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Willie G. Moseley

Subtle/subliminal musical inference in 'The Right Stuff'

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Posted (edited)

It's actually a percussion reference, specifically.

Many HFCers know of my interest in space and experimental aircraft history (RE: My profile). I came of age during the Space Race (and wrote the family-authorized biography of an Apollo astronaut).

So it shouldn't be surprising that I'm a fan of The Right Stuff (book and movie).
 
...which means I am curious about a quick "visual blurb" in that film that I'd forgotten. It was the scene where iconic drummer Levon Helm, playing Jack Ridley (a great character role for L.H.), sawed off the end of a broomstick to make a handle to enable Chuck Yeager (played by Sam Shepard) to close the hatch of the X-1 aircraft.
 
When he's through sawing, Ridley/Helm takes the stick/handle and twirls it thru the fingers of his hand, like a drumstick. 
 
I'd forgotten about that quick bit of perhaps-subliminal schtick until I watched the movie again on TV in July (lotta space movies and documentaries were on then due to the Apollo 11 anniversary). One wonders if it was improvised by Helm. Planned or impromptu, it fit, and I chuckled out loud when I saw it. Have subsequently tried to ascertain how it came about, without success.
Edited by Willie G. Moseley
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I thought this was going to be a NKOTB thread.

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Loved the book; liked the movie.

"Hey Ridley, you got any Beeman's?"  What a subtle, yet brilliant insight into the seemingly nonsensical rituals of fighter jocks. 

 

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