Watching tonight’s episode of The Apprentice I was pleasantly surprised to see that the award for the winning team was a light cruise on Steve Forbes’ yacht ‘The Highlander’. What’s funny is that I’ve been aboard that yacht.
Back in the summer of 1996 we had started back up on the second season of the Aaron Spelling series named “Savannah”. Now, despite what you might think, the series was actually shot around Atlanta and on sound stages out in Dekalb County. To add some production value to the first six episodes the producers decided to send us down to actually shoot for a week IN Savannah.
It was a grueling schedule. Those six episodes were evenly divided between two of our regular episodic directors who had developed a bitter rivalry, and seemed unaware that they were punishing us (the crew) in order to capture the most Savannah-like images possible.
At one point we were on Triple Cherry Revisions. Nobody read their pages anymore and nobody seemed to care. The writers, the Stanleys, kept issuing insane little changes and by the end of our week down there the Electricians were wearing Catholic schoolgirl skirts and the crew had grown accustomed to long nights down at the bars.
Somewhere along the way our intrepid 2nd AD, Jim Weiss, had made the time to have commemorative T-shirts made for the crew. Jim’s cool like that. I think that we’d wrapped shooting in Savannah and I had gone by the temporary production office to give Jasper Bubby our timecards when I ran into Jim and his 2nd 2nd, Karen Davis. They’d made nice with a bunch of guys in the bar the night before and were headed down to the river to trade some of the crew shirts for a tour of a boat. I was invited so I tagged along.
That “boat” was the Forbes yacht that we’d shot in front of with Jamie Luner just a few days before. It was HUGE and green. We went up the gangplank aboard a truly world-class vessel. There was a helicopter pad on the back, one of those long pointy speedboats, a motorcycle, an ATV and probably several other James Bond-like vehicles all staged on the fantail. There was a long low couch at waterlevel in the stern of the ship in front of which were boxy cocktail tables made of lucite, in which there were incredibly detailed models of ships being built in various periods of mankind’s history. It was like a museum piece for you to put your single-malt scotch on top of.
The guy giving us the tour took us belowdecks to the galley and then to the engine room where there were two enormous Rolls Royce engines turned on end. It seems like we could stand beneath them and look up to the ship’s stack but that’s been awhile back now and I wouldn’t swear to it.
Then he took us forward into a den area and fished around for a hidden wall stud which triggered a huge television which raised straight out of the back of a couch. It was absoLUTEly James Bond class kit on that yacht. He looked at us sheepishly and said “I’ve been on board the Highlander for six months and I’m STILL finding hidden things here.”
So if you watched The Apprentice and wondered if the helicopter that Forbes left in was just for effect, it isn’t… it belongs to the ship’s equipment. The funny thing is, the ship belongs to Forbes the magazine and not Forbes the man. That’s something they didn’t tell you! ;)