11/15/1982 at 01:00 AM EST
It took the Gold Rush of 1849 to put Murphys, Calif. (current pop. 1,183) on the map; CBS' Seven Brides for Seven Brothers may keep it there, even though the show is off to a slow start in the ratings. Since July, when the show's cast and crew settled into the town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the locals have been counting their blessings. Residents have signed on as $50-a-day extras, and some have rented their houses to the big spenders from televisionland. "We estimate," says unit production manager Tom Joyner, "that we have pumped $108,000 a week into the area."
And none too soon, either. Earlier this year, layoffs in the lumber and cement industries brought the area unemployment figure close to 20 percent. "I feel attached to this place," says Brides producer David Gerber, who first came to Murphys as a college student 30 years ago. "I have to see that the series doesn't hurt it. They're good people here, but you don't push them around." So far, Murphys doesn't feel pushed. "These TV people," says Floyd Harris of the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce, "seem like a nice clean-cut bunch."