St. Louis on the Air
4:42 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Residents Of Missouri's Arcadia Valley Hope TV Show Will Boost The Region's Tourist Economy

Author Jason Mott.
Credit Michael Becker

Some rural Missouri fans of the ABC television show “Resurrection” had a special viewing party of last night's season finale. Residents of Arcadia, Pilot Knob and Ironton (which make up the Arcadia Valley) watched the season finale with actor Kevin Sizemore and Jason Mott, the author of the book on which the show is based.

“It was a terrific crowd,” said Mott. “The whole weekend I got to interact with everyone in the town, and they were just as warm and welcoming as I could have ever hoped for.”

Mott’s debut novel, “The Returned” was on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists within a month of its August 2013 publication date. Then Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, picked up the novel for adaptation into a television series. By March, the show was viewed by millions.

While some authors are wary of giving up control of their work, Mott said he views the show as separate from his novel, and is pleased with what Plan B has done.

A discussion about the small communities in Missouri’s Arcadia Valley that are attempting to revitalize themselves, piggybacking off of the success of ABC television show, “Resurrection.”

“I’m always most excited about the book-to-film adaptations where they don’t just copy and paste but they also give you something new and different in addition to staying true to the spirit of the original project. And I think that’s what Plan B has done. If you’ve read ‘The Returned’ and you come to the television series, you’re able to find something new and exciting. And vice-versa, for people that watched the series and now want to read the book, they can come to the book and find something new but also familiar as well,” said Mott.

An Opportunity for Revitalization

While “Resurrection” is set in Arcadia, Missouri, it is filmed in Georgia because Georgia offers better tax incentives to the film industry. Still, residents of the Arcadia Valley, located 90 miles south of St. Louis, see the name recognition provided by the show as an opportunity to help boost their tourist and business economy.

The town’s business leaders rallied together and contacted ABC and Harlequin Books, said Darwin Rouse. In response, ABC allowed Arcadia to premiere the show in the town’s theater three days before it aired on television. Harlequin sent Jason Mott out for the finale. And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article about the town that was picked up by the Associated Press.

“So now the whole world knows about Arcadia, Missouri,” said Rouse. He and his wife own Arcadia Academy, a bed and breakfast located in a former school turned convent.

The valley’s economy used to be based on the area’s lead deposits. But after the lead disappeared, so too did the jobs. Instead, the economy became more tourist based, providing services to visitors of Johnson’s Shut-Ins and Elephant Rocks. The region took another hit in 2005 when the floods closed down Johnson Shut-Ins for a year.

The hope is that now that the word is out about Arcadia, more people will stop by the town when they visit the state parks.

“There are great barbecue places, there’s entertainment down there, there’s a historic downtown. So we have a lot of awesome pieces that we can leverage around this,” said Rouse. “And we have great residents and great people down there that are committed to doing it.”

St. Louis on the Air provides discussion about issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh.

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