Turner and Hooch

This was my second time working with Tom Hanks.

Although Roger Spotiswoode directed, I was hired by the film’s first director, Henry Winkler (with whom I worked on Mr. Sunshine in 1985).

We shot my scenes in Pacific Grove, on the Monterey Peninsula. Very nice. I love the area, so I got a nice week-long vacation out of the deal.

The actual shooting involved me wedged in between Tom Hanks and Reggie Vel Johnson in a Toyota Tercel, with a big slobbery dog in the back seat, while we chased the bad guys.

One of the things that makes Tom so likable is his amazing ability to remember everyone he’s ever met.  He not only remembered that we had worked on Splash, (six years earlier) but also that we had first met on the set of “Best of The West,” which shot on the next stage over from “Bosom Buddies.”

In between takes on Turner and Hooch, Tom and I kept Reggie in hysterics (easy to do. Reggie’s a great laugher.) by recreating scenes from Green Acres (Tom playing Alvie Moore and me playing Pat Buttram) and Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.

There were four dogs that played Hooch, as I recall. Beasley was the main one. The face. I can’t recall the names of the others, but they each had their specialties. One was the jumper. LOVED jumping off of things from great heights. Beasley lived for his stuffed bunny. Want to get Beasley’s attention? just show him the bunny, and say “Beasley! Rabbit! Rabbit!”  When he had to chase the bad guy? The actor showed Beasley the rabbit, stuffed it in his jacket and took off. Beasley would tear after him.

So part of my job, besides the actual acting, was to keep Beasley facing forward (he’s supposed to be intensely focused on the bad guy in the car in front of us).

I would do this by occasionally showing him a meaty treat, of which I had a bagful in my lap. So, while we’re doing the scene, ostensibly trying to read the license plate of the car in front of us, I’m watching Beasley out of the corner of my eye, and if his attention wandered, I’d stick a meaty treat in his face and get his attention again, draw it forward, and continue with the scene.

And as if that wasn’t enough, in my right hand was a fun sized snickers bar to show Hanks, if his attention wandered.

Aaand, back to one.