• Phyllis Diller’s first movie with Bob Hope was Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! In it, her character was supposed to ride a motorcycle, but her stunt double was unable to do this because she had broken her leg. Therefore, a short stunt man doubled for Ms. Diller, wearing her fright wig and funny clothing. Unfortunately for the male stunt double, Ms. Diller’s husband visited the set, saw the male stunt double from behind, thought the male stunt double was Ms. Diller, and spun the male stunt double around and planted a big kiss on his lips.
• Marlon Brando starred in the movie Mutiny on the Bounty, which was filmed on location in Tahiti. The director used several local women as extras in the movie, but because their natural endowments weren’t up to Hollywood standards, he had them wear falsies. In one scene, the native women dove over the side of the ship, and their falsies came floating to the top of the water and they started playing catch with them. Unfortunately, this scene was cut from the motion picture.
• In the Monty Python movie Life of Brian, Graham Chapman has a brief nude scene in which he appears before 300 Tunisian extras. The extras did not behave as expected, for the extras were Muslim, and their religion forbids women to see such scenes. So when Mr. Chapman suddenly opened some shutters and appeared naked before them, half of the extras — the women — ran away, screaming.
• The weather in other countries can be difficult to figure out. While in Spain to make a motion picture, actor/director Robert Morley dismissed the film crew for the day because it was raining, then he went into a nearby bar. Ten minutes after he had dismissed the film crew, the sun was shining brightly and the sky was without a cloud.
• Bruce Vilanch had a role as a fashion designer in the Diana Ross movie Mahogany, but he ruined the first take of his scene. He was supposed to be sewing in the scene, but he didn’t know how to sew. He ended up sewing his scarf to Miss Ross’ coat, and when Ms. Ross got up to leave, she started to drag him along with her.
• While filming Washington Square, Sir Ralph Richardson astonished fellow actor Montgomery Cliff. Mr. Cliff flubbed take after take while Sir Ralph was perfect each time. Finally Mr. Cliff moaned about Sir Ralph, “Can’t that man make any mistakes?”
• Will Rogers did not seem to take movie-making seriously. Usually, he declined to shoot a scene more than once. This meant that his movies were completed quickly and under schedule. However, this could have led to financial problems for his co-workers, who often had expected to work for longer than the movie actually took to complete. Will Rogers became very popular with his co-workers by using his own money to pay them their salaries for whatever extra time they would have worked if the movie had not been completed so quickly.
• The major Marx Brothers were the witty Groucho, the fake-Italian Chico, and the silent Harpo. Also performing early in their comedy career was the straight-man Zeppo, who dropped out to become a very successful agent. After Zeppo dropped out of the act, movie producer Irving Thalberg inquired if perhaps the Marx Brothers would take a cut in salary because now they were only three Marx Brothers instead of four Marx Brothers. Groucho replied, “Don’t be silly. Without Zeppo, we’re worth twice as much.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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