Saturday, March 19, 2011

My story true Hollywood Story. Pt 1

It was back around 1980, I was visiting my famous cousin, L.P.
 Smith in Hollywood, CA. After a few
weeks I looked for employment. I was ready to live in L.A. I was attending
classes at the Inner –City Culture Center.  A college for actors,  a Performing Arts school like the one in Fame.
 To my surprise and utter disbelief, there
were hundreds of Leroys and young, Lena Hornes so much talent and not enough
work for them all. Although Marco, did get a job with Miami Vice. The Center held
court with Norman Lear and Stevie Wonder when we did the  all a cappella play called , Seasons Reasons.  Despite living it up at the theatre, I
responded to a call for Extras for a movie.

      This was my
first time being in a real film production. The director was John Landis and he
was filming, have guess it?-The Blues
movie.  Inside watching the
creative process of the director was exhilarating. All for 35.00 a day and a
box lunch, I was living the Hollywood dream. We sat in the sun at the Hollywood
Palladium, sharing stories and cocktails during the repositioning of the
cameras for the scene for other star like, John Candy and Henry Gibson.  

The eruption of this iconic film was leaking out as John
Landis , spoke about filming the car crash in Chicago and watching Aretha Franklin
and James Brown perform, I was not star struck or blown away. That’s one of the
fact of life, we seldom get the big picture while in the scene, that’s movie
talk.  Day one, it was singing Minnie the
Moocher with Cab Calloway, hidee,  hidee,
 de hos, a lot of them.  I was being paid to party with a legend. I was
too impressed by the end of the first day. And we all were invited to return
with more people.  I did.

The second day was the filming of the opening of the
concert. Dan Akyrod was flawless in his delivery. John was played by a gymnast,
who flipped several times during the shoots. We sang Sweet Home Chicago and I
want you.  During the filming review John
Landis, asked us to sing and point and actually change the original way the
song designed to be done. The timing was critical to match the song lyric and
chorus. We did it four time no problem.

During a break, I noticed John Bulushi walking across the
stage, I like many was a big fan.  There
I was star struck. “Live and in living color” as they would say. I didn’t see
the security guard until I had already called out to John and raised my hand.  He stopped a turned. The guard stepped to intercept
me. In the true Belushi form, he wave the guard off, with a “Aaaauggh”,  I shook John Belushi’s hand. I told him, I
loved his work. He acknowledged my statement, and moseyed back to the rest of
the cast. This was a year or so before his death.  It is a limit group of people that met him
before he passed away. I was one.   

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