The Grand Strand will be on national display as two reality shows filmed in the area last year premiere on Thursday night.
New reality television series “Party Down South – filmed partially at Kings Krest in Murrells Inlet – premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday on CMT. Back for its second season, “Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor” – filmed partially at Patrick’s Mobile Home Park in Myrtle Beach – premieres on TLC, also at 10 p.m. Thursday.
“Las Vegas has had TV shows about it for decades,” said Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea. “Hawaii has had TV shows and movies about it. It must be Myrtle Beach’s turn.”
Cecil Patrick, owner of Patrick’s Mobile Home Park and a cast member on “Myrtle Manor,” said aside from the few people who won’t like the show no matter how it does, he feels most residents who were concerned about the image the show would portray have come around.
“It’s really nice to see the attitudes changing,” he said.
Some Grand Stranders still stand firmly against “Myrtle Manor,” while folks in Murrells Inlet are adamantly against “Party Down South.”
Murrells Inlet resident Branden Burkhart is looking forward to the premiere of “Party Down South,” even though the commercials show a more country side of the inlet.
“It might show a different vibe from the one people want to portray, but I think (the show) will bring people in,” Burkhart said.
County Councilman Jerry Oakley, who fought to allow the filming during the summer, will be tuning into CMT.
“I don’t watch a lot of TV – other than baseball and basketball – but, like everyone else, I’m pretty curious about what the show will be so I might as well watch it.”
Surfside Beach resident Shane Osbourne said he doesn’t know anyone who’s watched “Myrtle Manor.”
“I have more interest in watching people buy groceries with coupons than to see life in a trailer park,” he said on The Sun News’ Facebook page.
Both shows received initial backlash from their local communities, which prompted both Horry and Georgetown counties to consider filming regulations.
Filming of CMT’s “Party Down South” made waves last summer, prompting Georgetown County Council to discuss and pass a filming ordinance that regulates the time, manner and place associated with future filming efforts along the Waccamaw Neck.
The ordinance was a response to the public backlash against CMT’s filming at Kings Krest, an old waterfront home on the marsh. Several residents complained to council about the noise, trash and obscene language coming from the cast and crew, and many pleaded for council’s intervention for weeks.
The new ordinance requires any film permits to pay a $1,000 fee per application and should be submitted at least 45 business days prior to filming. The county administrator and county sheriff have enforcement capabilities, and protections are in place against light pollution.
Horry County is also working on a filming ordinance with similar regulations as Georgetown’s law, but some officials say the long time period could be problematic for film companies.
Adam Emrick, senior planner with Horry County, said the ordinance would dissuade any type of filming along the Grand Strand, which brings in money and business.
“Every group that has seen this, from the film industry, has said that that is going to completely ruin any chance of getting film here in the county,” Emrick has said.
Horry County is currently working on a draft of the ordinance.
Bringing business to town
Patrick said at the height of summer, more than 100 cars would ride through the trailer park to purchase a souvenir or snag a picture or autograph with a cast member.
The park has seen visitors from every state and a number of foreign countries since opening up to the public last spring.
“ ‘Myrtle Manor,’ also known as Patrick’s Mobile Home Park, has received a tremendous amount of visitors,” Kruea said. “It is a form of advertising that surely has some benefits.”
Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brad Dean has spoken against the representation of the area he said “Myrtle Manor” portrays since the show first aired last spring.
“However, these shows do have the power to attract a small and loyal following,” he said. “And while this could bring out a few curiosity seekers, we don’t anticipate any measurable economic impact on tourism.”
Inlet Affairs Catering in Murrells Inlet, owned by Al Hitchcock, provided food to the crew and cast of “Party Down South,” for 30 contracted days – a move regarded as traitorous by some Murrells Inlet residents who were protesting area business involvement.
“It was just a job for us,” Hitchcock said. “We kept six people working for 30 days. Over at Inlet Affairs, we don’t get a lot of catering opportunities in July and August, so this was a good thing for business.”
An adamant supporter of the filming from the beginning, Hitchcock said he welcomes future filming efforts to the area because they pump money into local sources and boost the economy.
“Anything that brings people to the area, or any kind of show that mentions Murrells Inlet or Myrtle Beach, is good for us,” Hitchcock said. “There’s no such thing as bad publicity, other than the obituary page and indictment page.”
Patrick and many of the “Myrtle Manor” cast members will be at the Boathouse Waterway Bar and Grill in Myrtle Beach on Thursday and be hosted by Tommy and Abbi of WAVE 104.1’s T&A Morning Show.
The party will feature a show trivia game before a screening of the second season premiere at 10 p.m.
There are no official “Party Down South” viewing parties along the Waccamaw Neck, but Hitchcock will be watching the premiere at his own leisure. He expects others to tune in as well, even those who were against the filming, if out of nothing else but curiosity.
“I just want to see how it came out,” Hitchcock said.