Re: Strangest DV conversations, revisited

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Posted by Harold Ericsson on September 06, 2002 at 22:49:40:

In Reply to: Re: Strangest DV conversations, revisited posted by The Desert Dryad on September 06, 2002 at 16:11:09:

In a discussion on another website (desertusa) about movie locations in the desert I confused the north side of Mono Lake with the south side of the lake, I was duly corrected. Below is my reply to the correction.
Here is another example of my failing memory. One night my wife and I were going down the Pinnacles Road planning to spend the night at the Pinnacles as we have done many times in the past. We’d heard that a new version of the movie, Planet of the Apes, was being filmed there and as we proceeded south we saw the lights of what looked like a small city on our left, the encampment of the movie crew. We drove to the south side of the larger Pinnacles and began to encounter rocks and other objects on the dirt road. We finally found a place to park and spent the night there. Shortly after sunrise a BLM Park Ranger approached us and we learned that he had recently been assigned to the Ridgecrest BLM office from the Midwest, I believe. His job was to see that the film crew did no permanent damage to the Pinnacles BLM Park. After having coffee with the range I wandered north and around one of largest of the Pinnacles to view the filming activity. Naturally, I had my camera bag and my 35 mm camera. On my way to the filming site I saw that fake rocks and brush had been placed on the dirt roads to obscure them from the movie company’s cameras.
Filming was going on at the space ship crash site at the base of a large pinnacle, standing around the side of the pinnacle were large numbers of folks equipped with clubs and spears and wearing what I presumed to be cave people suits. To the east was a collection strange purple tents, I don’t believe cave people live in tents so I guess the tents were home to apes of the Planet of the Apes, but no apes were present at this time. As I was taking pictures of all these interesting people and things a gentleman approached and informed me that I was not allowed to be where I was and I was especially not allowed to take pictures of what I was seeing. I informed him that it was a public place and, in a nice way, told him to go stuff it. He then told me that maybe I was right, but then they could stand people anywhere they wanted, like in surround me. Aware of the battalion of spear and club carrying cavemen very near I decided it was time to head south to our camp and another cup of coffee.
Sitting on an ATV near our camp was a fellow using a radio or cell phone and he seemed interested in my activities. Soon my wife and I headed north out of the Pinnacles and as we came to short steep part of the road abreast of the movie encampment a husky young man stepped in front of our vehicle and ordered us to stop. As soon as I complied with his orders cars came from every direction and blocked any advance or retreat. A rather grim appearing young women came to the window of our vehicle and announced that I must surrender all the exposed film I possessed, any of my pictures that were not of the movie site would be returned to me, thank you! Being a veteran of World War Two I realized that I must establish some moral ascendancy at once. I immediately put on my Soviet Submarine Commander’s hat---a gift from my daughter in Germany---emblazoned with a red hammer and sickle on a white enamel background. I then declined her kind offer, ending my refusal with a pleasant, “honey.” The word honey seemed to cause more concern than my refusal to give up any film. For about fifteen minutes nothing much happened, small conferences seem to be going on around us as we were held hostage in our vehicle. It then occurred to me to take the exposed film out of my camera and hide it in case the club wielding cavemen stormed our little fort. When I opened the camera I found I had forgotten to load it with film! My reference to World War Two suggests my age, and while fully mobile and usually in control of my bodily functions I do have the occasional memory lapse.
During the standoff the Park Ranger arrived on the scene and seemed to have taken a neutral position, at least so it seemed to me as I noted the bemused expression on his face, welcome to California, ranger. I rolled down the window of our vehicle and called out that I wished to negotiate. My negotiating partner seemed somewhat taken back by my announcement that there was no film in my camera and thus no issue. True or untrue it did present a problem for my jailers. More conferences took place around us and then an offer was made from the film company: if I signed a paper that stated that I would not sell or distribute pictures of any activity involved with the filming of the movie Planet of the Apes we would be free to go on our merry way. The United States Constitution aside, since I had no pictures of anything I signed the document and proceeded to Ballarat and the Panamint Valley.
Winners, losers? Our interest piqued by adventures at the Pinnacles, we forked over good money to see Planet of the Apes. Anyone that has seen the film knows who the losers were.

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