"Hmmmm," I replied. "What are my lines?"
"None," he answered. "We're only looking for about two or three seconds from this scene, if we use any of it at all."
"I thought I was supposed to be in a softball game," I said.
"We got somebody else for that scene," he said walking away. My eyes followed him. Where was the casting director? I had played pro ball, hung a thousand curves, covered a million bases. How could they cast me as a gas station attendant? I never took a shop class. Was this how Bob Uecker started?
I was taken to the wardrobe truck and handed a dirty mechanic's uniform. The makeup woman rubbed grease (actually charcoal) all over my arms and face. A gofer brought a huge metal tray filled with fries and 25 Double Whoppers. He set a bag of fries and one of the burgers on top of a gas pump.
"I want you to stand next to the pump," said the director. "You're taking a break, eating your burger. Don't look at the camera. Understand? Just take a bite of your burger and act like you love it. Hold the bite in your mouth a couple seconds, then spit it out. You don't have to swallow." There was a trash can behind the pump.
"Quiet on the set," he ordered. For the next 45 minutes, with a crew of 30 standing by and the camera dollying in from every angle, I bit into 25 Double Whoppers, smiled, counted to three and then bull's-eyed the garbage can. After each take, a new Whopper was placed on top of the pump. After a while they started to look like piles of infield dirt. The fries tasted like it. "That's a wrap," said the director, just when I thought my sore tooth was going to explode.
The crew started to gather up the gear. "Hold everything," yelled the assistant director. He had spotted a large Coca-Cola sign on the side of a building across the street, directly in line with the camera. Burger King has a contract with Pepsi. "We have to do it all over again," he ordered.
"This isn't in my contract." I said. Nobody laughed. Another tray of 25 Double Whoppers and stale fries was delivered, along with an empty garbage can. We did it all over again—the biting, smiling, spitting. It had been an expensive mistake. The extra burgers alone had cost $48.75.
"Thanks a lot for the help, pal," said the director after it was over.