I was nearly a movie star.

November 10th, 2011  

Topic: I was nearly a movie star.

In the 1980's the Ministry Of Defence decided that it needed to recruit more Territorial Army personnel. A film company was approached to produce a film for general release in public cinema's. The film was to be titled “Call Out.”

A camera team was attached to a number of TA units for an upcoming massive NATO exercise in Germany, our unit was one. We were all paraded and one of the film crew producers walked along the ranks looking for candidates to feature as a main character in the film.

Myself and a few other men were selected, taken into the officers mess and asked what our civilian jobs were as they intended to film those selected at work and on the exercise. The producer said that they could film me climbing into a bus as well as stopping at a bus stop or eating in the canteen with my conductor. I wasn't too keen on this as many of my fellow London Transport bus crews were either ex WW2 or ex national service, and I could imagine the mickey taking and cat calls for time immemorial. I told the producer I had better ask my garage manager if he would allow it.

Next morning I walked into the garage managers office and gave him the story. He looked at me and said, “I'm here to run a bus service, not pander to a load of pansies farting about with camera's.” Somewhat relieved I passed the message on, word for word.

Thankfully another man was chosen, he was then filmed leaving home to go to work and then filmed at work.

There were two parties, the sea party that took Squadron vehicles over the channel by RO RO ferry, while the rest formed the air party flying into Germany to pick up more vehicles and other equipment.

I formed part of the air party, flying from Heathrow to Germany by British Airways 747. A film crew was waiting for us in Germany, then began filming the boots of the men as they came running off the stairs from the 747 onto the tarmac. All dramatic stuff.

Apparently our hero who was chosen to feature as a main character in the film, ran towards his Bedford 4 tonner, jumped in, started it, then stalled the engine, much to the noisy merriment to the rest of the Squadron watching, and much to the annoyance of the film crew.

Thankfully in Germany I was section commander of AEC 10 tonners which the film crew avoided like the plague, or rather I avoided them. If a film crew were anywhere around and my section was tasked, I'd hold an O group in the back of one of the 10 tonners giving the drivers our task and route.

I didn't get off totally from the film. The film company wanted a social gathering with all the wives or girlfriends in the squadron mess having a rare old time, I ran the bar in the mess. I had either a producer or director behind the bar with me, with a cameraman filming me attempting to pour a bottle of beer into a glass. The producer or whatever he was, was as bent as a $9 note, limp wristed and spoke in a very girly voice, I was terrified he was going to grab my bum, and I'm not kidding. I made a total mess of it, beer everywhere and the producer or director saying “cut cut, we have to do a retake.” then to me said, “Just a token amount in the glass Corporal.” I said “Look, can you back up a bit, your making me nervous breathing down my neck.” His eyes opened wide and asked in his girly voice “Whatever do you mean?” Eventually the filming stopped, the film crew asked me how much they owed for all the beers and drinks served during the filming. I totted up everything, then doubled it. That paid for the Squadron children's Christmas party that year.

When the film was released we all went to see it, it was hilarious to watch our Squadron hero. He never lived that down.
November 10th, 2011  
I was an extra (dressed in US Navy whites) as a SEAL Lt Commander in a Sci Fi thing called "Space: Above and Beyond". ( I think it was titled "Space: 2063" in Europe). You see me for about 2 seconds in one of the closing scenes of the movie. The best thing about the day (aside from the hot chicks) was chatting with R Lee Ermey (The Gunny himself) over lunch.
November 10th, 2011  
In 1970, during a break in service, I was driving a cab in San Diego, CA. Several of us were at the city bus station in the early hours one morning when a crew showed up and started filming a scene for a TV movie, DIAL HOTLINE. This was to be the pilot for a series, MATT LINCOLN, staring Vince Edwards. They wanted us to keep our cabs where they were and we stood outside them while they filmed the scene. They even paid us.

One of the other cabbies recognized Edwards from the movie THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE. He claimed to have been a member of the Brigade. I checked later and his name was in the list of members at the back of the book about the Brigade!

One of the crew told me they were filming another scene that afternoon at a marina and told me if I showed up I could be an extra in that scene as well, I and some friends did go and were in a scene as background fishermen.

I went back into the Army before the film was shown and I’ve never seen it, so I don’t know if I was in it or not.

I had another chance to be a “star” in 1975 or 1976 while stationed in Germany. Word got around that they were filming A BRIDGE TOO FAR in the Netherlands and if a GI could get there he could be an extra, I couldn’t get there but I know some guys who took leave and were in the film.

While at JFK Center (Ft Bragg, NC) in the mid 80’s, a reservist who was affiliated with out department came down looking for “technical advice” on a movie he had some part in developing. It was one of those cheap King KONG spin off’s, something about KONG having a mate and child. I remember it because the actress from TERMINATOR, Linda Hamilton, was the star. We helped him with “advice” as to uniforms, equipment and weapons the movie Army would be using. I think JFK Center or out Dept got a film credit.

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