Helen Of Troy was filmed in Italy. However a number of retakes were made at Warner Brothers in Hollywood. The scene in which I appear was one of those. It was then merged with the existing footage so if you think I was in Italy I can only wish I had been.
This scene was supposed to show some Trojan soldiers waking up after a night of drunken revelry to discover the Greeks had invaded via the Trojan horse. This entire set had been rebuilt on the Warner Bros stage to match the original in Italy.
This was a very interesting day for us extras as it became a nice payday. As I explained in my SEG blog we were given two whammys for body makeup. Then the director gave each of us a number and during the scene he called us by number to simulate waking up. Finally in the last scene we had to run to the camera which was on a platform about a yard of the ground; we had to jump up then when we were behind the camera we had to jump off the platform into some mattresses to cushion our jumps. After some negotiation with the AD we compromised on getting a ‘hazardous pay’ adjustment in addition to our 2 whammys.
Hazardous pay was one of those union adjustments designed to fill the gap between ordinary extra work and stunts. If we had to perform an act that was not quite dangerous enough to cause the producers to hire a stunt person at a far higher rate, we were awarded the hazardous pay adjustment. Back in 1955 our extra rate was about $18, a whammy was about $7. Hazardous pay raised our base to $50 from $18. Then the whammys were added to our base. So we received a base of $64, a lot for 1956. In addition we also worked far into the night which garnered us an additional $32 in overtime.
Close-up slideshow of myself: