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'The Lives Of Hamilton Fish' Premieres In Peekskill

Rachel Mason performing "The Lives Of Hamilton Fish."
Rachel Mason performing "The Lives Of Hamilton Fish." Photo Credit: Courtesy of HVCCA
The front page of the "Peekskill Evening Star" featuring the two Hamilton Fishes. The congressman Fish is on the left while the serial killer Fish is on the right.
The front page of the "Peekskill Evening Star" featuring the two Hamilton Fishes. The congressman Fish is on the left while the serial killer Fish is on the right. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rachel Mason

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Rachel Mason, who made a movie about a Peekskill newspaper that reported on the deaths of two people with the same name who died on the same day, is finally getting to screen her film in Peekskill.

"The Lives of Hamilton Fish," a cinematic rock opera will be shown at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. The event will feature dinner with "Hamilton Fish" chowder being served.

On Jan. 16, 1936, "The Peekskill Evening Star" ran two stories on its front page about the death of two people, both named Hamilton Fish.

One Fish was from a prominent family in Garrison and served in the U.S. Congress and was speaker of the New York State Assembly. The other Fish, nicknamed Albert, was executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining in the electric chair for being a serial killer.

Mason first discovered the link when she was at the Peekskill's Field Library and researched people executed at Sing Sing. She found the "Peekskill Evening Star's" front page coverage and was captivated.

She wondered if the person who designed the newspaper's front page noticed the similar names. "I take that as a leap off into a fantastical world," Mason said. "I've had a wonderful response to it."

Mason spent seven years on the project and the film features actors mouthing the lyrics to the 20 songs in the project.

Since Daily Voice's story on the film in July , "The Lives of Hamilton Fish" has been screened at film festivals and been critically acclaimed. It won best film at the New England Underground Film Festival and Filmthreat.com named it its favorite film of the year.

"It's my first bit of indie cred," Mason said.

The HVCCA holds a special place in Mason's heart. The center invited Mason to participate in a show at Sing Sing which caused her to stumble onto the Hamilton Fish story.

"I get to bring it back to the place where it all started," Mason said. "It's such a wonderful local story."

For more information, visit http://www.hvcca.org/events/event/the-lives-of-hamilton-fish-a-film-song-by-rachel-mason/ or call 914-788-0100.

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