This job affords me oppurtunities to do I know few others have experienced. For example, how many of you have ever ruined another human beings funeral?
It was over the summer, I was doing a series of Hearse jobs for a major family themepark out in a cemetery on the east side of LA. Pause there for a moment, what an incredible time we live in when an amusement park sets it’s commericals in a cemetery, a funeral home, and a crematorium. There slogan was something to the effect of “Live life like your gonna die, cause your gonna, (so go to our themepark)” and “Your working yourself to death! (go to our themepark)” I loved it.
So there we all were, out in the cemetery, our fake undertaker walking through rows of actual headstones with actual dead people underneath talking about death and ferriswheels. It’s always weird shooting in cemeteries because the studios can’t close them down. When somebody needs to be buried, they need to be buried and no Steven Spielberg or Michael Eisner can stop it.
So not 200ft from us was an actual honest to god funeral, like the kind we were joking about. Crying children, widow in black, the whole bit. It was awkward, but what can you do, both parties wouldn’t leave till the job was done.
Eventually the casket sunk into the ground and the funeral dispersed. A while later we wrapped up cemetery shooting and headed for the crematorium. Since the next scene was indoors, they didn’t need a hearse anymore. I was free to go.
Alone, in a cemetery driving a hearse. I could do anything. I could go anywhere, park anywhere, and no one would ask me what I was doing or if I belonged there. So with a little exploration, I found a turn of the century morgue in the basement of their chapel. Hardwood cooler doors, a grisly hack saw and bone grinder, and eerie chill. I was incredible. But, I had it on good word that the best sights were in the giant stone mausoleum.
So, cruising in my hearse through the narrow cemetery lanes I saw rising over the hill a giant mausoleum. Jackpot. But as I pulled closer I saw that in front of the mausoleum was a parking lot, and the funeral party from earlier was exiting the building and heading for their cars. I checked my mirrors, no way to turn around on those tiny streets, not without driving through someones tombstone anyway. I decided to go for it. I pulled quickly through the lot and reached the gate to the street. As I started to pull out I heard a honk. The first honk didn’t catch my notice, but the next 80 or so did. I checked my mirror again.
The funeral party had formed a neat little parade behind me, and were now tapping their horns to stay together. I was the lead car.
I hijacked their motorcade.
I don’t know if I did the right thing after that (or before that for that matter). The DMV handbook doesn’t cover “What to do if you accidently hijack a funeral or police motorcade,” I’ve checked. So what would you do, pull over to the side of the road and wave them passed? Sure, that sounds good now, but I didn’t think of it then.
I tried to lose them. I hit the gas, slowed down for green lights, then rushed through on yellow, made wild turns without signaling, and did everything the Steve McQueen movies have taught me to do if I’m in a care chase and need to shake someone. I don’t know what they thought their hearse driver was doing, but they followed me halfway to downtown before someone figured out I was a crazy person and became the new leader of the motorcade.
Then, and only then, I pulled over.
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