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12 February 2013

Let's do the 'Groundhog Day' 'time loop' again, again, again, again

Slap462

I can't believe it's been 20 years since the almost-perfect Bill Murray comic vehicle "Groundhog Day" debuted, mostly because my face still stings a little from the slap Andie MacDowell gave me during an interview for the outrageous comedy.

GroundP226Those familiar with the 1993 comic gem directed by Harold Ramis will recall that Murray plays Phil Connors, a cantankerous TV weatherman tired of covering Groundhog Day ceremonies in Punxsutawney, Pa. and grumbling about covering a "rat" for the fourth year in a row.

Instead of waking up on Feb. 3 after being snowed in, however, Phil -- the human one portrayed by Murray (right down to rodent-like teeth) -- discovers to his horror that it's Feb. 2 (Groundhog Day) all over again.  And so it goes.  Every time Phil wakes up to Sonny and Cher's "I Got You, Babe" on the clock radio, it's Feb. 2.

That means that since Rita (MacDowell as Phil's producer) slaps Phil on Feb. 2, she will slap him on all the Feb. 2nds to come.  That's 10 by some counts, but I remember more.

The common way to slap someone when acting in a movie is not to really slap them at all.  The hand swings at the face, but either misses completely or barely strikes the other actor.  The actual sound of a brutal slap is edited in and, generally, that's enough to convince an audience that a real slap took place.

That's what I expected MacDowell to explain to me during our TV interview for "Groundhog Day" back in 1993.  It went something like this:

Me (TV guy, trying to be so cute and witty):  "You know, Andie, you had to slap Bill over and over making 'Groundhog Day.'  How did you guys manage to fake it and make it appear so real?"

Andie MacDowell:  "I'll show you.  Lean over this way.  Closer ... a little closer ..."

WHAAAAAAP!

That's the day I learned two important things:  When interviewing playful movie stars, phrase the question very carefully and Ow, that hurt!

Let's fill the Richland/Movie Memories bus again

Bonnieclyde220
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in a photo found by police at their Joplin, Mo. hideout in 1933.  (Courtesy:  http://en.wikipedia.org)
Thanks again to all of you who joined us for the Richland College Emeritus plus 50 Program/Movie Memories bus trip to cinematically historic Waxahachie last April.

We've got a dandy day bus trip follow-up planned for this April, and, once again, it is my goal to make Richland Emeritus plus 50 leader Mitzi Werther order a bigger bus.  That's where you come in.

It's time to sign up for the "Bonnie and Clyde Bus Tour."  It all kicks off with a screening of the 1967 Oscar-nominated crime-spree classic "Bonnie and Clyde" Friday evening, April 19.  The next morning, we'll get on a comfortable bus and begin our tour at the CRM Studios in Las Colinas.  Tim Eaton, who so eloquently guided us around Waxahachie last year, is back to show up around celebrity-themed dressing rooms at the CRM studios.

After lunch, we'll tour Dallas-area locales where notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde gunned down two law enforcement officers, other related sites of interest and finally visit the couple's grave sites, which are not together in case you are wondering.

Charles Heard, author, cinephile and collector of movie memorabilia, will guide us along the Bonnie and Clyde part of the tour.  Sign up early, please.  Once the bus is full, it's full.  You can call 972-238-6147 to register for the bus tour.  Here's a link with all the info:  http://www.richlandcollege.edu/emeritus/trips.php

("Groundhog Day" cover and photo courtesy:  Columbia Pictures)

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