I hope I’m not spoiling anything for anyone who may not have known that our darling Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz took drugs, but there it is: Judy Garland was a pill-popping booze hound. She blamed it on her early days at MGM, when they gave her something in the morning to wake her up and keep her peppy, and something else at night to put her to sleep. Plus a little something extra to help keep her from being pudgy.
I always thought that it was just awful of Mr. Mayer to make poor Judy take those pills, but now that I’ve been shooting my web series for the last two weeks, I get it. The days are long and require tons of energy and positivity, and the nights require sleep that’s hard to get, because of thinking about the next day’s work. And all Judy had to do was sing, dance and act! What a wuss! Can you imagine what she’d have to be on if she also wrote and was producing the damn things?
Lucky for me, I have my fantastic, supportive co-producer Tyne Firmin, who is directing the hell out Merce, not to mention playing Mama. (It’s my prediction that Mama’s going to be the break-out star of the series.) And the rest of the company, the amazing cast and crew, are all showing up 100%, with enthusiasm and imagination, and the ability to just roll with the punches.
Example: A few nights ago we were shooting on a city street, one of the few semi-serious scenes in the piece. Dreamy Randy Taylor, playing Remington, and I were strolling down the neighborhood lane, with the crew in tow. The scene called for us to stop to finish the scene, so Tyne chose a lovely building with a beautiful window behind us for the shot. On about the third or fourth take, this woman who obviously is not a fan of the arts, threw open the curtain behind us and yelled at us to leave the scene, that we didn’t have any right to be there, etc. As if! We were on the public sidewalk, after all. Jesus was on our side (he always is), and Johnny the DP had already gotten the shot. We all had a great laugh. As soon as Johnny gets the footage edited, we’re going to put that lady up on YouTube. I’m sure it’ll land on Tosh.O.
I have to shout out to some of the locations that have allowed us to film there: The Hourglass Tavern and Bettibar, who were so amazingly generous with their space, and fed us well and made us feel at home, Mark Fisher Fitness, and the home of Daniel Brewer and Gene Gosselin (and me!). My roommates are such kind and supportive friends, I’m lucky to have them.
I also have to give gold stars to Trudi Cohen, John Matthews and Steve Petersen for showing up to work as production assistants. Hard work, and we are grateful for your time.
It’s not over yet! More shooting tomorrow, and Wednesday, and Friday, and then some time in October. I don’t know. I just know I have to be there every day. They just push me around, just like MGM did with Judy.
I’m not going to take any drugs. I have terrific support with my Merce team and friends. But when I watch The Wizard of Oz, I’ll watch with a bit more understanding of why she needed all those uppers to get over the damn rainbow.