Losing second season of '1923' a disappointment for Butte businesses and actors

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Posted at 9:18 AM, May 23, 2024

BUTTE — Not too long ago, the floor of the Butte Civic Center was full of sets as a sound stage for the "1923" television series. Well, that production has since left Butte and moved to Texas and economic leaders, as well as local artists and actors, say they’re going to miss it.

“Quite frankly, it’s very disappointing and disappointing in the fact that the legislature voted out the tax credit that would have been very beneficial to the production,” said Butte Civic Center Manager Bill Melvin.

The Montana Legislature last year voted down extending tax credits to incentivize the television and movie industry to film in the state. Some believe this is why the "1923" production decided to film the second season in Austin, Texas instead of Butte.

“It almost felt like when they were here it was almost like college was in session because the town was so bustling, and then it was very obvious when they stopped filming,” said actress and Director of the Anaconda Ensemble Theatre Jackie Vetter.

It isn’t just lost work for local actors and extras; some believe it had a major impact on Butte’s economy when the film crew was here in 2022.

“It hit everybody in a positive way. It was fresh money in Butte,” said Melvin.

Actress Melanie Rae Wendt of Butte worked as an extra on the product and said it’s heartbreaking to see it go.

“For many businesses in Butte, they saw a huge economic boost. I mean, shoot, Helen Mirren went to our Walmart—like, that couldn’t have done anything but boost our economy,” said Wendt.

Even nearby Anaconda benefited.

“I went into the Black Dog when they were doing production and they were in there daily looking for props and things so it was impacting not only Butte’s local economy, but southwest Montana as a whole,” said Vetter.

The loss of "1923" will not discourage local artists.

“We’re going to keep making movies. We have too many talented people in the acting community, in the costuming and makeup communities, screenwriting, directing, we have way too many talented people here to not continue to make movies,” said Wendt.