Archive for the ‘hollywood extra’ tag

Full Bonanza

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Well that Sexy Male Young Movie Starr is pestering me yet again. Call-In Service text-confirms booking for 2 more days on His Latest Comedy Opus. Rumor around set is his other Major Co-Stars cannot live without me either. Cue Bars to sing “Popular”.  A guy can dream can’t he? What?

I am yet again playing a Trendy Gay Costumer (per Cousin Andy…”Quite a Stretch”….he also suggests I “complain to the guild”).  Here are 2 of my Background Performer Outfits for 2 different scenes (my Own Approved Clothes + their Oscar Winning Head of Wardrobe Team’s Colorful Tie Selections).

john starr extra

Latest Fashion Tip…unbutton the top button on your vests & button up the rest. You’ll see this all over the Fall. Trust me. And stop tucking your Tee Shirts just into the front of your jeans. So 8 months ago. Wake up.

john starr extra

Full Circle…I am working on the same Sound Stage that in 1966 my Dear Old Dad arranged for a Private Family Tour of TV’s Long Running Western Smash BONANZA (thank you Studio Ops for the ‘Films Shot on this Stage’ Plaques). These signs are right by each Giant Elephant Door …all over this Historic Lot (opened 1922). Pop was writing 2 movies for Sid Caesar back then and pulled strings (Dad still lunches with Sid, Carl Reiner, Monty Hall, LAUGH-IN’s Gary Owen and other Show Biz Buds).  After we walked down Fake Virginia City Western Street with Huge Paper Mache Mountain behind it we walked On-Stage. I remember at 11 years old asking why “Hop Sing” (the Cook on the show) had a bedroom door that opened onto a blank wall, not the Cartwright’s actual Ponderosa Ranch Kitchen Set, like on TV. After watching several takes, it all was explained & I learned how scenes are shot out-of-order and later glued together to make sense. My 1st Ahh-Haa-Haa Hollywood Moment. Who knew?

The movie I’m in features a Spoof High School Musical Motif. I am told to pretend I am in this Movie-within-a Movie’s Production Crew Wardrobe Department. And the real Production Team is directing all us Extras to play them as they really are…sort of. I meet the Real Wardrobe Guy that they hired me to look like. He was not wearing upscale jeans, a tie, shirt & vest.  He is dressed comfy cozy. Evidentally I am the Hipper Dressier Version of him and he knows it and loves it. Every time I’ve worked with this Crew people mistake me for him. We get paid to watch an actual full blown All Singing All Dancing All Playback Lip-Syncing Number with the Hottest of the Hot Young So-You-Think-You-Can-Dancer Types (many of these Talented Kids are recognizable). That’s me way over there dragging the Clothes-Rack filled with Short Short Cheerleader Uniforms after the Director yells “Background ACTION!” Really. What a total blast. And in the same Sound Stage I walked onto over 40 years ago as a child. Color me wowed.

I know many of the folks from previous jobs and we are in “Holding” on another Sound Stage. The same Stage my Dad worked on when he wrote for THE BRADY BUNCH (and no they didn’t serve us Pork Chops & Applesauce so don’t ask). Talk about coming Full Circle. As Babs’ Fanny Brice would say “Vat a day I had today.”

Check out my Dad Ben Starr’s amazing Producer/Writer Career on IMDb:

If you can see, here’s the stage 411!

1941 stage

Written by admin

July 3rd, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Martin & Lewis & Me

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ben starr wedding john starr extra

Ben & Gloria Starr’s Wedding Picture
December 1st 1949 Chicago, Ambassador-East Hotel

Left to right.
Best Man Sheldon Leonard (Producer DICK VAN DYKE SHOW & Bartender in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE; “Look at me..I’m makin’ Angels!”). Peeking past Rabbi is Charlie Isaacs (great guy & Head Writer who got Dad work on Radio for Al Jolson and Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis). Then there’s Jerry & Wife #1 (call her Patty) & Bob Redd (Producer). Did I mention Jerry paid for my Parent’s Wedding & gave them a nice Cash Gift? Name Dropper …boasting for one.

Memory Lane
Ten years later at a dinner party at Director Mervyn LeRoy’s house Frank Sinatra is a guest. My witty & wonderful Mother Gloria asks Frankie for the 25 Cents back she mailed his Fan Club in the ’40s for an 8×10 that never arrived. Sinatra replies “What with interest …no can do.”

I digress
In 1948 Gloria moved to Hollywood & worked for Henry Rogers (pre-Rogers & Cowan Publicity Machine Giants). Kirk Douglas was an original Client and Gloria mailed, in Kirk’s name, his weekly Studio checks back home with a note she wrote… “Hi Mom. Here’s your check.”

Back to Thanks for the Memories
Ben co-wrote the 1966 Hit Western TEXAS ACROSS THE RIVER for Dean Martin. Dad proudly wore the Christmas Gift Watch inscribed “To Ben-Keep Writing, Dino.” So it wasn’t a big deal at 16 that I took Tennis Lessons at Dino’s Mansion. Dino Jr & Desi Arnaz Jr would sit court side drinking and critiquing my tennis expertise with “Bad Volley Dude” and “Double Fault Bro” etc. Evidently I stunk up the court.  Years later Desi Jr & I ran into each other at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Florida. He remembered being drunk and that I had a weak back hand.

I finally got to thank Jerry Lewis for his generosity in person backstage on Broadway in 1995 during his DAMN YANKEES revival run. I must have confused Jerry because he briefly thought Dad was Heavyweight Champ Rocky Marciano (I’m not making this stuff up).  Now keep up with me…Groucho’s son Arthur Marx interviewed Ben for the un-authorized Jerry Lewis Biography EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY SOMETIME (ESPECIALLY HIMSELF). Dad shared that after their Wedding Reception Jerry rented the room next to my Folks to bang on the wall all night yelling suggestive remarks. In the voice of Jerry’s original Nutty Professor please say the following out loud … “HEY LADY!

But I digress again (for a change). Mid 1980s Ben & Gloria are taking friends to dinner at Beverly Hills Trader Vics for their Anniversary when in walks Jerry, New Wife & Homies. After dinner Dad learns that Jerry kindly picks up the tab. Ben walks over and says “Thanks Jer. By the way…we eat here every Tuesday.”

Check out my Dad Ben Starr’s incredible Producer/Writer Career on IMDb:

Plenty of Bupkis!

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“Bupkis” is Yiddish for “nothing.”   As in my Dad asking “What’s going on career wise?” and me replying “Plenty of Bupkis!”

Luckily work has been non-stop for months (touch wood). Then due to Valentine’s/President’s 3-Day weekend most filming ground to a halt. Thanks for bupkis Abe Lincoln. Ever the romantic, I had pre-paid for a fabulous French din-din with the boyfriend and decided to turn down a last minute Saturday/Sunday film job offer (what would Cupid do?)   Suddenly a week passes with no bookings. Thankfully I am not obsessing that because I turned down work, everyone in the entire business has black listed me (why? what have you heard?).

On Wednesday I planned to print out my new 8×10 glossy with Lucky the wonder dog to give to casting agents (let him earn the kibble for once). By Friday I finally got dressed and made it out of the house (when did I become that guy in sweatpants?).  The casting gals loved the photo and were positive that Lucky and I will be rolling in Pedigree soon. Excuse me as I light a candle and chant “Come on Pilot Season!”

Friends keep asking me when I will be on TV. Years ago I shot a WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY film where a stunt driver in a Police Car accidentally smashed into me while I was driving my own car in a scene.  As my radiator literally fell to the pavement the Director (the late Vic Morrow who was very kind) shouted “Go with it kid!” Having tons of improv training I leapt onto the car hood and started yelling shtick at the fake Officer that he gave “Coppers” a bad name. Vic said “Cut!” and the crew applauded (and then arranged for my car to be towed back to the studio).  This was back in the TV Guide days (yes children there was no internet search in the dark ages of the 1970s). Finally the episode was scheduled and I mailed out 80 fliers.  My scene ended up on the cutting room floor except a 2 second wide shot of the Police Car hitting me. After the show aired everyone in the Western World called to say they saw bupkis. I learned the hard way to watch first and then tell people afterwards what thrilling moments they missed. Imagine my surprise when last night I accidentally found out my recent Circus Clown shoot was about to air! Who knew? 57 minutes into the episode 4 Clowns ran past the camera (shown from the neck down!)  I played it back twice with freeze frame for the boyfriend to recognize me. Raise your hand if you’re glad I didn’t alert you to miss it too. Of course it would have been fun to receive your text response “Hello bupkis, hello?”

Written by jstarr

February 22nd, 2010 at 3:25 pm