This week on Mylene Dressler's AMN: The Stunt Man
I've been quietly enjoying Mylene Dressler's "American Stories NOW" blog, a series of beautifully true moments observed and reported with the grace and skill of a novelist.
This week she tells about sitting next to stunt man Harry Madsen on an airplane...
Harry had worked for years in Hollywood, as a stunt man on tv series like Kojak and McCloud, and for Burt Lancaster in his films ("except I was a little too short--he was nice about it though, a great guy"). He threw himself around in comedies like Ghostbusters and, once, for Helen Hayes, wearing a pink blouse and a gray wig. I asked him how he'd found his way into stuntwork, and he waved his paw of a hand and said his father, who'd owned a ranch and silver mine in Oaxaca, Mexico had wanted him to become an educated man--but that four years of college had been nothing but boring, so Harry decided to join the rodeo circuit instead, working up and down the East Coast. One thing led to another, and one summer he found he was stunting in New York on the original The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3.
"I love that movie!" I say, delighted. "Were you down on the train tracks with the electric rail? Did you bite it?"
"That was me, all right."
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