Saturday, June 19, 2010
A Memory for Father's Day
My dad did this wacky Disney western in 1977 called "Hot Lead and Cold Feet", and he flew me up to Bend, Oregon for the filming of it. Michael Sharrett was also in this movie, and it was at this time Dad and Mike's mom Nancy fell in love, and ultimately joined the family not long afterward.
I fondly remember that experience back when I was 9 years old, and I still have a prop gun that Jim Dale (the lead actor) gave me. Funny story. Jim Dale had previously been shooting scenes as the lighthearted preacher during my time there. But then one day this really bad dude shows up. It was Jim Dale as the outlaw twin brother, but I didn't know it. I was terrified just looking at him, and it didn't help that he was walking around in character with this mean look preparing for his scenes. He could see I was scared so he sat down nearby and decided to have a little fun with me.
"Hey you!" he says with a scowl.
I turn and look behind me, hoping he's talking to someone else, but no one else is there. I point to myself, wide eyed.
"Yeah, you!" he growls. "Come here!"
I walk sheepishly over.
He points to a chair. "Sit down!" He pulls a gun out. "You see this gun?" he says menacingly, pointing the gun at me.
I wish I could go back in time and see the expression on my face!
Next he turns the gun, handle toward me and--totally leaving character--says with this happy-go-lucky tone like he was my best friend for years, "You want it?"
I think he had to force it into my hand I was still so scared! I think after that he smiled profusely and spoke apologetically to me, but I was still afraid of him whenever I saw him. I honestly didn't realize until I saw the movie that it was the same guy who played the gentle preacher!
I've held onto that prop gun all these years and now keep it on a shelf in my studio with some other western memorabilia I inherited after my dad's passing. My kids love the fact that I have something from the movie they watch of their beloved Grandpa Warren.
Here's Dad with a few of the other characters, including Karen Valentine.
My dad's character, Boss Snead, is in many scenes, but my favorite scene is when the preacher brother, having been tricked into drunkenness, attempts to cross a tightrope in a madcap race against his outlaw twin, and my dad is there with an axe ready to do him in. Most of my dad's lines were ad lib, and the director liked them enough to keep them in. Mike Sharrett is also later in the scene, the little boy with Karen Valentine and the little blond girl. And you can see all three characters Jim Dale played, the preacher and the outlaw twins I already mentioned and their father (the old man who throws the rock at the end).
If you'd like to buy the movie, it's available on DVD probably from Amazon. Younger kids will particularly appreciate it. God bless all you dad's out there.
Posted by Blaine and Elisa at 10:47 AM