REPRESENTING - JOHN DECUIR, JR.
2529 Foothill Boulevard – Suite 210 – LaCrescenta, CA 91214 - Phone 323-455-4540 - Fax 323-337-8208 -
LEAVES ON MY LAKE
It was was a small cottage (the trysting place for Dorothy Dandridge (Margot) and John Justin (Denis)). It overlooked the sea (this geography was created via editorial license as the cottage was nowhere near the sea) and a lovely lagoon, which did take up residence just outside the cottage balcony. The dilemma was that when the company arrived that morning, the small lagoon adjacent to the cottage was literally covered, inches deep, with fallen leaves.
Robert Rossen, the director, was reticent to remove or change the scripted line and so the company moved inside the cottage and it became the mission of the art department to remove the leaves. The effects, grips and craft service boys immediately put on their high top boots and waded in with rakes in hand, with the assignment to simply rake out the leaves.
Now if you have ever tried to rake leaves off the surface of your swimming pool you know it is a relatively impossible task. You rake in one direction the leaves wander off in another. The rake action failing the boys next pulled out their high pressure water hoses and hoped they would be able to “squirt” off the leaves. After all it works on one’s front lawn. This also failed miserably as the leaves, being much more elusive than the streams of water simply wandered off back into the center of lake, secure and safe as before.
Fortunately, there were several pages written for inside the cottage, so the company moved inside and shooting went on as scheduled, through the morning, while the art department squirted and raked away.
The hands on my watch seem not to move at all. In what seemed like hours the minute hand approached the top of the third hour. On cue the and as promised the prop master looked at his watch, and rolled his multi drawer red wooden prop box down to the edge of the lake. As a footnote I should explain to my non-film making audience that a prop box is a wonderful Pandora's box of gimmicks and goodies maintained and belonging to the property master and is reported to have just about anything one could need at just about any time during the shooting of a film. That of course is an exaggeration but, as this story proves, not far from the truth.
Nothing happened at first, and then ever so slowly a very small hole of cleared water appeared where the drops of pink liquid had been placed. The hole began to widen with its center remaining clear and its edges pushing the leaves out in a ever expanding crystal clear circle. The background laughter and joking dropped into complete silence as all watched the clear spot in the lagoon get larger and larger and larger. Within 30 minutes the hole in the leaves had increased to a diameter of at least 15 feet and it was evident that the clear area would eventually grow and clear the lagoon of all its leaves. Another 30 minutes passed and all but a very few leaves had been pushed in an ever widening circle to the edge of the lagoon. On cue the rakers set about raking up the leaves into piles along the waters grassy edge leaving a crystal clear lagoon.
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