Hey folks, Harry here...
I'm not stepping on Quint's Behind The Scenes Pic of the Day - instead - I'm adding to it. He still owes y'all one. You see, on Sundays here in Rehab, I just have a 30 minute session of Physical Therapy - and I end up having a lot of uninterrupted time. Enter, Father Geek with a copy of Hal Needham's STUNTMAN! MY CAR-CRASHING, PLANE-JUMPING, BONE-BREAKING, DEATH-DEFYING HOLLYWOOD LIFE.
Do you know about Hal Needham? If not, you're a film geek in training. Hal Needham is generally considered one of the greatest Stuntmen of all time. In addition, during the big, gosh - gee-whiz years of my life, he was directing a whole series of STUNT orientated films - like HOOPER, CANNONBALL RUN, SMOKEY & THE BANDIT... but it was his work with Kirk Douglas, Dustin Hoffman, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Burt Reynolds... the list is endless. He worked on 4,500 television episodes and 310 feature films. Many times he served as Assistant Director or 2nd Unit Director in charge of shooting all the dangerous action scenes.
But when I got the book, I immediately jumped to the pics to see what cool BTS stuff there may be, and finding the following shot of Hal training Dustin Hoffman how to rapid fire his pistol in LITTLE BIG MAN, which was on TCM just the other day!
So I jumped to the index to see what stories Hal had from the set of LITTLE BIG MAN, and apparently Hal feels that one of the most dangerous stunts he ever performed physically in his life took place on the film. Specifically it involved the scene where you see the Stuntman as Dustin Hoffman, leaping onto the horse from the runaway stagecoach, Hal was the indian that jumped on that other horse. The tough part was standing on the back of the horse and leaping to the next horse. He describes it as a standing broadjump of 14 feet from the back of a full galloping horse to another full galloping horse. Apparently, Arthur Penn, the director told him on his close up doing the stunt, to make it look like he was having fun, but Needham insists that it was anything but fun! They had to continue repeating this - and well... you can imagine. Or maybe you can't. I can't. I really can't. That's real hero shit! They had to perform the whole stunt, going from rear horse all the way to the lead horse 13 times over the course of two days. It's a hair-raising description.
As good as that was, the BATTLE OF LITTLE BIG HORN descriptions... Wow. That's just a 5 page sequence out of the book, and a single picture. I'm gonna devour this thing tonight. It's just told breathlessly - and with a great memory of detail. Click the picture to order the book from Amazon:
I also discovered there was a HAL NEEDHAM - THE STUNTMAN doll that just looks amazing! Add that to my list of things I must track down and own. Too cool!
Such a great book so far!