Augusta Boy, 8, Portrays Young Woodrow Wilson President's Church Site of PBS Filming

Article excerpt

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Eight-year-old Tyler Baum knew very little about American presidents just a few weeks ago. Now he's portraying one in a TV documentary.

The Augusta resident plays Woodrow Wilson as a boy in an upcoming episode of the PBS series The American Experience.

A film crew from Los Angeles was in Augusta last week to film parts of the episode about Wilson, who spent most of his childhood in Augusta.

Wilson's father, the Rev. Joseph Ruggles Wilson, was pastor of Augusta's First Presbyterian Church from 1859 to 1870.

Woodrow Wilson was about a year old when his family moved to Augusta.

Tyler's mother, Chris Baum, said the filming was a chance for her son to brush up on the U.S. presidents.

"I think he knew George, Abe and Clinton" before his acting debut, she said.

Tyler, a second-grader at South Columbia Elementary School in suburban Augusta, searched for information on Wilson on the Internet to prepare for the filming.

"It's been exciting," he said.

The three-hour documentary, which will air this fall or in the spring of 2002, will trace Wilson's life, including events in his childhood that played a role in his adult life and his decisions as president.

The Augusta scenes will be shown in the first five to 10 minutes of the program, said co-producer Richard Kassebaum.

"Most important was the relationship he had with his father, Joseph, and how he influenced Woodrow," Kassebaum said. …

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