Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fishin' with Frank on Cable 68

When I moved to Orlando from New Jersey, my old friends from up there came up with the idea that we would have an annual party, like The Big Chill movie. All or most of my good friends would meet every summer at the beach house in Beach Haven, NJ. My best friend, Stew's, parents owned it, so we never had to worry about finding a place. Every year, we would all take turns with the video camera and I would edit it into some kind of form that would make sense. It was filled with all kinds of things. I could take a comment made about a model or movie star and splice it into another area so it seemed like someone was commenting on someone else's wife. All kinds of stuff, I did with those videos. Everyone couldn't wait to see my finished product.

One year, I decided to shoot a segment about my good chum, Frank. Frank has always been quite the fisherman. Why not conjure up something and call it "Fishin' with Frank." It has a nice alliteration to it. I worked for an ad agency, so creating art for it presented no problem. I designed a title page that depicted a fisherman on a boat who looked like Frank casting out to sea. For the opening scene, where I did the voiceover, "Yes, it's time for Fishin' with Frank," the camera focused on a pool of water. Then, SPLASH! and clunk as the lure and lead weight was cast into the inside of a toilet bowl. As soon as it hit the water, the toilet was flushed and the camera slowly panned upward to the open lid, which had the picture of Frank carefully taped to it. The next scene was Frank peeing off the stern of the boat. Of course, he was really just spilling a beer can of water into the ocean. "Frank! Frank! You're on!" He pretended to pull his zipper up on his shorts, turned around and introduced himself. Frank knows his stuff. He talked! We had the requisite bikini clad babes, who were all wives and girlfriends. We were a lot younger then and they sure did look good. Not that they don't now. So, we had a lot of shots of the girls. Which was a whole lot more important and exciting to watch than Frank. Margaritas flowed. Music wafted in the background. We all took our turns fishing. Of course, the best scenes were when Frank tried to teach some of the girls how to fish. The camera kept moving toward the women's bodies. "Dave! Move that camera here, !#$T#$!*@. I'm trying to show how to tie a knot." Oh, yeah. OK, Frank. Right. That's how it went that day out in the Atlantic Ocean. We all learned something from Frank that day, like, how to talk like a sailor when the camera's not where it's supposed to be. Thus was the taping of the world premier video of the almost famous program, Fishin' with Frank on Cable 68, out of Vineland, New Jersey. Of course, there was no such thing as Cable 68.

After we all got back from that excursion, we cleaned up and went to Buckalew's Restaurant & Tavern for dinner and drinks. They sure did know how to make a great tavern pie there. We sat in the tavern part where they have booths. One side has a long booth and chairs opposite the tables, so we could all sit together. There must have been 20 of us. One waitress asked me who we all were. Wrong question to ask me. "Why, have you ever heard of the Fishin' with Frank show on Cable 68?"

"Yes, I'm pretty sure I have."

"Great. We just taped a show up here to be broadcast next month. That's Frank, over there." I pointed Frank out to her. Frank is a pretty tall and good looking guy, so he can have a commanding presence. His uncle was a Hollywood actor named Dick Foran. His father was a senator.

That started the whole theme of the evening. That one waitress had everyone sitting at tables and the bar scrambling to talk to Frank and get autographs. One woman came up to me and asked, "Are you the producer?"

"Yes, I am," I stated as she thrust a paper placemat and a pen toward me to sign. "I thought so," she replied. It seems that everyone had heard of the show, or seen it. The amazing power of suggestion and a whole entourage of "production people." We never took advantage of anyone, nor accepted free drinks, but, it sure was hilarious.

I don't remember if we really caught any fish that day, but, I'll bet you, as Frank always would, that he would have caught the first, the biggest, and the most on the maiden (and only) voyage of Fishin' with Frank.

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