Brew pub won’t show film on fallen Marine

A Grand Junction brew pub has scrapped its plans to host a showing tonight of an HBO film about the death of Palisade High School graduate Chance Phelps in Iraq.

It wasn’t for lack of trying on HBO’s part, officials said.

Smugglers Brew Pub and Grille, 2420 U.S. Highway 6&50, had hoped to hold a public viewing of “Taking Chance” at 6 p.m. via HBO’s scheduled broadcast or a prereleased DVD of the movie.

“Although best efforts were made, we literally did not have a DVD to send out in time,” HBO Vice President Jenni Sherwood said.

HBO learned of the effort to show the film too late Friday to send out a DVD, Sherwood said.

The film chronicles the journey home to Dubois, Wyo., of the remains of Phelps, a lance corporal with the U.S. Marines who died in combat in 2004.

But Karl Stephens, Smugglers head chef and an ex-Marine, said Friday when the restaurant’s owners attempted to subscribe to HBO, DIRECTV told them HBO couldn’t legally be broadcast in a commercial business.

Stephens acknowledged he and others hadn’t considered that there could be laws or policies in place preventing them from showing the movie.

“HBO has been nothing but classy, generous and honest,” said Lt. Col. Mike Strobl, whose journal about escorting Phelps’ remains formed the foundation of the screenplay. “Due to their affiliation with this movie, they have donated tens of thousands of dollars to help in honoring veterans.”

HBO screened the movie in several locations in advance of tonight’s showing, including Phelps’ hometown of Dubois.

Expecting an overflow crowd, Stephens said Smugglers’ owners Mike Metz and Scott Strong hired a company to rewire the restaurant so sound could be piped outside. They also installed a new DVD player.

Stephens said ex-Marines, local lawmakers, police officers, firefighters and young people who attended Palisade High School with Phelps planned to pack the restaurant and watch the movie.

“There’s a lot of people that have spent time and money to get over here that won’t be able to see that movie now, at least not here,” he said.

Although it won’t show “Taking Chance,” Stephens said the restaurant will host an event tonight to pay tribute to Phelps.


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