In February 2020 Ashcroft entered the Twilight Zone, when an episode of the CBS All Access TV series was filmed in the town. Now a unique prop that played a major role in the show has been permanently gifted to the community.
Most of the episode, entitled “A Small Town”, was filmed in Ashcroft, and detailed events in Littleton, where things have gone downhill after the sudden death of the town’s popular mayor. Her grieving husband finds a scale model of the town, which is perfect down to the tiniest detail, including potholes in the roads and garbage on the sidewalk.
He soon finds that whatever he does to the model happens in the town. When he fills in a pothole, its real-life counterpart disappears. When he uproots a dead tree, it disappears in real life. After he paints the outside of the diner on the model, the actual diner suddenly sports a coat of new peach paint.
However, as in many episodes of the show, what can be used for good can also be used for darker purposes. When the former mayor’s would-be successor learns about the model, he has other plans for it, resulting in a battle for control of the seemingly magical item.
The scenes featuring the model — which measures 87 inches by 45 inches by 15 inches high, and features working lights — were filmed in North Vancouver, so the actual model was never in Ashcroft during the shoot. However, in February of this year Ashcroft Chief Administrative Officer Daniela Dyck received an email out of the blue from the production company.
“Whitney Friesen, the prop buyer from the company, said that due to COVID-19 they had been holding on to all the props in case they did another episode, but that they had been advised by the head office in Los Angeles to disperse all the props,” she says.
“Friesen said that when the model was being built and during production they thought how cool it would be to eventually give the model to the village. She specifically offered us the model, saying they didn’t want to dismantle it and really wanted to give it to the community, because they really enjoyed it here.
“They felt that the community really embraced them, and that it was a good thing to give back.”
Dyck says she thinks the company felt it could be a museum piece, and that the village happily accepted the offer of the model, even though it was unclear whether or not there would be room at the museum for it.
“We don’t know where it will go yet. If the museum isn’t the ideal place then we’ll find somewhere else.”
The crated model arrived late last month, and has been unpacked and placed in the council chambers for the time being.
“I think it’s a nice piece to have brought back to the community, because the town really embraced the crew and the filming,” says Dyck.
“And it’s such a key piece of the episode, so it’s nice to have it given to us. It also lends itself to tourism, for the movie and TV buffs. We’ve had so many things filmed here, so we can start marketing that and bringing people here.”