HORSE IS A HORSE
There's an old
Hollywood saying . . . "Never work with children or animals."
This season Perfect Strangers has worked with both! A good episode
of any series should appear almost effortless . . . by the time it reaches your
television screen it should flow seamlessly. The experts in their field
make it look so easy! But when it comes to working with animals a lot of
love and dedication is put in behind the scenes and to watch it come together is
15, 1990 was an overcast day in Culver City. As the audience made their
way to the set of Perfect Strangers we could see a horse trailer parked
outside with "Lancaster Lane Ranch" written on the side.
Obviously the horse track sets we saw being built the week before would be used
this time around.
inside, Robert G. Lee, warm-up comedian extraordinaire, keeps us entertained and
points out that Darius McCrary, Eddie Winslow on Family Matters, is
sitting in the audience! At eleven minutes past seven the cast is
introduced and by 7:17 p.m. the filming is underway.
first scene was filmed once straight through. The camera reset (changed
position in preparation for someone's entrance or exit) after Gorpley's
exit. The U Can't Touch This number was performed in its entirety
and received a great reaction from the audience! After this scene was
finished they went back and did it again from after the dance but had to stop
filming when one of the film magazines turned out to be bad. After
reloading the camera the scene was filmed straight through again with Bronson
only stumbling slightly on one line but repeating the line and continuing.
race track bleachers were set up to the right of the apartment set and filled
with extras to play spectators. They took different parts of this scene
about three times, capturing different angles and reaction shots of the cast
members and background people. One thing they did cut out of this scene
was Jennifer stomping off after Larry lost their honeymoon money, which is the
real reason why Larry turned to Balki with that horrified "I lost big!"
next scene was the first one with special guest star Don the Horse. When
they started filming the director had to stop the action for some reason and
someone's reaction to the sudden cut caused the horse to pull back, hitting his
head on the top of the stable beam. Fortunately Don was not hurt and
filming was soon continued.
the scene where Don was first in the apartment and Larry sleepily stumbles out
of his room to get a drink, the horse had his head hanging down and the director
asked, "Could you pick up the horse's head, please?" As if on
cue, Don immediately raised his head, which brought about a round of applause
from the impressed audience. After Mark performed a perfect spit-take the
floor was cleaned up to do a pick up and as they started filming Don
unintentionally padded his part by dropping several road apples onto the living
room floor set, at which the audience died of laughter. Mark coolly
ignored the laughter, continuing with his part until the director yelled cut and
he could finally walk over and see what the big joke was. The set was
quickly cleaned up as the next scene began.
the next scene began filming, Bronson was waiting outside the front door, which
he would walk through on cue. He was peeking through the door, then called
to a woman on the set named Joy and asked her to follow him. They both
disappeared behind the door and after a few minutes, when the director was
calling for everyone to settle, the door opened and Bronson and Joy were acting
like they were kissing passionately. "I'm ready now!" Bronson
announced with a satisfied sigh. They filmed the entire scene without a
hitch, then went back to pick it up again. This time Bronson appeared
through the door before filming with three women who scurried away as he gave an
elated sigh. The entire scene was filmed again from the top.
the next scene was prepared, the partitions were placed in front of the set so
we couldn't see what was being set up. When they were finally pulled away
the audience could see Don the Horse was now sitting upon the couch! This
scene was filmed once straight through without a problem. As they set it
up again and a new carrot cake was brought out, Bronson wandered about munching
on a piece. By this time some of the audience members who had come in a
bus group had to leave and as Bronson saw their mass exodus he let out a mumbled
"Oh my God!" Some of the girls in the audience began to shout
out about wanting some carrot cake, so Bronson got some pieces and began handing
them up to the audience members! They started the scene again before
realizing the medicine jug had been left in the wrong place and had to start
again. When the scene started again, Don the Horse kept pushing his nose
into the bucket when he wasn't supposed to and Mark tried to keep it away from
him. Don then nipped at Mark's arm when he couldn't get at the
bucket. The scene was finally completed.
again the partitions were placed in front of the set to keep us from seeing the
set up for the next scene. When they were pulled away, Don was lying on
the floor and the filming started right away. As Balki started to get up
to talk with Larry in the kitchen, the horse got up, too. "Oh, he's
better!" Bronson announced. They tried this again and again, but each
time the horse would get up when Bronson did. They finally solved the
problem by having Bronson get up very slowly. But they had the same
problem when they have to come running back in with the parsley. The horse
would react to the fast movement by trying to get up or rear his head.
Then when they ran back to try again, Bronson ran to get the parsley before
realizing he already had it in his hand from the last take! The crew
finally had to pull the partitions over to get the horse to lie down again and
after several tries they learned to move slowly into the scene and the shot was
was finally time to shoot the last scene and at the end of the first take Mark
went nuts with the crying and sobbing as they walked up the stairs (this was cut
from the show that aired), crumbling and ending up on his knees. During a
pickup, they are supposedly watching the race as the announcer explains the
action. Miles (Kristman) held up two fingers and walked in front of the
set to give the actors' eyes something to follow. At the end of the race,
the announcer didn't say who'd won and as the cast waited for the final result,
Mark finally shouted "I guess we won!" and everyone proceeded to go
crazy and cheer as if they had! Before the last retake, Bronson leaned
over to tickle the clapboard lady with the telescope he was holding. A few
moments was taken out to get the extras to cheer for a wild track and then the
filming was done!
cast came out to answer a few questions afterward and one person asked how
they'd gotten on the show. Bronson answered "They asked me after
seeing Beverly Hills Cop" and Mark answered "They asked me
after asking him after seeing Beverly Hills Cop!"
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