Monday, September 14, 2009

"A FACE IN THE CROWD"

Back in February 1984 a friend of mine noticed a classified advertisement in the Cape Cod Times newspaper for an open casting call for extras for the made for television movie "RFK and His Times" based on the Arthur Schlesinger Jr. book which aired on January 27,1985. Brad Davis played the part of Robert F. Kennedy and Veronica Cartwright was cast as Ethel Kennedy. I saw Jack Warden one day at the local post office; he was cast as Joseph Kennedy Sr. This movie was directed by Marvin J. Chomsky.

I have always been interested in movies so I thought I would go down to the school where they had the casting auditions and see what this process was all about. When I arrived at the school the parking lot was full and there seemed to be about a thousand people there waiting to be inspected by the casting staff. The casting staff called the people up in lines of ten people at a time and began the selection process. I was selected to play the part of a newsman and was told to report to the St. Francis Xavier church located on South Street in downtown Hyannis for the next day. I was supposed to be outside the church entrance and shout out questions to Bobby Kennedy and his family as they entered the church.

The next day I reported in to the church. We were told to wear trench coats. There was a barber on site and I received a free 1960's hair cut. There was also a food canteen truck so everyone was fed some sandwiches and soda. We then commenced to wait until the director and lighting crew arrived and set up the scene. We waited and waited. Apparently the cold winter February weather was giving the lighting crew problems and filming of an interior scene was taking longer than expected.

The director decided to cut the scene of RFK entering the church as there was not enough light left in the day to shoot this scene. My dreams of being on television were dashed as I wasn't able to play my part as a newsman and shout out any questions. The director decided to proceed with an interior scene inside the church. All of the extras then were into the church to fell up the pews. We then sat, the kneeled, then stood as the cameras were filming and the main talent was featured in the front rows.

Alas, instead of a noteworthy reporter, I was just "a face in the crowd."