Unforgettable: In More Ways Than Oneby David Ahl
He’d been in mazes before. A corn maze out in New Jersey. In Somerset, England, the world’s longest maze of hedges in the shape of Noah’s Ark with seven monster animals inside. But this was worse. It was a maze of old rusty pipes, some a foot in diameter, some an inch, on wire mesh platforms with collapsed railings on the roof of the old Pfizer building in Brooklyn. Oh, yeah, and this jackass in a suit who he was chasing, who seemed to know his way around these pipes, was firing a 9mm at him. Where the hell was Liz? Was she behind him? What happened to that redheaded daffy?
And suddenly, there she was. Coming out between two humongous pipes at 90 mph to tackle that dummy in his spiffy suit. Crunch, crack. Yeah, the Jets pay D’Brickashaw Ferguson $10 million for throwing a few tackles, but he’d take Liz’s tackle any day of the week, especially since he could now holster his own .38, take a breath of relief, look down at this poor creep on the ground, well, the roof, and think about asking him a few questions.|
“Reset, everyone,” yelled the director’s assistant. Liz returned to her rusty catwalk followed closely by her hairdresser with a styling comb and iron to arrange her hair in exactly the right way so it would go flying high on the next shoot.
Yep, here we were on one of the strangest location shots ever at 630 Flushing Ave. in the Williamsburg orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn in this ancient pharmaceutical factory that was now half standing, half dismantled and home to half a dozen small companies plus the absolutely amazing Christian non-profit, “God’s Love We Deliver” whose 900 volunteers deliver 4,000 meals every day of the year to sick and needy people in New York! And those 4,000 meals were all cooked on the second floor of the building where this filming was taking place.
What filming? For the TV show, “Unforgettable” starring Dylan Walsh as lieutenant Al Burns and the breathtaking Poppy Montgomery (aka Samantha on “Without a Trace”) as Carrie Wells the detective with a photographic memory. Okay, it’s a summer replacement show on CBS and it was “killed” half-way through its second season in 2013. But it’s going to be resurrected this year and the remaining second season shows that weren’t aired will be shown followed by a new and wonderful third season—maybe.
We vehicle owners were given a reporting time of 2:00 p.m., which was very nice in light of the usual 6:00 a.m. reporting times. But then a day before it was moved to 1:00 p.m. And then to 12 noon. Okay, so leave the house at 10:00 a.m., no big deal. I arrive and there’s a hamster-brain in the parking lot that says, “okay, park over in that corner.” I do. I look for vehicle people. No one. I look for property people. No one. I look for TV shoot people. No one. Am I in the right place? I go inside this ancient factory. Someone directs me to an elevator. I go to the 7th floor. There, the remnants of a 6-hour-old breakfast lie moldering in the gloom. But there is a working K-cup coffee-maker, so I use it! I am rejuvenated! I make my way to the roof. [See beginning of story.]
You don’t want all the details of my day, do you? Of course not. So fast forward through our scrumptious lunch, getting to know each other in the parking lot, getting bored with each other, falling asleep, and finally being awakened at 6:20 p.m. (remember our call time was 12 noon) by a bunch of people pushing camera carts, equipment dollies, and yes! food carts. Hey, you can’t make this stuff up.
If you’ve done a TV shoot before, you know what happened. The director didn’t like where the vehicle were placed. Reposition them! Do it again! What does it look like from this angle? From that? “Okay, let’s shoot it.” So they did. Many shots. Much repositioning of reflective screens and cameras. Oh, but raindrops were beginning to fall. It’d been nice earlier. But
not now. So better hurry up. Normally there would have been a dozen takes of each scene, now it was just four or five. “Come on, wipe off that SUV, it’s not supposed to be raining.” What a comedy! Filming in the rain but it’s not supposed to look like it’s raining. Finally the rain lets up and they do the shots again. What can one say in Jewish Brooklyn? “Oy, vey?” Or, “Please, Lord, let’s get this over with.”
Which they finally did at 7:45 p.m. Let’s go home! The talented and normally delightful Gladys, the girl in my GPS (who I can’t really hear over the roar of the HMMWV diesel engine) kept trying to take me through lower Manhattan whereas I wanted to go back home by way of the Triboro (yes, I know it’s now the RFK) Bridge and GWB. Anyway, Gladys got really annoyed with me and let me get lost in Brooklyn for a half hour before I stopped at a gas station and a helpful non-English speaking fellow directed me to the BQE going south. I wanted to go north to the Triboro but instead I joined a standing still parking lot on the way to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I think I mentioned this in a previous piece, but for several miles leading to the bridge, construction on Long Island has things down to motorcycle-wide lanes that are absolutely, utterly too narrow for an 8-foot wide HMMWV at night. Yikes! And then, feeling churlish, Gladys in my GPS on Staten Island directed me even further south to the Outerbridge Crossing instead of the Goethals Bridge that I was heading for. [Since this is a family newsletter, I can’t tell you what I was actually thinking (and yelling), definitely not suitable for publication.].
After two hours of white-knuckle driving. I finally made it to Morristown, almost home to my lovely wife, but I confess I had to make one very important stop for a bottle of cheap brandy that was quite necessary to lure the blood back into my totally white knuckles.
You might be asking, who was that gorgeous redhead who tackled that bad guy? Who knows? Not me. Maybe Annika Boras who supposedly is in the series. And who was that cutie that Dylan was talking to beside the HMMWVs? Again, I don’t know. Watch the show and look at the scrolling credits. Or not. But more important, remember if you rent your vehicle for a TV shoot and you get a call for noon (or 6:00 a.m.), plan to arrive four hours later and you’ll be there in plenty of time.
Click on any photo below to see it super-sized!