June 28th - Well, maybe not up there with World War II or the
moon landing, but for us locals, this is historic; the first "Official"
day of Indy IV filming in New Haven is here! I say official
as there have been many dress rehearsals and filming here and
there, but today it was the real deal. The boys, Spence, 9, and
Owen, 7, headed out early and got to New Haven (or maybe the town
of Bedford, located in Michigan - as one wild rumor was said by
a local) around 7:30. The boys and I woke up early and headed
out to as grabbed a great scrambled egg breakfast at the Bedford
Grill (again, the modern day Copper Kitchen), which like many
of the retail shops has been transformed to 1957. Now added to
the scenery were stamp machines, scale/fortune telling machines,
a Bozo the Clown - "fun-phone", shoe shine station,
and a few new shops. All the shops are still open behind their
Indy IV, (or The Untitled Genre Project, as it is called
on all the flyers around town - a PG Rated action-adventure set
in the Golden Age of 1957 - see no City of the Gods or
Raiders of the Lost Dentures) window dressing - so it
is like stepping into The Twilight Zone as you travel
back 50 years in time at every corner.
glance down College Street shows vintage cars and trucks from
the late 1940s and early 1950s, and then small groups of authentically
dressed extras, being led across the green start to appear. One
really has to take a moment and soak in the amount of exquisite
craftsmanship and detail that has been poured into the sets. The
professionalism of the crew, not to mention the local Yale and
New Haven Police, who are keeping a watchful eye and making sure
that the normal business life in New Haven, goes on amidst the
action of Indiana Jones. And yes, oddly enough, a lot of would-be
Indiana Jones walking around in costume - kind of like the guys
at football games who paint themselves in the color of the team
as my son, Owen, pointed out.
Lights, Camera,. Wait..and..Wait...Wait
We look down the street to see a familiar baseball capped, bearded
gentleman walking down College Street framing the scene with his
thumbs and forefingers - no, it couldn't be. but it is, the one
and only Steven Spielberg! There he was walking down the road,
seeing how the forthcoming chase scene will look in his mind.
Now after they cleared the real local traffic, and washed down
the streets, and waited for local traffic, again. The scene started.
After a few practice runs, and now that the street was "locked
down".. here it was; ready... lights, camera, ... ACTION!
If you didn't think Hollywood hadn't arrived to
the Elm City, the black sedans, being pursued by a motorcycle
being driven by a 50's hipster, with an older, scholarly looking
professor hanging on for dear life was the clincher! Yes, Indiana
Jones was here! Well, his stunts double anyway.
Now, amongst the spectators were cheering fans from around the
area, locals who were just trying to get to work around the closed
streets, and being the mini-New York it is, a lot of ticked off,
New Haveners who could care less! NOTE TO GENRE PRODUCTIONS -
When hiring Production Assistants and Day Laborers, get ones who
know the area - I helped give directions over three dozen times
to lost pedestrians and confused production personnel, and in
one somewhat scary situation, calmed a very irate bicyclist who
was a little "angrier than normal" when told he couldn't
cross College, due to the filming.
watching the chase scene, again, and again, and again, and again.
you realize movie making is done by folks with the patience of
Saints! A lot of standing by to stand by. Oh well, there is only
so much the boys could take. We walked around, had a bite at the
Yankee Doodle Diner - great cheeseburgers - and looked around
the familiar streets where I grew up, to see what else was going
on. Going by Naples Pizza on High Street, we bumped into a few
extras and readers of these "Raiders Ramblings" who
and the kids. Another thing about movie-making, especially for
extras, is they need to supply air-conditioned pants and skirts
- it was about 88 degrees today, but the costumes looked a little
warm for summer. I wish I could have got some shots of the gang
with the kids, but we didn't want to get any of these fine folks
in trouble.It was nice to talk with actors and fellow fans, lucky
enough to get picked - and yes, I agree with you guys - the "Entertainment
Weekly - Obsessed Fan of the Week" - may have put me in the
reject/fanatic bin - maybe I should have said it was the Obese
Fan of the week and I could have got something like Chubby Guy
at Bus Station extra. However, the kids were excited, because
to them everyone was a famous movie star and it was a treat to
say hi to these 1950s looking Indy extras. After we walked away
they told me they forgot to ask for autographs! Fedoras off to
you guys and gals - keep cool and don't upstage the leading men
Dr. Jones, The famous archeologist?
Speaking of the lead, the man himself, Harrison Ford, was around
the corner in a university building rehearsing a classroom scene
with Spielberg. There were lights and reflectors outside the windows
and a lot of folks hurrying around. My son, Spencer, who has had
Bill Murray wish him "Happy Birthday" when he was 5,
and met and received Bruce Springsteen's guitar pick, waited to
see if Harrison Ford was going to come out and shake his hand
and sign his Indy action figure he picked up a Disney World last
year. I had to gently tell him, that Mr. Ford was a little busy
at the moment.
we walked around the chase scene was going on and on. There was
a weird sight in the Yale Commons is a new statue of 10th Yale
President Theodore Dwight Woolsey that was being put together
near the real one - except this one was missing a head. In fact,
he had about 7 heads that were being put together by the craftsman
from Paramount. No doubt to be blown up or some devastating event
that awaits, similar to the fake Iron Gate on Chapel Street and
new wooden doors on Calhoun College.
It is now raining out and they have done the chase scene a zillion
times, no doubt it will be jam-packed few of celluloid scene magic
That's all folks!
As we sit at the table in 1957 McCurry's Seafood Restaurant on
Chapel Street (known as Starbuck's Coffee Shop in 2007) to write
this and take a much need break from the heat, all we can say
is "Wow"! Owen wants to go home and make a movie in
our backyard with the video camera. He is telling Spencer that
he can ride his wagon with our dog, Indiana, in the back and pretend
to be chased by the bad guys. That being me - the baddest bad
guy Dad in Connecticut!
There are some new pics of the Chapel Street scenery and construction
the fake statue on Mitchell Hallock's MySpage