‘Watchmen’ episode shown on HBO featuring downtown Cedartown

The re-creation of a riot was practiced over and over again on May 30, 2018, for full filming later on May 31, 2018, in Cedartown.

CEDARTOWN — A two-day event filmed on Memorial Day 2018 which re-created a historic riot in downtown Cedartown was finally shown off in the opening minutes of HBO’s newest series premiere “Watchmen” on Sunday night, Oct. 21.

Set in the world of Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the same title but not following the set storyline already in place thanks to a 2009 film adaptation, it places viewers in an alternate reality America that starts off with the 1921 race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Cedartown took part in the shoot as part of the recreation of the 1921 Tulsa race riot, which took place 97 years ago almost to the day that the production wrapped up locally.

Those who watch carefully will notice in the first minutes of the premiere episode the A.C. Cobb building standing out in a brief shot that includes a biplane flying overhead and mayhem on Main Street below.

Cedartown was chosen due to the architecture of one of the buildings downtown which closely matched a theater in Tulsa destroyed during the riot.

More than 300 extras were brought downtown for filming, and streets were shuttered for a full 48 hours to accommodate the crews. Most businesses also remained closed for the two-day shoot.

In real life, the Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa suffered greatly at the hands of rioters during and after Memorial Day 1921, when a black shoe shiner named Dick Rowland was accused of assaulting white elevator operator Sarah Page. After his flight from the scene and subsequent arrest featured in local newspaper coverage of the day, crowds of whites gathered in front of Tulsa’s courthouse demanding Rowland be turned over, which prompted a response from black residents of Greenwood.

The fight that broke out and sparked the three-day riots in Tulsa saw hundreds killed and injured, and millions of dollars of property destroyed.

That riot opens the series, but the focus of the “Watchmen” series is on present day Tulsa in an alternate reality, where the heroine, played by Regina King, grows up in Saigon which is an American state following the close of a U.S. victory in Vietnam. The first episode follows the heroes’ efforts to help masked police officers fight against a white supremacist group in Tulsa.

Joining King on the cast are veteran stars Don Johnson, Jeremy Irons, Tim Blake Nelson and Louis Gossett Jr. among others.

HBO’s “Watchmen” returns to the small screen with the second episode of the first season on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 9 p.m.

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