Shooting The Moon

Kelly'sOn this day in 1969 I was in Yugoslavia working as a Third Assistant Director on a movie called “Kelly’s Heroes“. I was nineteen years old and having a wonderful time working with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Telly Salvalas, and a whole wild bunch of American actors. like Harry Dean Stanton and Dick Davalos.

We were living at the Petrovaradin Hotel in Novi Sad and most nights I joined the Americans in games of high stakes poker. We took over one of the small banquet rooms and several of the hotel staff were deputed to look after us with drinks and food. These games were a useful but expensive education for me; over a few weeks, I managed to lose several months’ worth of per diem expenses.

Apollo_11_bootprintOur game on the 20th July 1969 coincided with the first manned landing on the moon and we arranged to have a black and white TV set up in the room  so we could follow the action.  I remember that, just as Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Eagle and on to the moon, we were in the middle of a game with a good-sized pot of American dollars piled in middle of the the table. We agreed to pause the game to watch the historic moment.

Several of us took the opportunity to stand and stretch for a moment. As I did so, I noticed that the American actors were glued to the TV screen intent on cheering their countrymen while the hotel staff ignored the TV and were all staring at the big pile of money, mouths agape.

It was an unforgettable night.

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4 Responses to Shooting The Moon

  1. tdurrie says:

    A valuable moment and observation. Interesting how poverty or wealth change our perceptions of the world.

  2. George B says:

    So glad you mentioned this important time in World history.
    President’s Kennedy’s speech set the stage for that evolutionary challenge which is in sharp contrast to the lack of political leadership we have today.
    Our Dad would get us up at anytime to watch various space missions as he knew we were seeing history made before our eyes and I still remember gathering as a family in front of our black and white console watching the drama unfold and hearing Neil Armstrong speak those famous words which are still heart-stirring to this day.
    There’s a cute film called ‘The Dish ‘ that portrays Australia’s role in the moon landing that’s worth watching and Neil Armstrong’s biography is an informative read.
    p.s
    surely there must be a book to write about the great character’s on that movie shoot, not just the one’s you mentioned but how about Donald Sutherland, Carroll O’Conner, Don Rickles, Gavin MacLeod, Len Lesser and even a young John Landis.

  3. Been reading this space for quite a few years now. Once a month or so is how I keep up. Mostly for my interest in your neighbourhood which I have old ties to and which I visit about once a month. All of which led to today’s unexpected payoff – you worked on my favourite war movie. Well done!

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