Ed Helms saw ‘Deliverance’ for the first time at summer camp

Actor and musician Ed Helms (pictured with his band The Lonesome Trio above) was first exposed to the movie Deliverance and bluegrass music when he was at summer camp in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

“I was really into the white-water canoeing program there,” Helms said of his time at Camp Carolina in Brevard, North Carolina, in an interview with The A.V. Club. “Deliverance was filmed on the Chattooga River, which runs between Georgia and South Carolina as part of the border—beautiful river. And the canoe program at my camp was going to run a section of that river. And so the counselors showed us a section of Deliverance in order to show us the river that we were going to run, and they literally just hit the fast forward button over this horrific scene. We were all, ‘What in the hell was that?’ We were like, 11 or 12. But that was also where I heard, in the score of the movie, this beautiful bluegrass music.”

The 1972 movie is famous for a scene near the beginning where the bluegrass song “Dueling Banjos” is played, foreshadowing pending danger ahead in a canoe trip into the unknown wilderness four businessman from Atlanta take.

“It wasn’t long after that that I just chased down whatever recordings I could find of bluegrass music, and started begging my guitar teacher to teach me all these things,” said Helms, who is best known for playing Andy Bernard in The Office and Stuart Price in The Hangover trilogy.

Helms’ bluegrass band The Lonesome Trio released its debut self-titled album in June.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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