Here’s a quick David Carradine story

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So it’s 1997, and luckily Paul Preston wasn’t able to go down to Fort Wayne to operate the boom mic for a little indie film that a couple of his friends were working on. I ended up working as a Boom Operator, Video Playback, Grip, Craft Service, and a little of everything on American Reel. I was even David’s Assistant for a day. It took a long time for this movie to make it to DVD, but when it did I went to the Special Features and they were ridiculously slim, one option – Photo Gallery…which contained six pictures, but of the six, I’m in one. I love that.

So where was I? Oh yes, so we’ve been shooting for a week, it’s Saturday night and the crew decides to go to a local divey dive around the corner from the the Holiday Inn. Don’t look for it, it’s not there anymore. It’s probably a dozen grips, PA’s and lower level crew members, but we extend an invite to David Carradine anyway. A couple pitchers in the last thing I expected to see was David Carradine coming in to drink with us dopes, but in he walked.

By the time the local redneck challenged David Carradine to a Kung Fu match it had already been one of the greatest nights of my life. David spun story after story, dozens of tales of inside Hollywood, from working with Roger Corman on Deathrace 2000 to one night when a friend of his, Harrison Ford, knocked on his door at 3am, drunk and depressed about how his career was absolutely over because he’d just finished shooting Star Wars and thought it was awful. Just great Hollywood stuff.

But about 1am one of the locals, who’d been eyeing us for two hours, had drank enough to get up the courage to come over and express to David Carradine what a shit he was.
“Hey! Hey, you’re Kung Fu. You think you’re so tough, don’t you Kung Fu?” He said in that working-class-hero tone that, as an Ohioan, I’m all too familiar with.
“I’m a man of peace.” said David Carradine. Yes, he actually said “I’m a man of peace.” How Quai Chang Kane is that??!
“You think you’re all great with your Hollywood money. I got money too.” The angry redneck said while throwing money all over the table inhabited by very poor grips and electricians who stared too long at the bills all over the table.
“I’m a man of peace.” David repeated over and over as the man tried to get the star of Lone Wolf McQuade to fight him. The drunk man even got into the sort of  Kung Fu pose you would imagine a drunk machinist in Fort Wayne might be able to strike.

Finally the guy got a little too serious and got very close to David, and while I’ve never gotten my ass kicked by five Grips, I’m certain it starts with them all standing simultaneously.

We quickly ended the night and laughed about it on the way back to the Hotel where we bid Mr. Carradine a good night. I had a few other really good nights with David, including one where he and I drank just the two of us at the bar and another where I helped him take some guitars up to his room and he laid them all out on the bed schooling me in the history of Guitar manufacturing and the numerous albums he’d recorded that never got released, but none of them tops the Man of Peace story.

Interesting addendum to the story; After watching tripled alcohol sales from the crew that had two weeks left to shoot dissappear, the Owner of the bar got word to one of our crew members that it was okay to come back and drink because they’d beaten the shit out of the guy that tried to fight David. He didn’t say it in so many words, but he assured us the problem had been taken care of.

So that’s David Carradine; now, more than ever, a man of Peace.

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