Kaldor As An Actor

Naked In Hollywood

I was 78 years old when I got the call from my agent. I had been a writer in Hollywood for 40 odd years, had parts in movies and TV, and did a slew of commercials. I had two pensions, Social Security, and residuals. I had it made, and I didn’t need what he was proposing. But I listened anyway…

AGENT
Hey buddy I got an audition for you that’s right up your alley.

ME
Tell me about it.

AGENT
It’s a commercial for Hertz. It’s a national. Maybe worldwide.

ME
Keep going…

AGENT
But you gotta go naked.

A LONG PAUSE…

AGENT (continued)
You gotta problem with that?

ANOTHER PAUSE:

ME
Kind of…

AGENT
Kind of what?

ME
I Kind of have a problem because I’m pushing 80.

AGENT
That’s exactly what they’re looking for—old guys.

I was ready to interrupt but the agent was on a roll…as usual.

AGENT (continued)
You still go to the gym dontcha?”

ME
….yeah.

AGENT
Then you’re lookin good…

ME
It’s not about looking good or bad I just don’t wanta.

AGENT (mimicking me)
Ya just don’t wanta? This is a national, maybe worldwide commercial. Besides, you told me you were a nudist.

ME
That was 50 years ago and I only went to a nudist colony, once.

AGENT
You told me twice.

ME
O.K., twice.

AGENT
That’s enough. Your time is 4:30 at Commercials Etc.. Don’t be late—and oh, there’s something else…

ME
What’s that?

AGENT
Don’t dress for the part.

At one time my agent had aspirations of being a comedy writer. The would-be comedy writer, now commercial agent, hung up the phone laughing. I wasn’t, and thought about not going on the audition. And then I was thinking, what the hell, this could be a gas. After all, I went to the gym and had gone to a nudist colony, twice.

The audition was in a huge office where I had been many times before. The office was filled with old men in all shapes, colors, and sizes. A lot of them were in slippers and bathrobes. I knew they were naked under those robes. When my time to audition came I was ushered into a smaller room with five other old guys. The room was freezing.

Facing us in that room was a slip of a girl. She couldn’t have been over 18. She reminded me of my granddaughter. She was the casting director.

CASTING GIRL
Welcome guys….

Mumbles of “Hi” from us guys.

CASTING GIRL
You’re all here cause it doesn’t bother you to go naked. Right?

The remark is met with grumblings.

CASTING GIRL
I need more enthusiasm. But the time has come. C’mon guys. Take it off! Slowly five old men began to strip.

CASTING GIRL
Naked means without boxers or jockeys.

More mumblings were heard, but after a while, all of us were naked. It was after all, a national commercial. We stood as far apart as we could from one another. Everybody looked straight ahead. The room was freezing, but I’ve said that before.

The casting girl took up a position behind her camera. She squinted into the lens.

CASTING GIRL
You guys are standing too far apart. Clump together.

ALL OF US
Clump together?

CASTING GIRL
Yeah, lemme tell ya what this commercial is all about—You. Guys are in the gondola of a balloon. The balloon’s just crashed.

ME
And we’re all naked in the gondola?

CASTING GIRL
Yeah. Your nudists. That’s the tag to the commercial.

Nobody laughed.

CASTING GIRL.
C’mon closer together.

We shuffled about, but not looking at each other. Perhaps we were a centimeter closer.

CASTING GIRL
C’mon tighter than that!

I felt somebody’s cold rump against my back. Then somebody stepped on my foot.

CASTING GIRL
C’mon guys don’t look so serious. And all of you keep your eyes open!

We did what we were told with frozen grins on our faces. I looked down at my dick. It was half way up my stomach. It was freezing in there…

CASTING GIRL
Now bend down so no one will see ya in the gondola.

ME
Oh my God…

But I followed instructions. My nose was half an inch from somebody’s withered, old hairy rump. I disregarded the prior instructions and closed my eyes.

CASTING DIRECTOR
Now jump up together. A Honda station wagon is coming. It’s here. Now yell “It’s a Honda! Can we get a ride?”

We did as we were told. But the casting director was dissatisfied that we were not jumping in unison, or not yelling loud enough, or smiling to her satisfaction. She made us repeat the process five times!

When I got home I took the longest shower of my life. And then I got a call back!

I went through the entire process again, this time in front of a roomful of advertising executives. They seemed to like my jumping and yelling “It’s a Honda!”

But I never got the commercial and I called my agent to ask why.

AGENT
They went in a different direction.

ME
What kind of direction?

AGENT
You were in too good of shape. They went with really fat guys. Makes it funnier, right?

ME
I’m not laughing.

AGENT
Not to worry, I got something else that’s right up you’re alley.

ME—being very cautious.
O.K., I’ll bite.

AGENT
Ya know how to jump around on a pogo stick while ya gyrate with a hula hoop?

ME
Do I have to repeat myself? I’m 80 years old!

AGENT
That’s exactly the age they’re lookin for. I’ll call you next week with the time. Start practicing…it’s a national.

He hung up before I could, but I actually practiced a bit. Ater all, it was a national commercial. But I didn’t get that one either and I called my agent to find out why again.

AGENT
They went in a different direction.

ME
Like what?

AGENT
They got a trained chimp, funnier right? Again I didn’t laugh.

AGENT
But I got something else. you’re not afraid of heights or wild animals? Are ya?

I hung up before he could tell me it was for a national.

A Not-So-Pleasant Encounter with Adrien Brody

I am going to blog about some of the strange, wonderful, and awful people I have known during my up and down career in Hollywood. Here is my first story:

A Not-So-Pleasant Encounter with Adrien Brody:

I had been acting for a couple of years when I got a call to audition for the feature Hollywoodland. I was the type they were looking for; an old, skinny bodybuilder— and there were damn few of us—which is why I got the job immediately.

The first thing production did was shave my beard and gave me a 1950’s haircut. In wardrobe, I got fitted into something that made me look like I was a denizen of muscle beach—circa 1950. The costume was a pair of skimpy shorts and I was told not to wear underwear as the undergarment would show.

Many scenes in the movie took place in a dilapidated apartment house, and I was a conspicuous part of the set, lifting dumb bells while smoking Lucky Strikes. Actually, they were herbal cigarettes and they made me cough. The first few scenes I did solo around a scum-filled pool and in various decrepit hallways within the house. Then, in my ill-fitting costume, I was placed on the roof with my weights and cigs. Pool side was Mr. Brody. He had just gotten out of a make-believe fight and had phony black eyes and bruises. In the scene, Brody was suppose to look up from some undercover papers and gaze at me quizzically.

I took my position on the roof. The sun was setting directly behind me and I heard the second AD speaking to the director, who said he thought the shot was great.

The AD then introduced me to Brody. I yelled “Hi” to him from my perch on the roof, and he barely nodded. That was fine with me, the guy had just won an Oscar, but I still thought he was an arrogant SOB.

So, we began the scene. I lifted my weights as I puffed on the herbal cigs, but I was not getting enough smoke. The second assistant—a lovely, young girl—was positioned between my legs to relight the cigs when they went out. We did a number of takes and then I felt a draft. I ignored it because we were in the middle of the shoot, but then I noticed that the young girl between my legs was pointing at my crotch. They kept filming. Nobody yelled “cut,” so being a good trooper; I ignored her until it finally became impossible. I looked down and realized my nuts had fallen out of my skimpy costume. I stopped to tuck them back in but the director yelled “Keep lifting and smoking!” I did as I was told with a twenty year old lighting cigarettes under my balls.

Finally it was over. The sun set behind me and the director was ecstatic about the shot, and I was told to wait around for some added scenes. I got down from the roof and passed Brody. I said “Hi.” He totally ignored me.

During the rest of the day I was in many other scenes with my weights and herbals, but unbeknownst to anybody, I put on my jockeys so my nuts were secure.

And then it came time for the final shot. It was dark outside and I was positioned in an apartment window. Brody was supposed to walk by and give me a jaundiced look. But he didn’t want to do the scene, and I knew why. I was stealing every scene with my skinny bod and insane costume.

Brody of course knew it too. He argued with the director. He insisted it was more natural to do the scene not looking at me. The director stood his ground for a while but you don’t cross your star performer—especially one who had just been awarded the highest honor in Christendom—an Oscar. Eventually, the director caved.

I was grateful. I had been on the set for some 14 hours, but when I went to sign out, the AD whispered that I should stick around.

Brody shot the scene without me and then left with his entourage. Soon after, the director shot me in the apartment as originally planned. I knew he was going to edit me into the movie as Brody’s POV.

When the shot was complete, wardrobe was closed and I exhaustedly drove home in my skimpy costume. I got lost and stopped at a 7-eleven for directions. The Bangladeshi clerk looked like he was reaching for a gun when I entered the deserted store. I threw up my hands and gave him my most engaging smile, and the turbaned clerk gave me halting directions to the freeway.

When the picture came out, the shots used were not the ones where I was exposed. That was a shame, But I was still happy with the outcome. Just as I expected, I had stolen every scene I was in with Adrien Brody.

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