On the set of Stand By Me
You know that montage when we’re walking back home, near the end of the movie, and we go by in silhouette during sunset? It’s what they used as inspiration for the poster.
This picture was taken when we filmed that little bit. That thing we’re sitting on is called a Chapman Crane, and it’s a really neat piece of film equipment that allows for those big, beautiful, dramatic, sweeping panoramic shots you see in movies.
It’s a little dangerous, though, because there are weights and things on the end of that arm to perfectly counterbalance the weight of the camera and whoever is sitting next to it. More than once in film history, someone has stepped off the crane before it’s been rebalanced, and, finding itself a hundred or more pounds heavier at one end than the other, has turned it into a very dangerous catapult.
The way I remember it, we kept asking Rob Reiner if we could sit on it when the shot was over, and he eventually said yes, because he was like that.
We were so excited to sit on this thing, and so excited to ride it up as high as it would go — it seemed like a hundred feet, but I’m sure it was more like thirty — but we had to wear seatbelts, promise to sit still and not step off the thing until it was balanced.
I’m glad someone took this picture, because it reminded me of this moment that I haven’t thought of in over a quarter century.