Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Clear Current weather in Austin, Mueller Municipal Airport, United States
Austin Actors
Dan Murphy

The Total Man Package: My Statewide Political AD
by Dan Murphy

May 2002

No, I'm not running for The Wig Party Nomination. Cy Sperling has that party's backing. I played a State Trooper in a Statewide Political Ad for Governor Democratic Candidate Tony Sanchez about two weeks ago.

Rachel, the person who coordinated Actors/Production stuff, etc. instructed me to drop by Nancy Becker's house of Becker and Associates to pick up my State Trooper outfit at 1:00 p.m. on Friday the 19th of April. Becker and Associates are the people putting the ads together for Mr. Sanchez. When I got to Nancy's house, I got a surprise. There were production trucks, a catering truck, and lots of equipment and crew milling around with radios. I thought I was just going over her house to pick up my wardrobe and it turned out they were actually filming a lot of scenes there. The equipment was impressive. It looked like all the stuff you see on those behind the scene movie making shows.

When I got a hold of Rachel, she seemed a little surprised that I was there. She was timid about telling me that they might not need me until around 4 o'clock. I guess she thought I may wig out, but it wasn't a problem for me.

Rachel took me to a back room where I could drop my stuff off and sleep if I wanted while I waited. On our way down the hallway, Mr. Sanchez was walking towards us. I said hi and we continued to the room. I dropped my stuff off and started figuring my finances for the week to kill time. With my astute mastery of mathematics (not), I realized that I'm worth few dollars and he's worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Then, I heard something over the radio someone left in the room. One guy said, "Is lunch here yet?" and the other guy says, "Sanchez's is. I'll check on the others. Someone else chimes in and says, "Don't ask don't tell." I said to myself don't tell me this is his new campaign slogan.

I went back into the living room and met a couple of Mr. Sanchez's assistants. Suddenly, it turned into a scene like something from the War Room (this is what they called James Carville and other campaign people working to get former President Clinton elected). Someone said, "Phil Gramn has resigned. That means Gov. Perry will have to appoint someone." It was like the Stock Market crashed. The room was a buzz with people talking and making calls on their cellular headsets. People were speculating that it may have something do with Gramn's wife being involved with Enron. (Side note: I've met Phil Gramn before while doing a Guinea Pig Research study at Pharmaco. I know everybody. Haven't you figured that out by now?). They even turned the TV on to see if there was any news about the subject. The local Channel 8 24-hr news station ran a small piece on Mr. Sanchez and Gov. Rick Perry. One of my Radical Republican friends, Dennis, confirmed that Gramn's resignation was only a rumor anyhow.

Finally, I was told to put on my light brown Texas State Trooper uniform. The uniform was all real except for the gun. When I stepped out, I got some giggles. I just had one question. I asked, "Am I supposed to be Ponch or John from Chips?" I know what you are thinking. Stupid question, Dan, you're 100% Irish American you can't be Ponch. Well, not according to my nametag on my uniform. The nametag said O. Morales and my first name is Dan. Put them together and we get Dan Morales. The guy Sanchez beat in the Democratic run off. Mr. Sanchez's Hispanic assistant got a real kick out of that.

Someone said, "I don't think you look like Ponch or John. I think you look like Cletus from Dukes of Hazard." I said, "Oh, yeah well at least I don't have the brains of Enos!" Our pleasant discussion ended when Mr. Sanchez had to return to filming.

No, I couldn't be Rosco either. We all know Bush looks and talks like Rosco P Coltrane. "We're gonna smoke 'em out, Dead or Alive Gggggggg." Is Bush talking about Alcada or The Duke Boys? I mean if Bush can't catch The Duke Boys how's he going to catch Bin Laden? Yes, I know Dick Cheney is Boss Hogg. Back to the story.

It was time to move to Webber Field for my State Trooper scenes. Now it was really becoming like "Chips The Next Generation." Not only did I ride my motorcycle over to the park wearing my State Trooper outfit while singing the "Chips" theme to myself, but there was an accident along the way. This accident lacked the explosions and car pileups of "Chips." I was going down West 5th street and traffic was slowing and merging to one lane to avoid a fire engine parked in the right lane about a mile in front of me. I seized the opportunity to use my Trooper outfit to my advantage. Unlike everyone else, I rode in the right hand lane as far as I could then I turned into the left lane. As you can imagine, I had no problems getting into the traffic infested left lane when I needed to because everyone thought I was a Cop.

Then, I got lost. So, I stopped at the entrance to Zilker Park to check the map for directions. People began stopping at the entrance to ask me if they needed to pay to enter the park because they thought I was positioned there to make sure they did. I didn't charge anyone, but I should have. There were lots of people pouring into the park that day and I could have made a killing.

When I got to the location, it was almost time for my scene with Mr. Sanchez. I was officially introduced to him by the makeup and wardrobe lady. He was pleasant. He is also short probably around 5' 5" or 5' 6". I'm almost a whopping 5' 9". That's why it was noticeable to me.

Mr. Sanchez and myself were positioned in front of a patrol car. I had my left leg up on the bumper and I leaned on my knee. Mr. Sanchez was positioned in front of me. The director and crew were positioned about 20-25 ft. behind us. There were no lines. I was just supposed to look at him while he was talking and shake my head with approval to his gestures. They will add a voiceover for the ad.

We made some small talk while waiting. He asked me what I do and I asked him about the campaign. It was a nice conversation. He came off very likeable to me. He's working lots of hours. That's probably why during the filming of my scene with him and the other scenes he seemed heavily managed. For the times that I saw him he wasn't really calling the shots on the commercial. He, like the actors and extras, just stood where he was told and was shuffled from scene to scene. He's probably worrying more about what the campaign issues are and his election strategy rather than wasting his time getting into all the small details of his political ads.

During my little scene with Mr. Sanchez, I took the opportunity to ask him some real issue-orientated questions. For example, I asked him, "If you do become Governor someday and decide to run for President, and the race gets whittled down to you and Jesse "The Mind" Ventura, would you be willing to wrestle Ventura, in a no holds barred, Steel Cage Match for the Presidency?" He didn't respond and looked annoyed.

I just hope he's not Governor when I'm sitting on Death Row in Huntsville. I think he's going to tell them to throw the switch when he gets my reprieve phone call. At least I've got the perfect haircut for the electric chair. Oh, wait a minute. We're in Texas. We like capital punishment and kill lots of people. I don't think we use a chair anymore. I think we've moved up to the electric futon. (Yeah, we use lethal injection. Just go with it). It's just faster and more efficient.

Time to go. I've got to get ready for an Ad I'm doing with Gov. Rick Perry.

Talk to you next month. Take Care!


© 2021 Austin Actors   Privacy Policy