• When Michael Moore, director of Roger and Me, was in high school, the voting age was lowered to 18, so he called up the county clerk and asked, “Uh, I’m gonna be eighteen in a few weeks. If I can vote, does that mean I can also run for office?” It did, so he ran for school board on this platform: “Fire the high school principal and the assistant principal!” Of course, the adults got upset, so five of them ran against him. They split the anti-Michael vote, and young Michael was elected. The day after his political victory, he walked down the school hallway, with his shirt tail hanging out, and the principal said to him, “Good morning, Mr. Moore.” Why did the principal call this high school student “Mr.”? Because the high school student was now his boss.
• Robert Redford starred in The Candidate, a movie about a naive man running for the U.S. Senate without any idea of what he would do if he won the election. Instead of paying extras, the movie crew handed out to passersby political posters with Mr. Redford’s face on them. When a crowd gathered, Mr. Redford appeared and acted. Sometimes people thought he was really running for office and so they would ask him questions. Someone once asked him, “What about Welfare?” Mr. Redford replied, “Beats me.”
• Groucho Marx once went on a goodwill tour to Mexico at a time when that country was politically unstable and its President changed frequently. After being told that his goodwill group would meet with the Mexican President the next day, Groucho asked, “What assurance have I got that he’ll still be President by four o’clock tomorrow afternoon?”
• Andre the Giant, who played Fezzik in the movie version of The Princess Bride by William Goldman, once was wrestling in Mexico while Arnold Schwarzenegger was in the audience. After winning the wrestling match, Andre gestured for Mr. Schwarzenegger to join him in the ring, then as the fans cheered and shouted, he told Mr. Schwarzenegger that he spoke Spanish and the fans were shouting for him to take his shirt off and strike some bodybuilding poses. Mr. Schwarzenegger happily obliged, then discovered later that Andre had been putting him on — the fans had NOT been shouting for him to take his shirt off and strike some bodybuilding poses.
• Some practical jokes played on cartoonists found their way into actual cartoons. For example, Tex Avery, the man who created Bugs Bunny’s personality, remembers a boy who worked in the mail room playing a practical joke on cartoon gagmen Friz Freleng and Tedd Pierce. The mail boy created a fake firecracker out of cardboard, painted it red and put a fuse on it, then he lit the fuse and threw the fake firecracker into the gag writers’ room. Of course, they scattered, but nothing happened. The next time the mail boy threw something into the room, they remained seated and ignored it — of course, this time, the mail boy had thrown a real firecracker.
• In 1952, Tex Avery created one of his most memorable gags in the cartoon “Magical Maestro.” In the cartoon, a hair appeared to get caught in the projector and so was projected on screen. However, the cartoon character Poochini eventually notices the hair, stops singing, and removes the hair from the screen. This gag fooled many employees who ran the projectors. Some complained to MGM, which ordered that each film can containing the cartoon be labeled with a warning telling employees to ignore the hair, as it was part of the cartoon.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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