The one on my mind at the moment is a guy named Ted White. You probably would have to look him up. He was doubling for John Wayne in the early 50's and had a long career afterwards.
At one point, Ted agreed to play Jason in one of the Friday the 13th sequels. He wasn't fond of the series, but needed the money.
The gig workers are starting to nod, while the 9-to-5'ers are a bit confused.
Yes, after 30 years in the business, he took a gig because he needed the money.
It happens to all of us. Sometimes we take roles we're not very excited about. Sometimes we take ones that are uncomfortable or even dangerous.
Anyways, Ted was a bit method. He refused to talk to anyone else in the cast, figuring he wanted to keep them scared of Jason.
But not being social didn't mean he didn't care.
As it turned out, Ted was not happy with the way his castmates were treated.
It came to a head one night when Jason's victim du jur was left on a raft in a lake. In December. Naked. And because nighttime and water are both complications, the crew was taking their sweet time setting up. To the point where the actor was visibly crying from the cold.
Ted went to the director and demanded they bring the actor back in to warm her up. The director balked.
Ted told the director to warm her up or he could find himself a new Jason.
That story didn't hit me as hard as it should have until after I'd done uncomfortable gigs because the bills were waiting for me. But think about it.
The man was in his late fifties.
He took the gig because he needed the cash.
He never so much as talked to the other actor.
And he still played the only card he had and risked his meal ticket for her sake.
The director backed off and the actor was brought in and warmed up.
Just in time, as she wound up being treated for hypothermia.
I'm more than a little angry that I work in a field where pointing out a safety hazard still puts someone at risk of losing their job and not being hired again.
But if, gods forbid, that remains the case?
And if, gods again forbid, I'm still taking what gigs I can because I need the cash in twenty-odd years?
Then I hope I have the courage to keep my integrity when it counts.
After all, Ted did.
Happy Halloween season, folks.
Take care of yourselves out there.