That Perilous Bridge

Continued from Knight Rider, page 6…

The Kitt car rapidly disappears almost as fast as it appeared. But the energy level picked up for every passenger that’s not a mannequin.

“That’s the norm around here,” I’m thinking. “And they pay me to do this!”

I drive down the middle of the New York street not knowing whether to turn left, into small town square, or right, away from the “big city” and down a utility road.

“Orange cones will dictate the route when there’s film production in the area,” trainer Dennis reminds us. “Park the tram here next to them and we’ll take break.” Teamsters get a lot of breaks on this easy gig, it seems.

We all disembark and walk around the corner where “Knight Rider” is currently filming.  David’s behind the wheel of the Kitt car rehearsing a scene where he pulls up in front of a store front.

We watch from the “craft service” table where we scope out the snacks. Dennis and Dick only grab Cokes, but Ted and I are determined to fully capitalize on this opportunity. We make bagels loaded with cream cheese, lox and tomatoes. This is not my first time at a craft service table.

I stack a maple bar on top of my bagel so I can carry my hot cocoa–my hands are full! We head back to the tram and take a seat next to the mannequins.  Dennis starts asking some casual questions. “Are you guys married?”

Between bites of his bagel, Actor Ted tells us he’s “happily married,” but it’s clear his mind is elsewhere. You see, Ted auditioned for the role of Knight Rider, but lost it to Hasselhoff. I can only imagine what he’s thinking:  That should be me inside the Kitt car! David should be the one stuck practicing in this tram! I would kill in this scene!

I’m happily divorced,” I offer while licking my maple bar. “It appears this is the perfect job for a man who’s unattached. What’s your marital status Captain Dennis?”

“I’m married to a former tour guide here at World Wide, for over a decade now,” he says proudly.

A proud stable of fillies below…

IMG_7083

 

Dick chimes in with: “I met a wonderful mail order Asian woman,” but I can’t tell if he’s serious. “We live quite close by,” he says. “And FYI, I double as a tour bus driver.”

Everyone’s heard of “The Odd Couple,” but right here we’ve got “The Odd Trio.” All of us have different agendas.

We chat for fifteen union minutes before the Glamour Tram engine kicks over and our training resumes. “We’re going to practice the Perilous Bridge next,” Dennis informs us, pointing down the path. “It’s that way.”

 

collapsing bridge Universal tour vintage pics - Google SearchWe all stare at the bridge from the road below. Rather than have us drive over it straightaway, Dennis decides to walk us over it first,  and we all share stories along the way.

Dennis goes first. “I met Lee Majors on this bridge. I was working on the ‘6 Million Dollar Man’ and Lee had to run across this while it collapses!”

IMG_7213Roy Rogers - Google Search

I go next, trying to one-up Dennis. “I met him more recently on the TV series ‘The Fall Guy.’ He and Roy Rogers were chatting between scenes on the Burbank Studios Western street. Even though I didn’t belong on their set, I had to go shake their hands, and they were extremely polite about it.”

Ted jumps in next. “We did an ‘Airwolf’ episode here!”

And finally, Dick has his say. “This looks like a bridge in Vietnam I filled full of lead!” he boasts, clearly very pleased with himself. “Once a helicopter machine gunner, always a helicopter machine gunner,” I say to myself. “I’m glad I missed that war!”

“So who wants to drive across first?” Dennis asks, and like a puppy I smile and raise my arm.

I make a point of straightening up my “passengers” before I begin.

“On this animation, your handling will be judged on how many of your mannequins stay in place.”

On my first attempt, my timing’s a bit slow, and only half the tram feels the full effects of the animation.

On the second try, I pick up speed, and execute a complete drop as if I’ve done this before. It’s really fulfilling, feeling the momentary freefall of the tram. Then all my passengers hit the floor–a  couple even dangling off the tram’s side.

“Way too fast!” Dennis remarks, and it’s clear my passengers would agree.

I reset the mannequins while the bridge resets itself, something it does every 45 seconds or so.

Large props, best enjoyed in the baking sun, next on my tour. Keep your arms and legs inside the Glamour Tram, please!

Written and lived by Donnie Norden…page 7.
Visit phantomofthebacklots.com

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