SHIRLEY'S WORLD TV SHOOT 1971. MORETTI'S PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

                     
                                                                           

 SHIRLEY MacLAINE  TV Shoot : SHIRLEY'S WORLD 1971

It's a lovely Summer's day in June 1971 and my Wife Pina and I are on our way to Pinewood Studios to do a TV movie with Shirley McLaine,It's one of a Series called "Shirley's World."  Stuart Damon, from " The Champions " TV series is Her co-star. Now anything can happen in a musician's life, and a lot of it can only be classed as weird. I've spent the last week rehearsing with Stuart for this movie. The story is he is playing the part of a soldier in the Red army, which happens to be in England to give a concert which will cement good relations between Russia and the U.K. But Stuart is a Bob Dylan freak in the movie,and he sings and plays guitar. His whole thing is to become a star and piss off from the Red Army when he gets half a chance.Shirley aids him in doing so. So Stuart and I had spent about 3 days of the previous week getting about 6 Dylan songs together. Then on the fourth day I was told that Dylan was out and we were doing Elvis songs, which meant starting from scratch again but it was cool. Now Stuart couldn't play guitar so He used a guitar with rubber strings. The idea is, as he sings and plays, I'm behind some bushes about two feet behind him doing the guitar thing into a microphone. These are movable bushes and I can see through a little hole so I know when he begins to play and get us in synch. I've told you the plot, now back to Pina and I in the car on our way to Pinewood. There's a truck in front of us and suddenly- BAM ! The truck throws up a stone and thewindscreen is gone. On cue, the sun disappears and it begins to rain. Now we are both soaking wet and covered in shatterproof glass. We pull into a garage, fit an emergency plastic windscreen, and continue on our way. The sun appears again. I'm wearing a wet T-shirt and Jeans and I'm going to a TV shoot with Shirley McLaine. I feel wonderful. As we pull into Pinewood the most amazing sight greets us, In front of this very large building the Red Army are seated . There must have been 50 guys all in brown uniforms. And it's snowing ! polystyrene snow pouring down from the top of the building aided by a wind machine. Snow all around on the ground, it was meant to be a shot of the Army back in Moscow prior to their leaving for the U.K. I'm fascinated but I'm also very wet and I feel cold just looking at the polystyrene snow. Shirley McLaine is extremely professional.

                                        Shirley MacLaine photo

I'm introduced to her, She expresses sympathy for my appearance and it's cause, and we prepare for the scene with Stuart. Now, I don't know why, but there's something rather absurd about hiding behind some bushes with an acoustic guitar, peeping through a hole at Shirley McLaine. Stuart says his lines, lifts his arm to play and we are into the song. Now the director, a nice guy called Ray Austin, has a great idea. I'll put on a brown army jacket and they'll take some close-up shots of my arms playing Stuart's rubber guitar in synch. with the track we have just made. When I have the jacket on I draw attention to the fact that in the last shot Stuart's jacket was covered in medals, whereas my little brown jacket had none.  Wouldn't it look odd when the two shots were joined together ?  " Brilliant !" Someone said." How long have You been in the business ? " said another, admiringly. I suddenly felt at home in the Movie Business. I wore Stuart's jacket with the medals and I twanged those rubber strings beautifully.Miss McLaine smiled at the proceedings. On day two we did some shots of a similar nature. Ray Austin approached me. " Would You like to come and see the rushes from Yesterday ?" He asked. Hey ! I was thrilled. Ray Austin is a director of repute. So in we go to this little theatre to see the rushes, They want me to check out the close-ups of my arms and see how it matches with Stuart's shots. And there I am with Shirley McLaine sitting next to Me.

                                       

I have a sudden desire for popcorn and I want to put my arm round her shoulder and kiss her. Reality sets in. There up on the great silver screen, are my arms doing their thing. They were brlliant ! I've never seen better arms. But a couple of things spoiled the shots. For me, anyway. Stuart was twice my size so the sleeves of his jacket kept falling down over my hands and in some shots You could only see the plectrum sticking out from the sleeve. Also, as the strings were made of rubber they appeared to move Three inches up and down in a stange slow motion fashion. Apart from that it was wonderful. My arms were stars. We broke for lunch and I made my way outside, heading for the canteen.I must have walked a couple of hundred yards when it started raining. But heavy. I'm getting soaked. Then I hear the sound of an approaching car from behind. I turn to see who it is . Shirley McLaine ! Shirley in a Chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. She's gonna pick me up and save me from the rain and take me to the Canteen. Isn't She ? No , She isn't ! Whoosh ! Straight past goes the Rolls. I don't suppose she even saw me. I wanted to run after the car shouting - " Hey it's Me ! The Guy with the Arms ! The Guy who plays the guitar in the bushes, Hey !"  Know something ? I hate the fucking rain !  The final shoot was the next day at 6 am in a park in London. Everthing went without a hitch, and one little incident completes my story. It was weird to be standing next to Shirley Mclaine in a park in London at six in the morning eating sausage rolls and drinking coffee ! Not a brilliant ending, but tidy, don't you think ? 

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