A Day In " Nightmare Alley"
by Dennis Conrad
It was a cold and snowy late winter day when Bill Brown, his wife Sue and I made our way to a large warehouse. The warehouse is on Babcock Street and is owned by the film pro-duction company. Currently, it is housing cars and props for the film, including Bill’s 1930 Model ‘A’. Bill’s car was flat bedded there the night before.
We arrived at about 10:00 a.m. and had to wait until noon for Bill’s ‘A’ to be loaded on another flatbed for the trip downtown to the movie set. Finally, at the movie set, Bill’s ‘A’ was unloaded. We parked on Niagara Circle in front of City Hall where we had to wait for other cars to be parked and moved. Bill’s ‘A’ was one of ten or so cars from the 1930’s and ‘40’s which would be travelling around the circle. Unfortunately, we had to wait, idling the car, while the film crew shot other scenes in front of City Hall. This went on for two to three hours. We were like popsicles in the car. As you may be aware, the heating system in these amazing cars leaves much to be desired! Eventually, it was our turn and, one by one, we made several trips around the circle. Each time, hundreds of extras had to set up to walk in and around the circle. This routine was repeated continually for several takes.
It should be a great scene, with cars circling and people in period dress walking past parked vintage cars, all the while acting as if they aren’t freezing. Also, some entertainment for us while parked was watching men chase their hats because of the gusts of high wind that seemed to encircle City Hall. All in all, it was a great experience, even though Bill’s ‘A’ started to miss during the last passes, and it made us a little nervous. Luckily no damage was done, and the car was a real trooper after idling all that time.
At the close of the day, it was obvious that they liked the job we did, as they invited Bill to come back the following day to drive a vintage Police car. Bill, being the “trooper” that he is, had to wear a police cap requiring him to shave his mustache and have his hair cut! Fun wow, right Bill?