Kermit Crosses the Delaware

A living, floating, re-creation of this famous painting above, except with a small green frog playing the part of George Washington, was filmed for one of the television commercials introducing of the new US Quarters from the US Treasury.

 

If people ask me what I do in Hollywood, coming up with a short answer is always difficult because the job varies day to day. I am primarily a "Scenic Artist", responsible for the final creative finish painting of movies, commercials, music videos, still shoots, theater productions, TV game shows, etc., but I often get to do much more. In this case, not only did I paint everything you see here, but also created the floating icebergs, and even helped construct the 4' deep river for the actors and the famous Frog to sail upon.

Brave menGeorge Washington replaced by a small frog.

Alan R. Jones, a marvelously talented Art Director (who was once the "Hagger Slacks" man) was our lead, and four of us - Me, Dante Thomas, Will Scroggins, and Lionel Escobar built the entire set in three days The scene so faithfully reproduced the historical moment of George Washington crossing the Delaware, that even the extras noticed. (...heh...Inside joke.)


The stage

We constructed a 60x60 ft. pool on Stage 15 at Raleigh Studios, deep enough to float a very heavy, ancient Russian fishing boat full of the 10 man...and one frog... crew, then filled it with water with 27 vacuformed icebergs, that floated and bobbed with uncanny realism. Along with the 'distant' ice flows that were created with plastic that was draped, bunched and painted on ground rows, a spectacular sky, exactingly painted to the original artwork that hangs in Washington DC, gave a luminous blue hue to the entire scene.

Toss in some smoke and fans, a few lights, Kermit, and some heavily armed Treasury Officers to liven things up, and you're bound to have a good shoot.

 

Kermit and meAt one point during filming, Kermit's leg kept flying up when he would brush back his cloak and point. The director wanted us to stop that from happening.

I went over to the side of the pool, grabbed a stapling gun, and headed back. With all production stopped, the stage fell very quiet, and all eyes were upon me as I slogged back to the boat. Holding Kermit's foot in place, I stapled it down with a quick motion.

Kermit suddenly jerked upward and started screaming loudly!

"OWWW! YOU'VE STAPLED MY FOOT!! YOU IDIOT!! THAT'S MY FOOT!!!"

I jumped backward in panic at what I'd done - the crowd on stage gasped in horror!

....hey..wait a minute...It's just a puppet! What the..?

The entire stage erupted in laughter when we all realized we'd been "had" by the practical-joking operator of Kermit. HA!

Several minutes of laughing ensued before we all could get it back together and continue the shoot. Damn funny! Taken in - hook, line, and sinker - by a frog puppet! Hahahaaa!

The above picture was taken during those minutes of trying to recover from the shock.

 

 

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last updated December 9, 2019