in 2015, Thompson was ordered to an indefinite jail sentence until he revealed what happened to 500 missing gold coins. He has yet to come clean about the location of his treasure and has been held in contempt of court since by Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, racking up millions in fines.

Tommy Thompson, a treasurer hunter accused of stiffing investors who financed his discovery of gold and other riches from a ship wreck in 1988, is seen here testifying in 2019 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

The treasure hunter:Will Shipwreck Hunter Tommy Thompson’s Legal Limbo Finally End?

This is not the first time that Green Lawn Cemetery has been featured in a film. Several years ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger filmed part of his movie “Aftermath” at the cemetery, Rogers said.

Rogers said that he is excited for the opportunity to share Green Lawn Cemetery with a national and international audience.

“We always enjoy it when Green Lawn gets some special attention,” he said. “It’s just very exciting for us to have that opportunity.”

Gallery:Photos of the exploration mission, treasure from SS Central America shipwreck

The National Geographic Content and BBC Studios’ Documentary Unit production is directed by Sam Benstead, with executive producers Alexander Leith and Chris Kugelman and producer Georgia Braham.