Sunday, May 3, 2009

Special Effects, Dust Aging and Jack Faggard





Well, as usual, no idea what this set was supposed to be.  Was this another part of the WWII Chinese Jewish Synagogue set?  Jack Faggard was an old time Hollywood special effects man and about as nice as anyone in this business ever is--not to mention RARE in this business.  He always had a story or a kind word and always kept his cool--which is good since he was also in charge of the explosives!  Ok, so he blew out the windows and Christmas tree of that family one time, the rest of the time he was great.  He did the bullet hits, explosions, fog,  smoke, fires (from entire buildings to camp fires), and even tiki torches because gas was used.  Normally the paint department handled "dust aging" which is blowing (usually) super fine diatomaceous earth on everything.  Special effects also does spider webs which are usually made by spinning and blowing rubber cement and then dusting with talcum powder.  Oh no, are there no secrets left? So it's quite a diverse department.  One of the guys he trained went on to win an Emmy on "LOST" for special effects, Archie Ahuna.  Jack was not one of those people who didn't like to share, he was really good about teaching and showing everyone.
     So another mystery set turned into yet another explanation / education.  That one photo with the dramatic lighting is one of those "accidents" that happen once in awhile with photography and is suitable for framing!  I think that might have just been work lights or someone left the door open.  You can see why they like smoke or fog in the air for some scenes.  Also at rock concerts now that no one can smoke in the arenas, they blow out fog so the lights show up better.  Notice no one is wearing a mask!

Aloha, Rick

P.S.  The latest photo is of me on the "LOST slave ship at the end of the 1st season.  I'm the one with the flesh.  How prophetic it became as time went on with that show..........  Those chains became much shorter!

14 comments:

Mike (N1095A) said...

Well Rick, you stumped me on this one. I have to do some research to find the episode. The bunks kind of remind me of the ones in "Hogan's Heroes". I enjoyed your story on Jack Faggard. So nice to have someone who is an expert like him who was open and willing to share his tricks and tips. Seems guys like him are a rear breed today. Stories like these make me wish I'd been part of the MPI production team. I'm getting the idea it was a great working enviroment with a lot of great people working together. From your stories and others I've heard it sounds like the crew was more or less a big extended family. This gives me even more of a warm feeling toward the show. Thanks for your memories.

Mike (N1095A) said...

Dang, Sorry for the misspelling. I meant to say "rare breed".

Mike (N1095A) said...

Sorry for the over posting here, but I was wondering, Do you have a video of your interview? and if so would you consider Youtubing it so we can see it? I'm sure all of us here and at Magnum-Mania would love to see it.

Magnum Decorator said...

Thanks Mike! I was beginning to think someone had unplugged my blog! I guess the past does have a way of seeming better sometimes. It's also a case of I wish I'd known how good we had it back then. A combination of the times and the people and that stage of my life, I suppose. It's been a long time since I would connect "warm feeling" with any set decorating job! Some people have said it's because the "bean counters" (aka accountants) have taken over Hollywood. Certainly part of that is true since most of the studios are now responsible to stockholders, but I think it is more than that also.
I thought nobody would ask (lol), why yes, I do have a copy (or 100) of my interview! As it is close to 10 minutes in length and I have never posted a video before anywhere, I might need some help. The other 2 interviews are with Archie Ahuna (special effects asst. on Magnum) and Jim Tripplet the locations manager( who was barely born during Magnum). Mine is the best interview, of course! (actually, it really is!) Let me know....
Aloha, Rick

James J. Walters said...

I believe this is from Season Three's "Forty Years From Sand Island", the opening flashback scene set in Sand Island, Oahu, 1942.

Thanks again for your wonderful blog Rick!

Magnum Decorator said...

If it is from season 3, I wouldn't have been the set decorator on it. I didn't start until season 4 and Buck never called me to work on the first 3 seasons other than to job things out to me like the bridge model--which then did require me to be there for filming. He said he wanted to use me, but the union said no (even though I was in it.) The union said they wanted to use me, but Buck said no. Because our local is a "mixed local" which has just the one local 665 for all of the crafts, it was possible to be set dresser one day and an electrician the next. I could get a call at 3:00 a.m. and asked if I was available for work. You did not ask "Doing what?" I did ask once and they said "Do you want to work or not?" You would show up with gloves, a basic tool belt, not say a word, and just go where you were told. One time I was left in a bamboo forest with another guy all day with chain saws and out instructions were: "Cut bamboo!" and they left us there for 12 hours. It's not like that now, but back then it was "very different!"

Anonymous said...

Rick,
I do believe this is from season 4 "Holmes Is Where the Heart Is". The Chinese Opium den

Magnum Decorator said...

That sounds right--in my dim memory, Well, I can't blame that on opium at least. Thanks!

James J. Walters said...

Ahh, you're right... My bad!

Anonymous said...

I feel quite lucky to get one before the webmaster himself, sorry James, besides Marco must be on holiday.
Rick, I was wondering if you can comment on Don Bellisario. I am interested in what kind of boss he was, in or around the set. My family just got hooked on NCIS and he seems to like creating a main character that has many complicated layers.

Mike (N1095A) said...

Hi Rick,
Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I'm not the most proficient youtube guy. I know the video must be in a certain format, and uploaded from a disk or your hard drive. If I could get the interviews on a disk I could most likely figure it out. Since you have other interviews, and there seems to be a glaring lack of Magnum outtakes, I'm sure the interviews would be popular. If you'd like to exchange emails regarding details, just let me know. I'd me very happy to help you out.

Magnum Decorator said...

On many shows, like Magnum (and even "LOST"), the person who creates the show, maybe does the pilot, and even hangs around for a few episodes is seldom seen again--at least in Hawaii. In 4 years on the show, I'm not sure if I ever met Don. J.J. Abrams directed the pilot on "LOST" and I'm not sure if I ever saw him again, either. They may work in the background, but mostly they collect a check for the rest of their life as the creator of the show. Some creators, like John Wells of "E.R." and other shows, remain hands on by directing or writing episodes. I did 3 episodes of "E.R." with him here and he is a super nice guy, creative, and a real team player.
I'm not sure if youtube is ready for me--or I'm ready for it--maybe not even prime time!

Mike (N1095A) said...

Hi again Rick,
I was just wondering, during your work on Lost if you had worked at Omega Station. I'm pretty sure the actual interiors were used in "Lost", and exteriors in a few episodes of Magnum. I'm curious about the facility, and I'm digging up all the online photos and reading everything I can find on the subject.

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