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'Librarians' show invades downtown

A popular TNT show transforms several Forest Grove businesses

The crew used La Hacienda for a scene starring John Kim as Ezekiel Jones. They needed a university, a small-town feel, charming store fronts, a relatively compact setting and a Main Street they could sporadically close.

So they came to Forest Grove.

“They,” as any resident who came near downtown last week should know, is “The Librarians,” a popular TNT show starring Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Noah Wyle, John Larroquette, John Kim and Lindy Booth.

The stars came with a crew of about 100 who ducked under lights and past towering cameras, scurrying around the set as locals watched.

In the series, the actors play a team charged with guarding magic from evil hands.

But a different kind of magic came to some local merchants during the weeklong filming as their business soared, with help from the visitors. Other stores experienced more of a “disappearing customers” act. One thing was sure: the show brought a lot of energy and people downtown, including curious residents.

Perfect for ‘Anytown, USA’

“It’s pretty interesting to see what goes into making a scene,” said gawker Nathan Kincade. “It’s a lot bigger than you would expect.”

Peggy Webb came to town to drop off her daughter at Pacific University and stopped on Main Street Friday in hopes of getting a look at Christian Kane. “We loved him in ‘Leverage,’” she said.

The crew transformed Forest Grove into Cicely Island for one of the last episodes of season two, in which the main characters find themselves living ideal versions of their lives, most of them unaware of the magical world they are now immersed in. The episode will likely air in December.

Some scenes were filmed in local — albeit somewhat altered — establishments, including La Hacienda Ballroom, Metro Hairworks, Theatre in the Grove, Connie’s Corner Café and Pacific University.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Crew members of the TNT show The Librarians filmed in town last week, turning several well-known locations into a magical town for the show.

The crew turned La Hacienda — a Main Street building rented out for events — into a smoky bar for a scene starring John Kim as Ezekiel Jones. The design team completely transformed the space down to the menus, the pantry stocked with fake cans, the artwork on the walls and even the drapes, which the crew gave to La Hacienda after finishing.

All the business owners were compensated for their trouble.

“There needed to be a feeling of ‘Anytown, USA’ with these locations,” said David Wichert, Forest Grove resident and assistant location manager for the show. “I’ve always known that Forest Grove had a look that would lend itself to filming very easily.”

Traffic disruptions hurt some

The show is filmed throughout the Portland area, where more and more film crews have been finding themselves lately, taking advantage of a state rebate that offers 20 percent of the total money spent on Oregon-based goods and services.

Many shows such as “The Librarians” hire local crew members, such as prop professionals, costuming workers, boom operators, audio-visual specialists and caterers. NEWS-TIMES PHOTOS: TRAVIS LOOSE - The crew turned La Hacienda into a smoky bar with details down to the menus, a pantry stocked with fake cans, artwork on the walls and even the drapes, which the crew gave to La Hacienda after finishing.

Los Angeles is getting too expensive for a lot of productions, said Rachel Olschan of Electric Entertainment, the show’s production company. In addition, dealing with small-town businesses, police departments and cities is just so much nicer than negotiations in big cities, she said.

Olschan said they try to source most of their materials — paint, lumber, costumes, props — in Oregon.

Wichert had heard of other small productions that came to Forest Grove and were allowed to disrupt traffic flow for a few days so he pitched the location to his team.

The disrupted traffic and blocked parking caused business to dwindle at a few places.

The film crew members’ cars, for example, filled the gravel lot on 19th Avenue, where David Yim parks his Five Star Burgers trailer. He said business last week went way down and he didn’t sell a single burger to anybody working on the show.Cast and crew members hung around town all last week during filming, stopping in shops and visiting local establishments.

Sales were also way down at Linda’s Recreations, The Hidden Closet and Van Dyke Appliance. Becky Van Dyke had one customer turn around and go all the way back to her Timber home after she came to shop for appliances but couldn’t find anywhere to park. Van Dyke did say everyone on set was very polite, though.

Things were slower than usual for Becky Kramer at Urban Decanter, but she enjoyed having the show in town nonetheless, she said, and gave a bottle of her family’s wine to Noah Wyle, who graciously accepted it.

Crew orders 24 pizzas

A number of stores, however, saw their business boom.

“It’s been great for us,” said Karen Culp, who owns Corner Antiques and welcomed Noah Wyle and Christian Kane — “They’re both collectors,” she explained — as they browsed in her shop, along with steady visits from crew members throughout the week.

Culp said Wyle bought a toy for his son and Kane showed her employee some pictures of a project he was working on at his home.

“You understand you’re inconveniencing people so you want to put money into the local economy,” said John Rogers, one of the series’ developers who ate at the King’s Head Pub.

“We try to make a point to go around to local places to ease the blow,” said Mike Menlow, a lighting and prop guy on set. “And all week everyone has been nice to us.”

Pizza Schmizza owner Ron Bednar said he saw a boom in business. Tuesday night, he filled a crew member’s order for 24 pizzas. “Overall it’s been a big plus.” The film equipment was hard to miss last week scattered around town.

The start of the week had the Mike and Julie Olds, owners of Coffee House in the Grove, pretty nervous. The blocked parking and traffic disruption Monday brought them their worst day of business ever. A full week of that would’ve been devastating for their small, relatively new business.

Then the show’s managers opened a running tab and the couple rushed to keep the orders coming as crew members frequented the shop. The week ended up being a good one. “They’ve been patient and courteous,” Mike Olds said. “They’ve been real nice to work with.”

Valley Art volunteer Mary Stare was manning the shop Friday when one of the crew members came in and asked her to hold two pieces he wanted to buy. NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Crew members of the TNT show The Librarians filmed in town last week, turning several well-known locations into a magical town for the show.

Several crew members also mentioned how much they enjoyed going to Maggie’s Buns as well as Periscope Books, where they found a few rare books they’d been seeking for years. Members of the costume department also went shopping for vintage pieces at Heirloom Antiques.

“We like small towns,” Olschan said. “We’ve really enjoyed it.”

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Crew members of the TNT show The Librarians filmed in town last week, turning several well-known locations into a magical town for the show.