Myths vs Reality

bobgaggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
Philadelphia, PA
As I gain experience in this industry I've begun to hear similar things repeated over and over. Myths or truths that spread around. Wanted to know if you guys had heard these or some other ones I don't mention:

I've heard a bunch of versions of the coffee stain story. As the legend goes, a scenic charge and designer had a bad working relationship and the designer was taking a long time getting a rendering of a drop to the paint department. When it finally showed up, there was a ring of coffee stain on it, and the disgruntled artist painted the stain into the drop. Other versions have the designer specifying a blue sky drop, without a swatch or color number. So the artist picks the nastiest neon blue she can.

Other legend is the luan one. Story has it that luan is so crappy because they just chop the trees down in Malaysia, load them onto the factory ship and the ship makes the sheet goods on its way across the ocean.

Anyone heard these?
 
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Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
As I gain experience in this industry I've begun to hear similar things repeated over and over. Myths or truths that spread around. Wanted to know if you guys had heard these or some other ones I don't mention:

I've heard a bunch of versions of the coffee stain story. As the legend goes, a scenic charge and designer had a bad working relationship and the designer was taking a long time getting a rendering of a drop to the paint department. When it finally showed up, there was a ring of coffee stain on it, and the disgruntled artist painted the stain into the drop. Other versions have the designer specifying a blue sky drop, without a swatch or color number. So the artist picks the nastiest neon blue she can.

Other legend is the luan one. Story has it that luan is so crappy because they just chop the trees down in Malaysia, load them onto the factory ship and the ship makes the sheet goods on its way across the ocean.

Anyone heard these?
I've heard the story of the coffee stain. Don't believe it; I think it's a wishful thinking legend. I do know there are factory ships for processing lumber Never hear of them making Luan only press board. and 'Crappy'? Luan is what is is.

I much prefer the legend of the Opera set which was installed on stage when the Director asked if the TD could move it 6 inches to which the TD inquired, "Sure, you want it $10,000 to the left or $10,000 to the right?"
 

TheaterEd

Renaissance Man
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 21, 2013
Location
Near Milwaukee
I much prefer the legend of the Opera set which was installed on stage when the Director asked if the TD could move it 6 inches to which the TD inquired, "Sure, you want it $10,000 to the left or $10,000 to the right?"
I once installed my own set about 12" off center. Sent the students out into the house and had them vote on which side of center it was. They could not decide, and thus center stage was moved 12" to the stage right side for a month...
 

microstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Location
Lawton, OK
As I gain experience in this industry I've begun to hear similar things repeated over and over. Myths or truths that spread around. Wanted to know if you guys had heard these or some other ones I don't mention:

I've heard a bunch of versions of the coffee stain story. As the legend goes, a scenic charge and designer had a bad working relationship and the designer was taking a long time getting a rendering of a drop to the paint department. When it finally showed up, there was a ring of coffee stain on it, and the disgruntled artist painted the stain into the drop. Other versions have the designer specifying a blue sky drop, without a swatch or color number. So the artist picks the nastiest neon blue she can.

Other legend is the luan one. Story has it that luan is so crappy because they just chop the trees down in Malaysia, load them onto the factory ship and the ship makes the sheet goods on its way across the ocean.

Anyone heard these?
I have a true "coffee stain" story. In graduate school (way way back) the scene shop foreman had it in for one of the student scenic designers. At a production meeting the designer proudly presented a model of his design for "To Kill a Mockingbird". He had cut down a Folger's Coffee can to use as a base for the abstract sculpture of the tree in the play. The wise faculty advisor first asked how big was the sculpture. Everyone looked to the student designer, who was shocked at the question because he had failed to include a human figure as a reference.
The advisor picked up a C-cell battery laying on the table and placed it next to the sculpture and asked "If the battery is a person, is the scale correct?" The scale was established and the meeting eventually ended. This only served as fuel for the shop foreman, because the designer did not submit any drawings for the sculpture because he intended the shop to build this using the model for measurements.

As the build got under way, you can by now pretty much guess what happened. The shop foreman announced that we were to build the unit EXACTLY according to the model, including the base of course, which scaled out to about 3 feet tall and was painted to EXACTLY match the Folger's Coffee can. The finished unit was trucked to the theatre with the rest of the set and installed on stage. As we were finishing up, the designer and the director walked in to survey the progress. The look on the designer's face was priceless. The director looked a little quizzical and then said "Do you think you could take about a foot off the height of the base?". Eventually that was done, the base repainted black, and the show opened.

Mockingbird.jpeg
 

tjrobb

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2009
Location
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Not quite a legend, but I once was told I needed to work on the painting since the set "wasn't ugly enough". [Kitchen for The Odd Couple]
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Location
PPT.
My favorite myth: micro-fractures in shackles and carabiners.
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Location
Michigan
As Rick Boychuk so convincingly argues in his book, modern stage rigging DID NOT descend from sailing ships.
 

RonaldBeal

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Location
TN
Myth: Gobo means "Goes before objective" or "Go Blackout".

Reality:
The term was originally a shortened version of "Go Between" for Thomas Alva Edisons phonograph recording process as a way to moderate sound levels when recording to wax cylinders. Eventually some of those same people that helped the Edison company with recordings also worked in the Edison film studio and put patterns between their fancy new electric lights and scenery while shooting film scenes, and "gobo" was appropriated for lighting since the pattern "goes between" the light and the scenery. (Some of the first film fixtures were open face Edison lamps, and there was no "objective" for gobos to "go before")
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Myth: Gobo means "Goes before objective" or "Go Blackout".

Reality:
The term was originally a shortened version of "Go Between" for Thomas Alva Edisons phonograph recording process as a way to moderate sound levels when recording to wax cylinders. Eventually some of those same people that helped the Edison company with recordings also worked in the Edison film studio and put patterns between their fancy new electric lights and scenery while shooting film scenes, and "gobo" was appropriated for lighting since the pattern "goes between" the light and the scenery. (Some of the first film fixtures were open face Edison lamps, and there was no "objective" for gobos to "go before")
@RonaldBeal If you keep this up, you're going to have to add 'Historian' to the list of credits on your tagline.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 11, 2012
Location
north central OK
Myth: Gobo means "Goes before objective" or "Go Blackout".

Reality:
The term was originally a shortened version of "Go Between" for Thomas Alva Edisons phonograph recording process as a way to moderate sound levels when recording to wax cylinders. Eventually some of those same people that helped the Edison company with recordings also worked in the Edison film studio and put patterns between their fancy new electric lights and scenery while shooting film scenes, and "gobo" was appropriated for lighting since the pattern "goes between" the light and the scenery. (Some of the first film fixtures were open face Edison lamps, and there was no "objective" for gobos to "go before")
Also, as a historical reminder, before there were companies making custom gobos the lighting companies were selling discs of decorative perforated steel.
Perforated%20Group%20New.jpg
 
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RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I have employed both Grecian and Full Clover to excellent effect many times.
@jayvee and @JohnD Likewise; often as break-ups in conjunction with diagonally-split gels operated slightly out of focus for a sunlight / moonlight through the trees look. (Oh the old days before luminaires with cooler gate temperatures.)
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

bobgaggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
Philadelphia, PA
I believe Grecian is still commonly used for radiator covers. Rather, when I was in college they replaced all the radiator covers in our old 1900s theater, and all the lighting guys grabbed the old ones, ripped out the perforated metal and used it for break-ups...
 

bobgaggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
Philadelphia, PA
A soon-to-become legend: "Washing the gels". I am old enough to have played that prank.
Not a prank, but a woman from the audience once started pulling gels from the foot lights. When the SM went out to stop her, she insisted you can't put saran wrap in front of the lights because it'll catch fire...