Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'Twas the Week Before Christmas.......or thereabouts

This is my "Magnum Christmas Story."  Sorry, it doesn't involve Santa, little children or puppies.  We were doing some sort of terrorist training camp out in Kahuku on the North Shore of Oahu (like no one would notice) right before Christmas one year.  Normally set dressing does tents, everything in them, and even camouflage netting.  Sometimes the net might be part of the set and sometimes it is used to hide something in the distance like the camera truck, inappropriate signs, or buildings.  The Kahuku location chosen was perfect in every way except for a large trailer home that was used by the caretaker and his family too near the set.  My crew hung a very large camouflage net to cover the house so that it wasn't noticeable from the set.  

     I think it was the art director who ultimately found the old plane that special effects head, Jack Faggard was to blow up.  Jack was a really good "powder man" and known for his big explosions.  In the film business, while explosive powder is used, it is more for show often blowing harmless pieces of cork as debris.  The actual damaged look might be created later by tools or paint and much more controlled than what might appear on the screen...still, it is an explosion and not always 100% predictable.  On the day of the explosion, all the usual precautions were taken, crew cleared, and the family of the home was allowed to watch from a distance.  Off went the charge--a lot more than was expected--and it looked great!

Moving on to the next scene, the family returned to their home on the other side of our camo net hung to hide their house.  What they found was that all  their windows had been blown out, their Christmas tree was on the other side of the room along with their presents.  Whoops!  So the show paid for new windows, another Christmas tree and I'm not sure what they did about the presents, but I'm sure there were a few more!  The shock wave of the blast had traveled through the netting and right at their house.  Possibly special effects hadn't noticed how close the house was behind the net or maybe it was just a mis-directed blast.  In any case, it was almost not a very Merry Christmas for the family who luckily had watched the explosion.  And they all lived happily ever after.  The End.


Mike (N1095A) said...

Hi Rick,
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, I believe this set was from the episode "Mad Dogs And Englishmen". I don't recall seeing a plane in that episode, but my memory is a bit hazy. As always, thanks for sharing the photos with us. We look forward to your posts.
Mike (N1095A)

SelleckLover said...

Dang! What a great story. It's stuff like this that makes this blog great. It's kind of like when you go to Disneyland and ride the Haunted House about 10 minutes before park closure and the person that helps you out of the car at the end asks you if you want to ride again! It's then that you stay in the car and ride it to the beginning and get to see all the stuff that's "behind the scenes" that nobody gets to see. Well, that description was a little too involved, but I think you get the point. Superb post Rick!=)

Marco said...

Awesome! Yes, the episode is correct - I love the story :-) Thanks again, Rick!