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An Inside Look at the First Episode of Dukes of Hazzard: One Armed Bandits


“Welcome to Hazzard County!”

Who misses following the action-packed adventures of Bo and Luke Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard? We sure do! Since the very first episode, “One Armed Bandits,” audiences fell madly in love with these country boys and their heart-racing car chasing scenes. Even though this idolized show has ended, we can still reflect on the hilarious moments together. Especially to take a gander at the famous classic orange 1969 Dodge Charger nicknamed, “The General Lee.”



The Dukes of Hazzard’s pilot episode “One Armed Bandits,” opens to cousins Bo, Luke and Daisy Duke chasing down Sheriff Rosco Coltrane’s patrol car. Little did they know that Cooter Davenport had stolen the Sheriff’s vehicle. Plot twist! He wrecks the patrol car and they all discover the Sheriff’s car is full of illegal slot machines. Cooter explains to Bo and Luke that Rosco is bringing the illegal slots into Hazzard County to fund his re-election.

Some Duke fans may spot a familiar face in this pilot episode-Dennis Haskins, who played the part of Moss. Most people know him as Bayside’s beloved principal from Saved by the Bell. He was also, featured in other episodes in different roles.

Bo and Luke devise a plan to hijack a truckload of the illegal slot machines heading to Hazzard County and use the proceeds to donate to the local orphanage. Now you may think, “Good, they’re messing up Rosco’s chance for re-election!” but that’s not quite what happens…they actually donate the proceeds in his name to ensure his re-election and stop the corrupt opponent.

Good ole, Rosco tries to nail the boys and their pretty cousin Daisy for stealing his slots, but he was too late. The proceeds were already in the orphanage bank account. To make matters worse…or better…they donated the funds in his name, thus securing his re-election. Talk about some major brownie points for that ole dirty rascal…I mean…Rosco!

The Duke boys were with us in Covington Georgia for seven seasons and we all wished they stayed with us longer. It’s a good thing that they will be a little bit closer to us than you think. The Hollywood of the South TV & Film Museum [the very first in Georgia] will be adding a part from the Dukes of Hazzard series very soon. So, y’all don’t need to fret! What an amazing tribute to this Southern classic TV series. Stay tuned…

This Year Marks the 15th Anniversary of “Sweet Home Alabama”

This Year Marks the 15th Anniversary of “Sweet Home Alabama”

Can y’all believe that this classic Southern film is 15 years old this year? Sweet Home Alabama premiered in 2002 and has stayed in our hearts since then. The very first scene in the film captured us right away. Especially when Dakota Fanning’s character asks the younger Jake why he wanted to marry her and he famously replies, “So I can kiss you anytime I want.” Let’s look back at this iconic film and reminisce on the reasons why we love this film.

Sweet Home Alabama has a lot of big named actors and actresses, such as, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Candace Bergen, and Dakota Fanning. Most people just assume that this film was filmed in Alabama, however; it was actually filmed in Georgia.

The film centers on Melanie Smooter who grew up in a rural Alabama town, then moved to New York City to start career in fashion designing. She lives a life of glitz and glam in New York City, running her fashion designing company and falling in love with her rich politician boyfriend. Patrick Dempsey plays her boyfriend and soon becomes her fiancé. After he pulls off the most perfect proposal, Melanie realizes she needs to go back home. Yet, the reason is not what we all think.

After arriving in her hometown, she immediately stops at her husband’s house and demands a divorce. We all didn’t see that coming! Josh Lucas plays the role of her husband. She goes to great lengths to persuade him to sign the papers. After spending more time in her hometown than she originally expected, she ends up planning to get married there.

Fun fact: The Smooter trailer home and the famous civil war reenactment scene were both filmed in Newton County.

She soon realizes that she can’t escape her past or her southern roots. Melanie stills gets the guy though! Who can forget the scene at her wedding where she punches Candice Bergan in the face? Sweet Home Alabama represents all of the great aspects of being Southern!

Reese Witherspoon acknowledged the 15th anniversary in her Draper James blog where she described her fondest memory. She said, “I loved shooting in rural Georgia…the people and the food brought me right back to my Southern roots. “ She also shared her favorite quote; “My favorite line is ‘You have a baby…in a bar!’” Who can forget that moment.

After 15 years, Sweet Home Alabama is forever instilled in our hearts and will continue to be a Southern classic!

From Podcast to Production: Folklore Depicted on Amazon’s Lore – Part Two

From Podcast to Production: Folklore Depicted on Amazon’s Lore – Part Two

In the last blog, we discussed the very first episode of Amazon’s Lore. This series that is based on folklore is perfect for a Halloween binge watch. Every episode of Lore is based on real people and events. Did you know that there are two more episodes of this series that was filmed in Newton County?

In the second episode of Amazon’s Lore, Echoes, we find ourselves viewing a disturbing scene. Dr. Walter Freeman is the father of the icepick lobotomy and the center of this episode. He believed that the ten-minute procedure of using the icepick lobotomy would end the need for people going to a mental hospital.

Freeman is obsessed throughout this episode with this procedure, yet it ends up backfiring. The audience gets a taste of how mental health patients were treated in the doctor’s offices and in society. The barbaric methods, like the icepick lobotomy used to “cure” the mentally ill are frightening and cruel.

Dr. Freeman’s office in Echoes was actually an upstairs bedroom of the Welanuee hotel in Porterdale, GA.

The next episode of Amazon’s Lore that was filmed in Newton County is the fifth episode, The Beast Within. Yes, this is the werewolf episode!

The oldest werewolf legend dates back to about 2,000 years ago. The one story that this episode sheds a light on is the famous fairytale story, Red Riding Hood. Greta plays “Red Riding Hood” and lives with her father in Bedburg, Germany. She is attacked by a wolf as a young girl, but defeats it by piercing its’ paw.

She was the only one who escaped the wolf. Years later, the town is still plagued by the wolf. The townspeople become fearful that they will never catch the wolf. One evening, the wolf attacks two people and enrages the townspeople. Greta’s father and the other men go hunt the beast. Greta is left with the town’s leader, Peter Stubbe for her protection. Little does she know that he is the beast, himself…

 This episode is set in Germany in the 16th century and the German town was none other than our local historic Porterdale, GA. The Welanuee hotel was used for this German town.

Stream Amazon’s Lore tonight and stay in for a spooky adventure! Who knows..it might scare you more than you think. Also, check out more of our blogs!

From Podcast to Production: Real Folklore Depicted on Amazon’s Lore-Part One

From Podcast to Production: Real Folklore Depicted on Amazon’s Lore-Part One

In our previous blogs about Amazon’s Lore, we have discussed this highly anticipated series release with teasers. Now that this series is finally streaming on Amazon, can you spot some familiar sites in the very first episode?

In this episode, They Made A Tonic, we are introduced to George Brown of Rhode Island in 1882. George suffers tragic losses of his eldest daughter and his wife from “consumption”(known today as Tuberculosis).

Starsville plantation is the location that was used in this episode in the beginning. Look closely at the scene where George and his son, Edwin are talking. The Starsville plantation house can be seen in this scene from a distance.

Throughout this episode of Amazon’s Lore, George Brown tries save his only son from this deadly disease after his youngest daughter passes away from consumption as well. He begins to believe that a demon has taken over his dead wife and two daughters.

He and some other men decide to disturb their resting places so they can find out who has become apart of the undead. After they dug up Mercy Brown’s grave they observed that her body looked like it was still alive. The way she looked with fresh blood around her mouth speculated rumors that she was a “vampire.”

Did y’all notice that this episode of Amazon’s Lore featured the same headstones used in The Vampire Diaries?

The headstones are shown later on in the episode when the men dig up the graves of his wife and two daughter’s graves.

This episode of Amazon’s Lore discusses the beliefs of people during that time period. Ever heard of the term “saved by the bell” or of Dracula?

“Saved by the bell” started due to people being buried alive on accident, according to the Amazon’s Lore narrator. When Tuberculosis began to wreak havoc in New England during the 19th century, people were being mistaken “dead” and buried. If these people were alive, they could ring the bell that was placed in the coffin with them to be saved.

Amazon’s Lore, revealed at the end of the first episode that the story of George Brown ended up becoming one of the inspirations for Bram Strokers legendary novel, Dracula.

 Stay tuned for another blog about TWO other episodes of Amazon’s Lore that were filmed in Newton County too….



Jason Lives— Another Friday the 13th in the Hollywood of the South

It’s Friday the 13th again! Do you suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia? It’s the fear of this much-dreaded date. But this spooky and superstitious day is a cause for celebration in Covington, Georgia, otherwise known as the original Hollywood of the South®.

Covington/Newton County, Georgia is quite accustomed to the supernatural. This small-town film hub has welcomed a variety of horror productions to shoot in the area throughout the years, both for cable television and film studios. Not only is Covington a historic town filled with actual ghost stories and sightings, but Hollywood’s undead seem to be drawn to the community as well!

friday the 13th
Behind-the-Scenes Photo via Friday the 13th Franchise website

In 1985, our area welcomed the production of Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives as they filmed scenes in local wooded areas and shot nearby Hard Labor Creek as Camp Crystal Lake. The location at Hard Labor Creek is also a State Park offering camp sites and cabins, two lakes, a golf course, and a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, and more. This site is the perfect camping getaway at the real “Crystal Lake” for fans of the Jason franchise…if you dare!

And here’s a little Jason film trivia we found, just in time for Friday the 13th. Did you know that the undead main character, Jason Voorhees, was originally supposed to be named Josh? However, before the first film in the franchise began shooting, the name was changed to Jason.

For those who haven’t noticed, Jason’s character also continues to get taller with each sequel. Hollywood had to adapt the character to make him seem menacing, even with the size of the average man growing throughout the decades. These days, it’s not necessarily uncommon to pass a man as tall at 6ft walking down the street. The franchise began with Ari Lehman as the first Jason in Friday the 13th at 5ft 11in. By the time the Jason anthology reached the sixth sequel, filmed in Newton County, the actor who portrayed the undead serial killer was C.J. Graham at a staggering 6ft 3in. The latest actor to take on this role was Derek Mears in the 2009 reboot of Friday the 13th. Mears is 6ft 5in.

friday the 13th

The folklore behind Friday the 13th is interesting, due to the fact that the stories surrounding this famously unlucky day are all superstition. Century-old records make claims that the number 13 itself is unholy, and many Friday the 13th’s throughout history have seen truly horrific acts. Some of these Friday the 13th incidents include the bombing of Buckingham Palace on Friday, September 13th, 1940, A Chilean Air Force plane mysteriously disappearing in the Andes on Friday October 13th, 1972, and Tupac Shakur dying of his gunshot wounds on Friday, September 13th, 1996.

In 1976, New Yorker Daz Baxter was so terrified of Friday the 13th that he stayed in bed all day. Unfortunately, the floor of the apartment block collapsed that day, killing Mr. Baxter. However, tragic and unexplainable things happen around the world every day. So does this necessarily mean that the day itself is cursed?

This brings us to a very special and long-awaited announcement. Speaking of folklore, this day is also especially exciting to us in Newton County because today, Amazon Prime just released the entire first season of their new series, Lore. This new Amazon original series is based on the popular podcast by the same name, and filmed various episodes in Newton County as well. The Lore podcast series by Aaron Mahnke explores folklore behind supernatural beings and superstitions like vampires, possessed dolls, changelings, and more. This Amazon series is sure to be just as captivating, and we couldn’t think of a day more perfect than Friday the 13th to begin streaming!

So instead of hiding in bed all day, embrace this superstitious date and enjoy a little local film lore with us. Connect with us on social media and tell us which supernatural shows or films you’ll be watching, or how you’ll be getting through this unlucky day!

Economic Impact of Film Tourism in Newton County, Georgia

According to FilmL.A., Georgia is now recognized as the #1 filming location in the world.  The great tax incentives and dynamic landscapes have made the choice simple for production crews, and the economic impact on the state and camera-ready communities has paid off greatly. In 2016, Georgia’s tourism impact generated $61.1 billion in revenue and supported over 450,000 jobs!

In the last year, 320 productions have migrated to Georgia to shoot in various locations. Of these 320 productions, more than 10 have filmed in Covington and Newton County, Georgia, one of the first camera-ready communities in the state. However, the economic impact of film in our area relies on more than just these recent productions.

economic impact of film

Because Covington was shot on-location for popular TV series’ such as the Dukes of Hazzard, In the Heat of the Night, and The Vampire Diaries, fans visit the town frequently to step into the real-life set and backlot city that they know and love. “We love having a television show scout our area because of the longevity a series offers. Because they usually run for several seasons, fans will always want to visit the filming locations of their favorite TV shows,” says Newton County Tourism Director and Film Commissioner, Jenny McDonald. In fact, direct spending from tourists in Covington/Newton County increased by $60 million from 2002 to 2012! And the film legacy in Newton County has only continued to grow since then.

Covington is home to some of the most prominent locations used on-set of the CW’s The Vampire Diaries. Because the series grew in popularity throughout its eight seasons on the air, the volume of vampire fans and tourists visiting the area increased with every season. Over the past few years, the historic town square has welcomed a handful of trendy new restaurants and boutiques for both locals and tourists to enjoy.

economic impact of film

Additionally, Newton County offers a series of tours for guests to enjoy when they visit the area, especially for film tourism. Visitors can choose among self-guided location tours to see historic homes and sites from many local productions, on-location tours with Vampire Stalkers/Mystic Falls Tours, as well as Covington Ghost Tours for local, historic hauntings.

The Georgia Office of Tourism and Economic Development helped the Covington/Newton County Visitor’s Bureau develop the Undead Trail, along with partnering cities,  which makes a necessary pit-stop in our community. Offering tours to our many visitors from all over the world is not only a great experience for our tourists, but also benefits the local economy. During last year’s Vampire Diaries Series Finale Party, over $2500 was raised for the county in just 3 hours from offering tours of the historic courthouse and clocktower.

economic impact of film
Visitors wait in line for attractions during the Friday Night Bites event in 2016

In 2016, tourism in Newton County generated a whopping $129.02 million in direct tourist spending, which was an increase of over $3 million dollars from 2015! The economic impact of film tourism last year also supported local payroll in excess of $23 million, and generated $3.70 million in local tax revenues. Not to mention, Newton County residents saw a significant tax break per household as a result of taxes generated by tourism economic activity.

We are interested to see how the local economic impact of film will be affected once the new Three Ring Studios opens in Covington. This studio will have three campuses and a soundstage for TV, film, and video game production, as well as an awesome backlot for production. These three campuses are currently under development, and the studio is sure to bring a host of new opportunities with it! Once Three Ring Studios is open for business, film capabilities in our community will expand from on-location shooting to whatever a director needs to complete his/her creative vision for a production. To learn more about the current development of this new production studio, follow Three Ring Studios on Facebook and Twitter.

From Podcast to Production: Stream the Series Based on Lore Podcast

Are you as excited as we are for Amazon’s Lore, the new original series by Amazon Video? We’ve been putting teasers in some very special blog articles regarding this upcoming series, based on the popular Lore podcast, as we prepare for the premiere on Friday, October 13th.

lore podcast
Production Photo by Jay Astudillo

All 6 episodes of Season 1 will be available for immediate streaming when Amazon Video launches Lore next month. The show is said to be intriguing to those who haven’t listened to Lore podcast, but there’s still plenty of time to tune in and catch up before this series is released! Additionally, the first book in Mahnke’s three-book series, The World of Lore, will be published on October 10th by Del Rey Books.

Since the launch of his Lore podcast in March 2015, the audio series was named “Best of” in 2015 and 2016 by Apple, and was listed as one of the “15 podcasts you need to hear in 2016” by Entertainment Weekly. So once this series goes from podcast to production, we are so excited to see how it performs on Amazon’s video streaming platform.

lore podcast
Production Photo by Jay Astudillo

So plan a spectacularly spooky movie date in October on Friday, the 13th to binge-watch this new horror series, just in time for Halloween. Tune in with us to watch Amazon’s Lore, and let us know what YOU think about this locally-lensed series afterward!

The Best Places in Mystic Falls to Journal for National Dear Diary Day

Dear Diary…

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In the beginning of the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, teenage love is sparked between young Elena Gilbert and vampiric Stefan Salvatore as the show reveals their innermost fears and desires through journaling. The first episode gives us a glimpse inside the minds of both characters, and also gives us the first inkling of how perfect they both seem to be for each other.

Stefan: “Don’t worry, I didn’t…read it.”

Elena: “No? Why not? Most people would have.”

Documenting one’s life in a personal diary is a huge theme recurring throughout the series, as Elena writes in a diary throughout every season of the show. Various episodes also mention specific passages in Stefan’s diary, as well as the old journals of Johnathan Gilbert from the 1800’s.

If you’re a juggernaut for journaling, what better place could there be to relax with a little bit of writing in the real location of fictional Mystic Falls? Today, channel your inner “Stelena” by enjoying the best places in Mystic Falls to journal for National Dear Diary Day:

The Best Places in Mystic Falls for National Dear Diary Day:


Square Park
best places in mystic falls

The park on the square in Downtown Covington is the one location in town you can visit time after time, and feel like you are really sitting in Mystic Falls. Many scenes and Mystic Falls events were filmed right on our square that feature the exterior of our storefronts and boutiques as well as the iconic historic clocktower. Visitors can enjoy the view from the Square Park any time of day, and it’s the perfect spot to collect your thoughts, and jot them down while soaking up the southern sunshine.


Southview Cemetery
best places in mystic falls

This location isn’t necessarily our first choice for a journaling locale, but if you really want to channel your inner Elena, take your diary to South View Cemetery and enjoy the peace and quiet among the many headstones that litter the landscape there. Many “cemetery” scenes in The Vampire Diaries were filmed at this local site as well! So, it’s the perfect spot, just off the square, for a die-hard Diaries fan.


Turner Lake Recreation Complex
best places in mystic falls

Another scenic, peaceful place to enjoy a little personal journaling is at our local Turner Lake Recreational Park. The Turner Lake Complex is conveniently located about a mile from the square, and offers a multitude of walking trails and shaded areas where you can hang a hammock or take a blanket for your afternoon of soul-searching. We recommend finding a spot right next to the lake, which is why this recreational park is one of the best places in Mystic Falls to enjoy some journaling!


Factory Shoals Park
best places in mystic falls

Another incredibly peaceful site for diary-writing could be at Factory Shoals Park on the outskirts of Newton County. The shoals provide the perfect location for personal meditation as the water mellifluously runs over the rocks. This beautiful nature park, situated along the Alcovy River, contains over 450-acres for your diary-writing endeavors. The park is a haven for picnickers, fishermen, campers, swimmers, hikers, rafters, nature lovers, AND journalers.


So what are you waiting for? Grab your diary, and get over to Covington, Georgia -AKA- Mystic Falls to enjoy the sights and attractions while writing in your diary. If all your soul searching works up an appetite, try one of many Hollywood-themed menu options in Downtown Covington. Our community is the premier location in Georgia to experience history, hauntings, Hollywood, and happiness!

From Podcast to Production: Teasers from Behind-the-Scenes of Lore

In our previous article about the exciting new Amazon Video original series, Lore, we talked about how the panel of producers will bring the popular podcast to life on the small screen. But what did all of this have to do with Covington and Newton County, Georgia? We’re thrilled to add this new Lore series to the growing list of productions to have filmed in our camera-ready community.

Earlier this summer, Amazon’s filmmaking crews came to Newton County to set up shop at Starrsville Plantation in unincorporated Starrsville, and the historic Welaunee Hotel in Porterdale as two major film locales. The exterior of the Welaunee was transformed into a German Village for one of the episodes.

According to a recent article by the local Covington News, “The hotel’s facade [was] modified from its fake Tudor architecture to the half-timber architecture of the 16th century. Freight containers positioned on the front parking lot of the hotel were dressed as other storefronts to create a German village street scene, complete with vegetable stalls and wooden carts.”


Photo via the Covington News
Scene Featuring the Welanuee Hotel After its Transformation (Production Photo by Jay Astudillo)

Additionally, the second floor of this historic inn was shot as an insane asylum for another episode. A historically preserved Boy Scout outpost in Porterdale was also used as a location for the series. According to crew members, the frequent rain and persistent mosquitoes this summer didn’t deter this project from being a blast to work on.

Production Photo by Jay Astudillo


Here’s a fun fact: One of the episodes of Lore features a cemetery while filming at local Starrsville Plantation. One of our connections with this production crew told us that the headstones you see in this scene are the same headstones used in many various episodes of The Vampire Diaries!



Because Covington is already a popular film hub for supernatural sagas like The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, and Sleepy Hollow, it couldn’t be a more perfect location to depict this series that explores the mythology behind vampires, werewolves, changelings, séances, and possessed dolls, etc.

By the way, a brand new trailer featuring scenes of the six episodes just dropped this week. Check it out:

Stay tuned for another upcoming blog about this spooky new series as we prepare to watch in October on Friday the 13th!

Georgia’s On-Location Sensation: The Local Guide for a Location Scout

There are three things that matter in production: Location, location, location.

location scout

This phrase is a twist on the famous quote by English real estate tycoon, Lord Harold Samuels. He believed that location is the most essential thing about a property. Much like Lord Samuels, location is also a very important aspect of production when it comes to authenticity and preserving the “fourth wall.”

The challenge of being a film location scout is finding the closest representation to the vision a director has for the setting of their production. If the project requires a cottage-style home with a view from the street and wooded areas in the background, how do you find this needle in the proverbial haystack?

The Newton County Guide for a Location Scout

location scout

Newton County, Georgia is a hidden treasure when it comes to location scouting, conveniently located about 35 miles from Downtown Atlanta, and tucked away in the pines. The community is home to many small-town historic municipalities, with Covington being the largest and most-visited. Other cities within the county include Porterdale, Oxford, Mansfield, and Newborn. Our county is among one of the longest-standing camera-ready communities in the state, with the very first local production completed on-location in 1954 with A Man Called Peter.

Since the 1950’s, we’ve welcomed over 100 productions to Newton County and certain locations in our area have doubled as New Orleans, Alabama, Virginia, Mississippi, and Germany, just to name a few. The county contains a wide range of landscapes, including rural farms and plantations, historic antebellum homes, and a small-town metropolis with a quaint town square that can be transformed into a variety of different places.

Location scouts and crew love this area because we are so well-established in the film industry and can easily attain the necessary resources and film permits. It also doesn’t hurt that the area offers many different types of architecture that could be requested for an on-location production. Do you need a 70’s ranch style home surrounded by woods? We’ve got it. Does your production require a historic home preserved from the 1800’s? We’ve got it. Are you searching for a loft apartment in the city? We’ve got that, too.

So, if you’re a location scout seeking the perfect setting for a particular production, we recommend stopping by the original Hollywood of the South® to see what our camera-ready community has to offer!