By Curt Oden - Exline correspondent
Welcome to spring! This past Tuesday, the arrival of spring was official. I hope everyone is enjoying this nice weather. It is something how all over the country, places have had record high temperatures, for this time of the year. The rain this week, was needed to help the moisture content of the soil, since we did not get much snow this winter.
It is nice to see the grass beginning to turn green, along with spring flowers, ornamental bushes and trees that have already begun to bloom. The colorful flowers are always a welcome site after the dreary, dull colors of winter time.
This early nice weather, is giving the farmers a jump on their spring activities. You are already beginning to see farm equipment on the roads and in the fields.
There is nothing better than a hearty meal to begin the day with freshly baked homemade biscuits. They are great topped with real butter, melting into the warm biscuits, to go along with your breakfast. The recipe for this week is one that would even be great to serve with a creamy sausage gravy.
Old Fashion Biscuits
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 Tb. shortening
¾ c. buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with a knife. Add the buttermilk and mix together.
Instead of rolling them out, once the dough is mixed together, pinch off a small portion of dough and roll into a ball. Place the rolls of dough onto a slightly greased and floured baking sheet. Bake in a hot 450 degree oven for 45 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown. Serve warm with real butter.
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be in the movies? Well, back in 1990, I got that chance. It was the cold, gray days of February, and they were shooting the final installment, in the long line of Rocky movies with Sylvester Stallone in Philadelphia called “Rocky V.”
A much sought after ticket was one that would give you a chance to be in on the filming of the famous fight scene for the movie as a member of the crowd in the grandstands.
To acquire one of those bright yellow pieces of paper, a person had to go over to the old Civic Center arena in Philadelphia and present two empty Pepsi-Cola cans of soda. The lines to get the tickets were very long since they needed 10,000 extras for the movie shoot.
I ventured over to the big city, stood in line, turned in my cans and received my ticket as hundreds more people, were still standing in the huge line.
So the next day, just after 8 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, I arrived at the Civic Center where the filming was to begin. I turned in my prized yellow voucher and gained admission to the arena, for the filming. They then gave you an official ticket to the event, with assigned seating in the stands. That same ticket contained an area where you could have it validated, so you could get food and drinks throughout the day of filming. That was your payment for participating in the movie, since none of the crowd extras received any money for their participation.
You could go down to the venders through the day and enjoy hot dogs, pizza, soda-pop and cupcakes that you could take back to your seat and eat as you watched the filming of the movie.
The main story of the movie, was that Sylvester Stallone’s character of Rocky Balboa was now retired from the fight game. For the movie, he was promoting a new fighter, by the name of Tommy Gunn. Tommy’s real name was Tommy Morrison, a real boxer who was a real life relative, of the famous movie star, actor John Wayne. His opponent in the movie was a character called Union Cane portrayed by Mike Williams, who was also a real boxer.
Reminiscent of Sylvester Stallone’s famous run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in his first Rocky movie, Sylvester Stallone and Tommy Morrison both ran up those same steps again for that new movie, which was filmed at dawn the Saturday before the fight scene filming was to begin. The production company was in Philadelphia for six weeks filming scenes for the movie.
Once everyone was seated in the arena, Sylvester Stallone was introduced and he came out and got into the boxing ring and spoke to the crowd. They also introduced other members of the cast to the crowd, including Burt Young who portrayed Rocky’s brother in law, Pauli.
Then someone got into the ring and kind of explained how the shooting of the movie would go. When the fight promoter of the opposing character in the movie was introduced the crowd was instructed to boo, which is not hard for a crowd of Philadelphia fans to do.
When the boxer Tommy Gunn was introduced, everyone was supposed to cheer. Then, all kinds of different signs were passed out to people who were sitting ringside for them to held up during the filming. Those people were instructed when they should hold up their signs during the filming of the fight scene.
There was a lot of waiting around watching everything get set up. Four big machines were set up at each corner of the boxing ring out of camera range. They blew what looked like smoke into the air, so when you saw the film in the movies, it looked like a smoke filled arena at the boxing match.
Watching the fight scene being filmed was like watching a choreographed dance routine. I do not know how many times and how many different angles it was filmed from but it was done over and over. Just watching it, you could see that one fighter would take a couple of steps and swing, then the other fighter would step back. Then they would do it again and then at a different camera angle.
By afternoon a lot of the filming of the fight had already been done, so some of the thousands of people in the crowd began to leave. All of the people who were left were told to assemble in one whole section of the arena and the final scenes of the fight in the movie would be filmed.
As the fight progressed during the filming make up was put on the fighters so they looked like they were bruised and bleeding and they filmed it all again.
Near the end of the fight at a certain time a whole bunch of people ringside, who were dressed in trench coats and fedora hats, all jumped up and swarmed the ring taking photos, acting like reporters getting pictures at the end of the fight.
Everyone in the crowd, was instructed to jump up at that time and cheer at the end of the fight, as the reporters rushed the ring as the final end of the fight occurred on film.
When you see the movie, you are told that the fight was being held in what was Philadelphia’s main events center for sports, called the Spectrum.
When in real life it was just filmed at the old Civic Center, which was a lot smaller than the Spectrum, at the time. Also in the movie, you see an entire arena full of people in every section of the grandstands watching the fight, when in fact there was only that one section we sat in at the end, and it was recreated by Hollywood magic to look like all of the seats in the entire grandstands were full.
The filming of that fight scene was supposed to take two days to film, but the crowd followed direction so well the entire fight scene for the movie was filmed in one day. So the next day of filming for the fight scene was cancelled and no more extras were needed for that part of the movie.
The filming of that portion of the movie was big news in the Philadelphia media at the time. Local television news channels, filmed news reports through the day at the arena talking about the movie, since one local newsman was also cast in a small speaking part in the movie.
Since I had the VCR taping at home, I later saw myself in the background in the crowd on one of the news stories. After careful scrutiny of the crowd scenes once the movie came out on video I could not find myself in the actual movie on camera, even though I was in the big crowd the day of the filming.
It was interesting to see how it all appeared in the actual movie when you knew what it really looked like when they were actually filming the whole thing. It was a very unique experience.
I know a lot of people are always interested in, when our town will be having their next dinner. Sometimes people even stop and ask me when I am at different places, about that. So, do not forget that this weekend, on Sunday, March 25, the town of Exline will be having their Spring dinner and Easter Egg Sale. It will be held from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Exline Community Center. The dinner is sponsored and prepared by members of the Exline Recreation Committee. A free will offering will be accepted as payment for the meal.
The menu will consist of chicken, ham and meat loaf, along with vegetables, mashed potatoes as well as homemade noodles. Also being provided will be dinner rolls and drinks like coffee and tea along with homemade desserts.
The Easter Egg sales are again going to be held at this dinner, which the Exline Royal Neighbors Camp 3000 will be doing as a fundraiser. Area businesses have donated some of the prizes for these eggs. They will sell for $1 each or six for $5. Prizes in the eggs will range in value, anywhere from $1 to $50.
There is also going to be a meal that will be served over in the town of Cincinnati at the Cincinnati Methodist Church. They will be having their annual supper and auction. It will be held on Saturday, March 31 from 5-6 p.m. at the church. They will be serving two kinds of soup, along with vegetables and homemade pie for dessert. For payment, a free will be offering will be accepted.
Following the dinner, there will be an auction beginning at 6 p.m. Some of the items they will have for sale include crocheted dollies, embroidery work and many other craft items. They will also have a Queen size quilt, as well as a smaller quilt for sale, along with a crocheted afghan. Delicious homemade candy, cookies and a lot more items will also be available.
They invite everyone to attend. The money raised will go towards their church building fund.
Next weekend, the Exline Royal Neighbors, Chapter 3000 will be having their Last Chance Sale. That is when they sell the remaining Easter Eggs with the prizes in them that they do not sell at the dinner on March 25 at the community center.
So it will be the last chance you will have to be able to buy the Easter Eggs on Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1 at the Exline Old Country Store. They will sell the Easter eggs for both days, beginning when the store opens at 7 a.m.
On the first Sunday in April, which happens to be April 1, the Exline Church of Christ will resume having their Sunday evening service again. It was suspended for the winter months but will now resume, beginning at 5 p.m. each Sunday. The regular church service there begins at 10 a.m. with Sunday School, followed by the regular church service beginning at 10:45 a.m.