Murder was the subject of dinner theater, but it was larceny that became the subject on television. The Manchester Inn was the subject of of April 12, 2007 episode of Discovery Channel's "It Takes a Thief." One of the innkeepers, Clark, kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the overall experience.
On April 12, 2007, Discovery Channel aired the "Who Done It?" episode of It Takes a Thief, featuring The Manchester Inn in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. An acclaimed bed-and-breakfast, managed and also lived-in by Clark and Margaret, this inn plays host to a monthly "Murder Mystery Theater," which Jon Douglas Rainey and his accomplices found to be the perfect cover for a break-in. A risky move, they nevertheless made off with some valuable items, including two harps and important business documents. After the break-in, the hotel was fitted with powerful security tools in one of the program's largest renovations to date.
Clark was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions about the overall experience:
agent_0042: Approximately how long did the process of being on the show take, from when you were first contacted by producers to the final test of the security?
Clark: It was approximately 5 months from the first contact by the casting director to the final test.
agent_0042: At the beginning of each episode, Matt describes that producers convince the homeowners (or in this case, innkeepers) that they need to get robbed. What were some of the things that they said/did to reassure you that proceeding with the program was a good idea?
Clark: You meet with a lot of people who are instrumental in producing the show, including casting directors, segment directors and security experts. All have positive attitudes and I think if it wouldn't work they would be honest with the homeowner. They also ask a lot of questions about our day-to-day living and expectations, which they exceeded at our Inn.
agent_0042: Though what we see on the show is described as "for entertainment purposes" and is certainly edited to some degree, it sure looks real and no doubt feels real, seeing it both in person and on the closed-circuit cameras.. How would you describe the overall impact of the break-in and how would you describe the restoration process once it was all over?
Clark: The reactions you see are real. In your mind you know it is a show, but when it actually happens it is much more dramatic than anticipated. The companies they hire to install the various equipment are very professional. They work with the minimum of interference to your daily life.
agent_0042: Had you previously seen the program "It Takes a Thief" on the Discovery Channel before being invited to be on the show? Also, around what time did your episode film?
Clark: I watch the show every night. As a matter of fact, the director said he had never met someone who had seen as many episodes. We filmed at the beginning of February 2007.
agent_0042: Who did you like better --- Matt or Jon? Just kidding! But what was your overall impression of both of them, both as hosts and in other aspects of the program?
Clark: After the filming we went out as a group and they are the same off camera as you see on camera. Both have quick wits and they genuinely care about making the experience a learning one. They were personable and I could see them visiting us as a guest - invited of course!
agent_0042: The security on this episode was some of the most advanced and extensive seen on the program. The upgrades included dead-bolt locks on all of the hotel's many doors, key cards and scanners, special software to record check ins and checkouts and more. What would you say was your favorite security upgrade overall (just from a "coolness" standpoint) and which do you feel has / have been the most useful / helpful?
Clark: I was told that the security on this project was the most they have ever given. I think it was a challenge to see what they could do, or maybe because it was the end of the season they had extra money! (Agent0042's Note: This was apparently the second-to-last episode of the season, followed the next day by "Ladies on the Lake.") There are three items I think are great:
1.) The scanner for check-ins is a great device for establishing mail lists and repeat guest histories.
2.) Every entrance door got an alarm sensor, which they did not mention, as they felt they had done that a lot on other properties.
3.) My favorite is by far the camera system, which I can see 24/7.
agent_0042: One of the key concerns and focuses in the program was upgrading the security without making the inn appear uninviting. Based on what was shown on the program, this goal was accomplished quite nicely. How has it been working out for in the time since the program was filmed?
Clark: My guests are quite amazed that we have the card system for coming in after hours. They are very familiar with the systems as most work in offices which use this technology. They like the security aspect very much.
agent_0042: Your inn's website is very attractive and informative and has a lot of useful information about the inn. Anything else you would like our readers to know about it?
Clark: I think that the whole experience has made us aware of security on a daily basis, not just when there is a problem. We do the murder mysteries monthly, are open all year and are only 1 1/2 blocks from the beach! Come visit!
agent_0042: Thanks again for your time! The website is located at themanchesterinn.com and contains information regarding rates, a history of the hotel, a webcam and more.
Edit: This has now been mirrored in the Editor's Blog. Thanks, phf!
Edited on 04/14/2007 1:51pm
Edited 2 total times.
Edited 2 total times.