We Fly Real Fast

Richard and Carol LangDo any of you remember the mixture of giddy excitement and utter bafflement that swirled around the production of the “pre-pilot” for the Aaron Spelling series “Savannah” back in 1995? The production seemed to swing from silver spoon to shoestring with wild abandon. We were in high cotton during the swank wedding exteriors that we shot at the house of that Atlanta Barbecue sauce magnate (with the really hot redheaded trophy wife). And it wasn’t too bad when we shot at the clubhouse at Eagle’s Landing. But the day that we rolled into the as-yet-unfinished Delta terminal at Hartsfield International Airport? That was pure guerrilla filmmaking. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were really lucky to have Richard Lang directing.

Richard was raised by Old Hollywood and knew everything there was to know about the business. He’d seen and done it all in his day and by the time we received him he’d kicked the party life and contented himself shooting episodic. Joe Connolly and I, his prop guys, were just a few of the Atlantans on the crew who would quickly become fans of the man.

Hardly into my fourth year of working in the business, I can look back and realize how utterly green I surely was and how patient and allowing Richard was with me during the times that he dropped into Atlanta to shoot an episode. Never more patient was Richard the day we arrived at the airport. My recollection is that we were running behind schedule that day, and getting a convoy of production vehicles onto the airport was never fast, even in the terror-free 20th century.

The scene featured the four girls (in the pre-pilot there were four girls) at an air terminal, waiting for their plane to New York. As it turns out all of our trucks were in Richard’s shot and even though they were going to be out of focus he wanted them to look like airline service trucks so he asked us to put some graphics on the outside of the truck. I can’t remember if we had pre-cut vinyl letters that were big enough to see from camera or if we had to make the letters out of paper tape, I just remember that I thought it would be funny to have the tagline be: “We Fly Real Fast”.

I don’t think we pitched it to Richard, and I’m not sure if Joe was there as we were putting it up, I just remember being back in the terminal when Richard saw it for the first time and for just a split second looked as if he’d swallowed a frog.

Somewhere in all my stuff I have a copy of that pre-pilot… hmmmm…..

2 thoughts on “We Fly Real Fast”

  1. There was a collection of airline reservation agents’ stories circulating via email a few years ago. One of those involved a lady who was taking a short trip which carried her into the next time zone to the west. The passenger asked the reservationist for the flight schedule, and the trip was short enough that the arrival time in the destination time zone was earlier than her departure time. When she questioned the reservation agent about how this could be, the agent patiently explained, in every way she could think of, that the destination city was in a different time zone and was therefore was one hour behind the originating city. Somehow, the concept was more than the lady could grasp. Finally, the reservation agent, ever wanting to brag on her airline, explained, “Well, our planes fly real fast”, and this explanation satisfied the passenger.

  2. Thank you for posting this. It’s lovely to see such fond memories of my late father. I never really got to know him and it touches me to see him remembered by people who knew and worked with him.

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