Special effects

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In yesterday's post The Ice ManI began the tale of my first adventure into cinema. Armed with my 8mm film camera, my leading man and a hesitant neighbor with a car, we decided to get down with special effects. The idea was to have David, our star, careening down the street on an out of control block of ice. Problem was the ice just sat on the street and melted. We concocted a brilliant scheme to drill a hole through the block of ice, insert a steel cable into the hole and affix the end of the cable to the block. Then all we had to do was tie the cable to the bumper of my neighbor's car and pull the block of ice along as our actor made like he was out of control. Turns out there wouldn't be much acting involved. We tried to film this epic on my street only to discover oncoming traffic didn't seem to appreciate the young kids we had coerced into being extras holding up traffic. Nor did the local Anaheim police officer that showed up. We were dispersed with some finger waving about losing my neighbor Mike's license for unsafe behavior. Cops have no sense of humor whatsoever. But then a plan formed in my mind. We all went to school in a little Podunktown called Placentia. I am sure Placentia is now a metropolis but back in the mid 1960's it was nothing. I think the town might have had two cop cars and a fat chief of police. He had the smarts of Barney Fife. He was no match for a Hollywood producer of my stature. I knew the chief because his kid was one of nerds in our school and was picked on incessantlyby the "in-crowd". I felt pity for the boy and because I was in the "out-crowd" we chummed around together. I think his father appreciated it and gave me an audience. I flat out lied and told him our journalism teacher assigned us to make a movie for a class project and we had the school's blessing. All I needed was for his force to block off main street for 30 minutes while we filmed this epic for school. I couldn't believe it when he agreed and the next day the only two cop cars in Placentia were positioned at either end of main street. A crowd gathered for the event. We had 30 minutes. Mike owned a beautiful old 1953 MG convertible. Perfect. Our star, David, was wearing his father's overalls and the Charlie Chaplan moustache. He was in fine form and ready to star. The block of ice was attached with the cable to the car's bumper, the 8mm wound up and full of film. The epic was about to begin. Mike punched the car to help David, who was sitting atop the block of ice, look out of control. David didn't need that much help and immediately fell off the ice, smacking his butt on the pavement. Take two. A little gentler on the gas and we started to roll, David waving his arms wildly as any good actor should. Film's rolling and we made ourt first pass, stopping in front of the police chief and, of all people, Mrs. Dissan our journalism instructor. You remember, the one who supposedly authorized us to make this movie for school? We were summarily extricated from the street. Our block of ice thrown to the gutter, cable and all. I was ordered to report in front of my favorite person in the whole world, Mr, Platt, the vice principal who had previously thrown me off the student council for ditching school (it was my honor to be the first elected student body officer expelled person in 33 years of school history). But it was still Saturday and I didn't have to face judgment until Monday morning. The show must go on. We had the rest of the film to make. More tomorrow.
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Paul McGowan

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