FIRE AND ICE
Winter and summer...
Michael Green was "winter" and I was "summer". Mike was 6'7" tall
and I was 6'4". The tiny model town in front of us was on a low table about
three inches tall. The telephone poles were three inches high; the
houses were about two inches and the streets had one-half inch high cars
traveling on them.
Mike had snow falling in front of him and I had a huge fire roaring
in front of me. We were giant trouble for cars! Mike froze
engines and I boiled them over. Prestone was the product saving the
motorists' day. The TV announcer said, "Don't worry, Prestone will
protect you from these two monsters.
Mikey's hair looked like a bird's nest made out of shiny blue ice --
a big Jack Frost with four-inch-long icy fingernails! I wore a gold
helmet with painted gold pikes over a foot long, sticking out in all directions.
If the sun had a face on it, I was the sun!
It took over two hours in the makeup chair to get ready. I was
painted gold all over. They even painted my teeth and gums gold.
My costume was that of a Roman Centurion complete with short skirt and
chest plate. Everything I touched turned to gold. Eating a sandwich
was a real challenge!
One of the makeup men had traveled all over the world with Bob Hope.
What an incredible GOOD WILL PACKAGE Mr. Hope's life was!
I believe laughter is great medicine and no one was better at administering
About thirty years ago, I was fortunate to be cast as the Texaco Man
in one of many commercials Bob Hope did for Texaco. He used a huge
cue card, held by the Assistant Director, behind the camera. It took skill
to read off cue cards and not have it be obvious to your audience. The
best I have ever seen were Raymond Burr and Bob Hope.
When the set was ready, lighting, sound and cameras -- they called him
from his dressing room. He read over his lines three times and the
director said, "Give us a few minutes." Mr. Hope retreated to his
dressing room. We shot the commercial in one take... no "do overs"
for Bob Hope.
The film editor would make sure the commercial ran precisely the correct
amount of seconds.
The second year Mike and I shot the commercial we were even more frightening.
little town, same big monsters; but this time they turned up the heat.
Mike became a blizzard instead of a snow storm. And this time I wore an
asbestos glove on my right hand so I could so I could throw a fire bolt
at the cars. They handed me a nurf ball soaked in lighter fluid.
I was to throw the the fiery ball directly at the camera. The
prop department had set up a sheet of glass between me and the camera,
to protect the the camera and its operator. What really held my attention
was the the bucket of ice water next to my right foot. The stunt
coordinator explained that I had no more than a few seconds between the
time the fire ball left my hand and when I would start to feel the heat.
Because the glove would still be on fire! I figured, once I got
all the instructions, I would have no problem launching the fire ball at
the camera and then immediately dropping my fiery, gloved hand in the bucket
of ice water. Well, the plan looked good on paper.
I did not factor in how mesmerized I would become when they lit the
nurf ball, and throwing it at the camera. There was a flaring
line of fire ten feet long, from my finger tips to the glass. It looked
as if I could shoot flames out of my fingers, like Spider-Man did with
webbing. I could not stop watching it.
Then, fortunately, I felt a slap on my right leg and someone whispering
a reminder to put my hand and flaming glove in the bucket. Thank you to
the off-camera prop man for the reminder!