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Firm captures memories for generations of family

Published: Sunday, April 20, 2014 10:47 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:21 p.m. CDT
(AP photo)
Brenda Wilcott (from left), Bob Wilcott, Eric Cheever and his father Mike Cheever enjoy a light moment March 21 as the Wilcott's film the round table conversation with Mike at the Cheevers' home in Decatur.

DECATUR – In over 25 years of filming, Bob and Brenda Wilcott of Decatur have found one type of production has proven more meaningful than the rest.

As a result, they decided to establish a focused extension of their main business, Catchpenny Productions.

Their latest business entity, Family Biography Films, captures memories and preserves family histories on DVD or CD for generations to come.

"It's a byproduct of what we have been doing," said Bob Wilcott, who takes the role behind the camera as producer. "It seems the most powerful."

During a recent interview, Bob and Brenda Wilcott sat down with Mike Cheever, a longtime friend with whom Bob Wilcott worked at WAND-TV. Bob Wilcott took his familiar position behind the camera as Brenda Wilcott sat with Cheever prepared to ask questions.

Cheever is known for creating the character Dr. Terror as host of WAND's Friday night horror movies from 1974-78.

His talents and humor remained evident throughout the interview, which was filmed primarily for his children. While having a list of topics ready, Brenda Wilcott listened for moments to expand on the information Cheever shared.

"We want to create an atmosphere where they're at ease," said Brenda Wilcott, Family Biography Films' creative director. "We have pages of questions we create. Sometimes we land on one of them."

They started talking about Cheever's earliest memories before Cheever's son, Eric, was asked to join them in the conversation.

Among other things, Eric Cheever wanted to have his father share his thoughts on creating Dr. Terror. Eric Cheever also pointed out his dad has been known for his singing at church, a contrast with what Dr. Terror portrayed.

Mike Cheever sang the words to the Lord's Prayer as Bob Wilcott captured the moment on video.

"His voice is amazing," Eric Cheever said.

Afterward, Bob Wilcott took off his headphones and sat down to add to the conversation.

"Family members can sometimes hear things they never heard before," Bob Wilcott said.

The idea for the films was sparked in part from wanting to share the stories of the Wilcotts' friends and family members.

Family Biography Films don't have to wait until someone is older in age, Brenda Wilcott said. The films can progress at various points in life when the experiences are most fresh, she said.

No matter when the filming occurs, the works proves rewarding for the Wilcotts.

"It has more impact than anything we come across," Brenda Wilcott said. "We figured we should focus on what we know we're good at."

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