A few years ago, I was the Sound Supervisor on a show called Strange Days that aired on A&E. The concept of the show was Bob Saget traveling around investigating various subcultures with the help of a trusty, rag-tag crew. Some days we went to Vegas. Some days we hunted Sasquatch. It’s on Amazon if you want to see it, I’m incredibly uncomfortable on camera and frequently abused by a comedian.
The Sasquatch day started about as normal as could be expected when you’re at a camp with Bigfoot people (some of whom went on to have a show called Finding Bigfoot). Bob was making friends and cracking wise at my expense, threatening to “baste me with Hormel chili and leave me tied to a tree as bait.” Fun as it sounded to be turned into a human chili dog by a comedian, we decided to go another way. Bob ended up buying a very nice brunch spread of smoked salmon and fresh pastries to lay out as an offering, so Bigfoot and her friends would have something to nosh on while they played bridge, I guess. If there were any Sasquatch in the area, they must not be as big on a kosher spread as we’d hoped.
That night, we decided to try again. The Bigfoot crew brought out the big gun: A huge SUV with helicopter FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) cameras in turrets on the roof. The plan was to stick Bob, myself, a producer, and Tim Baker (our camera guy) in it, and crawl dirt forest service roads at night looking for the elusive Sasquatch. So as not to spook the big fella, we would slowly drive with our lights off.
We loaded into the vehicle and Matt “Moneymaker” gave Bob a quick lesson in operating the camera turret. Then we drove off to a remote spot, turned onto a dirt road and killed the lights. Another group of Squatchers was in the area, and we were in radio contact with them. As we crept along through the pitch black forest, the radio occasionally crackled.
I sat next to Bob trying to stay out of the shot. Tim was trying to film with a full-sized broadcast camera, shooting backwards from the front passenger seat, without giving himself permanent spinal damage. It was all going fine when the radio crackled “I think we might have something.” Then there was silence.
“Come in,” Moneymaker says into his walkie talkie. Nothing. He repeated this a couple times with no answer. You could almost hear the adrenaline dump into his bloodstream. Without so much as a “hold on,” he slammed on the gas. This guy was driving at high speed, with the lights off, on a dirt forest service “road” holding a night-vision monocle in one hand and a walkie talkie in the other. Steering with a pinky finger/knee/elbow combination, he tore around curves and over terrain that shook the SUV (and our nerves). Holy shit it was amazing. You couldn’t see anything but we were all too aware that on either side of the road old growth pine trees were whipping by in the blackness. The only thing that could have improved it, would have been if Matt was texting at the same time. I remember thinking, damn, this guy really wants to see a Bigfoot, as I held on for dear life.
Tim was bouncing around in the front seat listening to the discs in his spine rupture while he tried to keep the camera steady. Bob was yelling at the producer, to get control over the maniac Moneymaker, and threatening to quit the show. I couldn’t remember if I had my insurance card in my wallet…was it next to the picture of the wife and child I would leave behind? I unhooked my harness from my sound kit and kept one hand on the door handle, remember to tuck and roll I told myself in case I had to eject.
Moneymaker hauled ass down the dirt road in the dark, frantically trying to get his team on the walkie, as we frantically tried to convince him to slow the fuck down. It was amazing. It was truly some of the greatest driving at night on a mountain dirt road with the lights off I’ve ever witnessed. Oh and did I mention we were looking for Bigfoot, for Christ’s sake? That’s why the lights were still off – so we wouldn’t scare BIGFOOT.
After careening around on gravel for some very tense minutes, we finally got back into radio contact with the other Bigfoot team and everybody calmed down. Bobo explained that he didn’t answer because if there was a “Squatch” he didn’t want to spook it. Bob didn’t quit the show, Moneymaker agreed to drive slower, Tim rubbed his neck and cursed Moneymaker under his breath. I sneaked an airline bottle of Grand Marnier and we were back in business.