FIRE AND ICE
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 laughter.
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!