Ferris merchants upset by ‘Walker’
By 11/09/2000 00:00:00
Ellis County Press Managing Editor
FERRIS - The Walker, Texas Ranger episode filmed in downtown Ferris didn't have a happy ending for residents whose businesses and homes reportedly were blocked by production personnel and equipment.
Told filming would be limited, Ferris residents didn't expect Amadea Film Productions to close streets and block businesses. The anger of adversely affected owners and residents isn't so much directed toward the popular TV show, though, as at the City of Ferris for either not having or enforcing guidelines for filming.
When residents objected or complained to the film crew, they were told, 'Well, your mayor said we could do it. Go speak to him.'
And that is exactly what several residents intend to go.
To gather evidence for Mayor Jimmie Birdwell and the Ferris City Council, a fact-finding meeting is scheduled Monday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Gazebo in Town Square. Documented complaints are welcome, according to Billy Haywood, owner of Hidden Treasures whose letter to the editor appears on page 3.
The meeting is not just for downtown merchants but residents around the rural part of the city - anyone affected by the activity. Mothers reportedly were delayed from picking up their children from daycare. Other residents were barricaded from their homes on Ferris Road that runs up to Lancaster Airport Road.
'If there are guidelines, someone should have been out there enforcing them,' Haywood told the Ellis County Press. 'We want the council to take an objective look and see what happened so it won't happen again. We just want them to address the issue.'
Ferris has no guidelines governing film crews. 'There's no need to put anything in writing,' Mayor Birdwell told the Ellis County Press, 'because each movie crew would want to do something different.'
Birdwell said Amadea did 'overstep' its agreement with the city. 'Some of the things I saw I didn't like,' he said.
Birdwell, who reportedly observed the filming on three days, further said Ferris Police Chief Jeff Cottongame was in charge of what was blocked off.
Haywood claims Mayor Birdwell told him beforehand no permission was given the film crew to block Main Street.
Hidden Treasures was asked to shut off its air conditioner for 15 minutes while a scene was shot. Two hours later, as filming continued, Haywood complained.
'I was told we are lucky it wasn't in July,' he said. 'They acted like the town belonged to them.'