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Let’s get the corny joke out of the way…I’ve been doing overnight Stand In work on location at a 400 acre Horse Ranch in Hidden Valley (50 miles North West of Hollywood). Hidden Valley Ranch. There, are you happy?

Standing In for Actors pays more than being an Extra (the camera guys aim their lights at us). In 1975 I stood in for John Travolta on WELCOME BACK KOTTER (he was simultaneously shooting SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER in NY and KOTTER in LA). Feel free to watch all those 2nd season episodes on HULU (my boyfriend finds them amusing). I’m the guy in the back row with the huge natural who occasionally slaps Travolta on the back and says “Yeah Barbarino!”.

This Ranch has been used since the 1920s for movies (mostly Westerns). Today we are filming in their backwoods doubling for the Kentucky Hills. Picture DELIVERANCE and you get the idea.

There is a run-down Trailer set and instead of making Moonshine the Hillbillies are cooking up Meth. I’m Standing In for Poor White Trash! Granny eat your heart out. There are gun battles and the Trailer gets blown up real good! Watching the pyrotechnics is not only exciting but the fires keep us warm (did I mention it has been pouring non-stop and we are knee deep in mud?). The special effects guys have made Molotov cocktails and have set a Fire Pipe that shoot flames 20 feet high on cue. Fun!

I’m cold and wet and happy because you get more money working in water (a “Wet Bump”). The Teamsters are attempting to pull a stuck Star Waggon Dressing Room across a huge muddied corral pasture via iron cable with a tractor rig (someone yelled “Everybody stand back the Cable’s gonna snap!”).  A 3 time Emmy Award winning 50 year old actress who you love is sitting in an open air tent heated by butane during the storm (we love our “Mr. Heater”s!). She’s sat 10 hours without being used and is pissed off. She has not stopped smoking and after a thunder clap she exhales and croaks “The Glamour of Show Biz!”

4 Responses to “Pasture Bedtime”

  1. youngie says:

    I didn’t understand the concluding part of your article, could you please explain it more?

  2. John Starr says:

    Dear Youngie-
    The actress in the last paragraph was witty and ironic. After being kept waiting in the freezing rain all day without being called to shoot her scene she was tired, wet and upset. Her line about the glamour of Show Business got a huge laugh from everyone in the same soggy boat because there was nothing at that moment, they felt was exciting and fun (the way many people all over the world think working in Hollywood is). Work is work to some folks, not to me. The real irony is that filming under these conditions on location surrounded by a large team of terrific professionals is actually kind of glamorous no matter what the conditions and I find it very fun.
    Hope this clears it up for you. Thank you for your comment;
    John Starr

  3. Fishcake says:

    Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! 🙂

  4. John Starr says:

    Hi Fishcake-
    Sorry to take so long to answer you (I’m having a busy Pilot Season…touch wood). I don’t have a copy writer, this is all little old me! Appreciate your kind words & stay tuned!
    John Starr

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