Stanley and I

The Stanley Cup: hockey’s highest honor
Stanley Cup photo by
Alex Goykhman

The local news people are saying that the famous hockey trophy – THE STANLEY CUP – will be on display in San Jose.

I’ll pass. As Taylor Swift once said, “WE are never EVER getting back together.” It’s difficult dating a high-profile celebrity!

When I was a ‘background actor,’ which is a fancy term for ‘extra’ in Hollywood, I was being sent all over town almost daily for film and TV shoots from major studio lots like Warner Bros. to temporary locations set up just for a day shoot.

I was booked for one day on Arli$$, an HBO show about a sports agent. I was to be a fellow sports agent, standing in a hallway talking to someone as the principal actors walked by. I never said ‘extra’ work was glamorous.
They filmed this show at a small studio lot somewhere in Glendale that I wasn’t aware existed until I arrived that morning.

DVD cover of “The Best of Arli$$,” showing Sandra Oh, Robert Wuhl, Michael Boatman, & Jim Turner
Sandra Oh, Robert Wuhl, Michael Boatman, & Jim Turner

When I got booked on Buffy The Vampire Slayer around that time, it was the same type of thing. Buffy filmed at a tiny Santa Monica lot with a handful of sound stages and a mock town set that was “Sunnydale.”

This particular episode of Arli$$ was about hockey and I’d heard the Stanley Cup was to make an appearance in the episode. Not a replica, but the actual thing.

We broke for lunch and everyone was herded into an adjacent sound stage which had been set-up for catering. Everyone including the principal actors, day-players (actors booked just for that episode), crew, and extras sat together at various tables around the place and, as is human nature, everyone formed cliques and had lunch with the co-workers they knew.

I didn’t know anyone at this particular shoot, even fellow extras, so I grabbed a lonely spot at a distant corner table; just me, my tray of lunch, and a magazine.

This didn’t last long. About five minutes into it, applause broke out and I turned to see a couple of guys and a fully armed security dude walk in carrying the Stanley Cup. Everyone in the room (about 150 people) turned to watch.

The security guy asked, “Where would you like this?” The guy in charge looked around and spotted my table. I was the only one who wasn’t visiting with people, so I was one guy at a table meant for ten people.

“Put it over there!”

They did and, in about 30 seconds, I had 150 new friends because they all had to gather ’round for a close-up view of the most famous thing in hockey, Wayne Gretzky aside.

He wasn’t there.

After about five minutes of that, I couldn’t take any more elbowing in my back and people leaning over my shoulder. I slid out from under it all with my tray and magazine, slinking right on outside, to a bench alongside the building.

I kind of wish I was more of a hockey fan so that I could appreciate it more, but I’ve never really been much on sports overall.

I once guarded the America’s Cup – the big sailing trophy – in the late eighties when I worked at The San Diego Yacht Club, as our Skipper Dennis Conner won it off the Aussies.

So, TWICE, I’ve had lunch with famous sports trophies, not knowing much about either of them at the time. I know that’s kind of like dating Scarlett Johannson and saying, “Oh, are you in a movie?”

Portrait of Scarlett Johannson
“Why yes, Dave, I’ve made a movie or two, why do you ask?”

The episode of Arli$$, “Fielding Offers,” is Season 6, Ep 3, but I’ve never seen it since I didn’t have HBO and still don’t. I have no idea if I showed up in it. Here it is at IMDB.

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