Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throw Back/Go Back Thursday

When Gonzo was about five years old, he had an opportunity to appear in a movie as an extra. Filmed locally, all of East Tennessee turned out to try to be extras. Both Gonzo and Magoo got a chance to do it (Juggernaut and Magoo would be in the next movie in the series; double whammy).

Gonzo thought the extra gig was so cool, but not for the reasons you might think. The boy didn't care one iota about movies or television specifically. He really loved the costume and the potential to earn money. To him, they were paying him a million dollars. Actually, I think he got a little over $100, but when you are used to getting $1 for allowance when, and if, your Mom remembers to give it to you ...$100 might as well be a million. Magoo wasn't making $100 a day doing anything in high school, so...yay! As I recall, he was pretty psyched, too.

The day of the shoot arrived and I got Gonzo up early (5 a.m.)  to shower and get out the door. Magoo was bleary eyed, having watched television a little too late the night before. We arrived at the set early in the morning and he went straight to the costuming people. The first thing the costumer did was to dirty up his hands and nails; he gave me a disapproving look. He's a bit of a clean freak. 

The heat was stifling and shade was nowhere to be found once they got to the set. 

In this particular movie, set in the early 1800s, there was a town near a river and Gonzo got to be on a barge on a river in his "scene;" the same barge that you see on the cover above. A lady played his mother and they both boarded the barge and it began to float down the river. The director told him to run to the front of the boat and climb up on the bales of cotton. The ledge on the boat looked so narrow - and the water was real! I questioned my maternal instincts and thought about The Twilight Zone and Vic Damon. Meanwhile, Magoo was an extra who walked the street (over and over again). Not nearly as exciting for Magoo, but I was still excited for them.

In between shootings, Gonzo and Magoo would sit with me in the hot sun. Gonzo was wearing a linen shirt and a wool jacket and cap; Magoo was dressed similarly but not in a wool jacket. Gonzo was red faced and sweating, so I told him to go ahead and take off the hat and jacket. The boy would not take them off because "the lady told me I had to wear this." He is that literal and has always been so. A kind staff member gave them popsicles (or else both boys would have melted).

We had hoped the guys would both have at least a minute in the final product but that didn't happen. There was a single time we saw Magoo, but no Gonzo. Still, it was pretty exciting to see them film and to have the kids be a part of it. All in all, they were on set about ten hours.

Gonzo flies by in "I Go Back"
On the way home, the casting director called and asked if Gonzo could be in a Kenny Chesney video. I asked what the song was going to be so I could look up the lyrics first. I know she thought I was a nut but hey - I'm the Mom. 

The song was "I Go Back," and it later became CMT's Video of the Year in 2005. 

Filmed at a local school, the part of the video Gonzo appeared in involved a playground. Three boys were on set and they became instance buddies for the day. This was a much more intimate group and Gonzo was pretty intrigued by the camera job or boom...I can't tell the difference and either can he. It was a camera lowered over the spinning merry-go-round. 

At one point, the director asked which boy was willing to sit on the center pole of the merry-go-round with outstretched arms while it was spinning. A camera was poised to film it from above. They all shook their heads in a mutual "no way!" Eventually, one brave soul's mother talked him into it. Gonzo still thought it looked dangerous and the kid seemed a little freaked out by his facial expression.

When the video was released, we were once again glued to the tube looking for Gonzo. His 15 minutes of fame was about 14 minutes and 45 seconds short - but we did see him. Boy, it doesn't take much to keep us happy. Grandma got a kick out of it, too. That's all we really wanted, in the end. 

Come to think of it, if something makes a good story, THAT'S all we want from it. 


24 comments:

  1. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    FYI - I needed to go looking for your post again today :(

    It's cool that your sons got work as extras in movies and in a video. Many movies have been made in the greater Tampa Bay Area over the years including Cocoon, Edward Scissorhands, China Moon and Spring Breakers.

    I admire you for getting involved and attending the shoots. Movie making isn't all glitz and glamour, especially for extras. It can involve hours of preparation, hours of waiting, hours of hard work and, as you described, hours spent in discomfort or even danger. The Twilight Zone movie in which Vic Morrow and two children were killed when a helicopter fell on them is a grim reminder. Mrs. Shady and I recently watched a report about a production assistant who couldn't get off a bridge in time and was struck and killed by a speeding train. Returning to my point, an extra goes through a lot to earn his money and he or she is lucky to get a few seconds of screen time out of it. I'm happy to know that Gonzo and Magoo made it through their acting gigs safely and regard them as positive experiences.

    Happy Thursday, dear friend Cherdo!

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    1. Dern dern dern. I went back and played with the picture sizes till it appeared in the reader. The most frustrating thing of all is that I don't know why it isn't showing up, even when I get it fixed. I can't put my finger on what I am doing wrong - or right. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

      I'll send you an email sometime today with a little more info on this...it's a funny story, but I never mention names unless I've cleared it with all parties, so I can't post on the blog. I'm trying to KEEP the friends I have currently.

      The main struggle the boys had on the movie set was the heat. Gonzo is the ultimate rule follower and has been so since birth. You can count on him doing exactly what you said (or what he thought you said). Adults LOVE him for that, ha ha.

      It's rainy and yucky here - hope it looks better in Shadyland. Have a good day, friend!

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  2. And a wonderful opportunity to able to be in a movie. Very exciting especially for a young child!

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    1. We homeschool and I turned this into a lesson: what you see on television and in the movies isn't real - ever! After this, he totally understood that. It was fun, though

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  3. My wife and two kids were in the movie 'King of the Hill'. My wife had five seconds of fame. My son about one minute total. But my daughter managed to make to the first tier background group. So we spent the whole movie going, 'THERE SHE IS AGAIN!".

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    1. That is exactly how we react to the videos and movie. My older two boys are in the very last moments of American Zion, working in the background. Blink and you miss it, but we always point it out.

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  4. That is so cool. And he can show those later in life. I worked with an actress in my 20s...she would take off work to go to movie sets for the day. She was telling me how hard extra work is--you stand around all day and you don't get the star treatment of hanging out in a trailer. They don't feed the extras as well, either, she said! I thought that was strange.

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    1. You know I'm dying to know which actress now - you have to email me, Stephanie (ha ha).

      The boys got fed and were treated well; it was just hot. And the older boys were in another flick that filmed on the hottest day of the year, I think. And they had facial hair glued on their face, etc. I think that is why that was the last one they did.

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  5. That is so cool! When I was little I had always wanted to be in a movie or TV show for a tiny role. :)

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    1. They all got a blink of "fame" (not). It still was fun.

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  6. What a great family story. Your boy's a star!

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    1. All three had the opportunity: Gonzo in the music video, Magoo in Pillar of Light and American Zion and Juggernaut in American Zion (and no, we are not Mormon...just coincidental...ironically, we are related to Joseph Smith).

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  7. What fun. Jilda and I were asked to me in a Jo El Soniet video once.i didn't make the final edit but they had two or three clips of Jilda. It was a really fun day.
    Rick

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    1. I'll have to look for that one! I can wave and say "Hi, Jilda! "

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  8. I've never seen the movie but I grew up with country music. My mom put on CMT every morning so I have seen a ton of videos! I think it's awesome they had the chance to do something like that, but I also think it's awesome that I watched that music video years ago and here I am now, talking to the mother of a star!

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  9. That was a great experience for the guys! I'm glad it worked out.

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  10. I'm sure it's a memory he'll never forget.

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  11. When I was teeny tiny I played Lucille Ball's newborn baby. I don't remember it at all!!

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  12. That will be an experience to be remembered, maybe not the heat part haha You expected bad lyrics from a country song? haha

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  13. Where is my comment? Why does this happen to me? I just wrote a brilliant comment, and it's gone. I always think of Hemingway's wife losing his manuscript. Who wouldn't use carbon paper?

    Love,
    Janie

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  14. That is cool!

    I had three moments of fame. One, I was sleeping in a hallway at IPFW when the cameras shot footage for a story (See that wad of garbage there on the side? That's me!)

    Second was we decided to go to a hair salon when they were raising money for something, and to my horror I was bound in a chair when the camera crew rolled in.

    Third, I got interviewed as one of the first people in town to watch the controversial movie (for us), Showgirls. I had calls on that one before I got home.

    Oh, and I almost ran over a local weatherman doing an on-site at Krogers once.

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  15. That is pretty cool that your sons took part in a movie and a video. This is for the memory books and to always find that video and movie. I always had a secret desire to be in a movie as an extra

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo