Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Cincinnati Kid Steve McQueen 1965 New Orleans

Click on the above original movie poster to enlarge it.

In January of 1965 I worked as an extra on the film The Cincinnati Kid in New Orleans. My friend Jack Newell also worked as an extra. We got about a weeks work out of the job. MGM fed the crew and the extras 3 meals a day. Jack and I reported to a place on Royal Street to get our costume clothes from the 1930s era. Our first assignment was to drive the old cars 1930s vintage on and off the Algiers ferry. Then we did a scene that called for us to arrive early on a Sunday morning for the shooting of the jazz funeral parade which is used in the opening credits of the film. We are not at the graveyard but we are at the big parade that comes after the funeral. This took all morning and each time it got better as more and more booze was consumed. MGM paid all those extras with vouchers. They also provided a nice breakfast before we started that morning. We were both about 24 years old at the time.
We did another scene right outside Jackson Square. Since I was lined up next to Ann Margret I got to talk briefly with her and I asked her about Elvis Presley since she had just finished making Viva Las Vegas with him. I asked her what Elvis was like and she said he was a really nice person.
One morning we went in the Royal Orleans Hotel to get coffee for breakfast and Karl Malden came in and asked for something. He was tying his tie. I nodded at him and he nodded back. Since Tuesday Weld and Steve McQueen(who never showed his face except when filming)and other stars worked on this film it was somewhat of a surprise to me that the actor that created the biggest stir was Edgar G. Robinson. When he showed up to do the scene with the organ grinder and the monkey all the local Jackson Square people really wanted to see Edgar G. Robinson. He seemed to be the biggest star of all.
McQueen shot the scene at Preservation Hall where he looks in and sees Sweet Emma the Bell Gal singing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
We had nothing to do but sit around in the back patio and watch him go in and out of his dressing room further back in the patio.
Tuesday Weld was very pretty. I remember her sitting in a chair outside Jackson Square and one of the MGM makeup women kept brushing her blond hair.