In Haralson, tours are offered each weekend for fans to enter the barn that was the scene of an ambush. They can hold an M16 out the same window as one Walking Dead actor did.
Other tours are offered in Atlanta, where a memorable scene from the show’s first season was filmed atop the roof of the old Norfolk Southern headquarters on the southern edge of downtown. Another key scene – a massive battle involving dozens of walkers and a military tank – took place in the Fairlie-Poplar Historic District.
On a recent Saturday in Grantville, visitors gathered at Station 22 Grill, as groups do every Saturday, to watch the “Clear” episode, the 12th in the show’s third season. Production crews blocked off Main Street for 15 days for filming.
Many townspeople know the dialogue by heart. A dishwasher behind the bar mouths the words: “You said that you would turn on your radio every day at dawn. … And you were not there!”
When the episode ends, more than 50 people gather around Sells. He leads them around town and then inside a second-story apartment, the hideout used by one of the characters in the show. The walls are covered with chalk-drawn rantings as they were during filming. The small-animal cages, used to hold rabbits and other bait for walkers, and a couple of rifles are there, too.
On this day, tourists from as far as New York and Indiana are in the group. Jamie Silvey, 36, of Huntsville, Ala., said she had traveled to Georgia for three Walking Dead tours. She had already taken an Atlanta tour and planned to hit Senoia the next day. And Daniel Bradley of Warner Robins, Ga., said, “Once I found out all this was here, I just wanted to get a little piece of it.”
Sells said The Walking Dead and other filming have revived interest and optimism for Grantville’s future. He recalled how last month, actor Jim Carrey signed autographs and posed for pictures in Grantville after filming scenes for Dumb and Dumber To.
Now, Sells hopes The Walking Dead draws enough attention and visitors to Grantville that perhaps new businesses will locate there.
“We could use a grocery store, a drug store, a daycare,” the mayor said.
• WALKING DEAD TOUR: Free tours offered Friday and Saturdays in Grantville, Ga. Details: www.facebook.com/grantvillewalkingdead .