THE RATCHETS HOT!
“THE RATCHETS HOT!”
Tragically those immortal words will never be heard again from Stunt Legend CURT BONN, because MR BONN, passed away recently from Pancreatic Cancer. Typically, no one knew. He told me he had a mini Stroke but promised me not to tell anyone because he didn't want a “ buncha mooks hangin around driving me crazy”
The last GAG we did was on PSYCH the MOVIE. BYRON BRISCO, the JAMES RODAY clone, using his fake beard to do a slide for life from the top of a ship gets nutted as he slams into a post on the dock. MR BONN gotta good chuckle outta that one. MR BONN had parked his white van right on set that day even though everyone on Locations had told him not to. He pretty much did that everyday.
Refreshingly, our last conversation involved him asking me to get his dough from payroll because they were a week late. Like me, his biggest thrill, other than having his nightly martini with his beloved Freddy, was showing up in person to grab that envelope full of sweet candy from payroll every Thursday @ 4 pm!
He called me “Super Dan!” because he ratcheted me 54 times in one day on the NHL 98 video. We called it a world record, even though we had absolutely no idea if it was or not, nor did we give a rats ass.
Everytime we got together it was an adventure. They very seldom Ratchet someone in an open field. That would be too easy. It was always almost impossible. Inside phone booths. On the edge of cliffs. And RIVERVIEW! Always RIVERVIEW, where you couldn't drill because of asbestos. But the Grumpy German Genius always found a way.
He would go to the White Spot on Lougheed for breakfast where the waitresses always knew him + luved him and he would do his diabolical figuring. He was an Engineering Genius.
“Thats the reason I love this business. Its always something different. And we always find a way.”
MR BONN loved his DOUBLE DIP! Two shows in one day. One time he did a QUAD!! He started @ 4 am up in LYNN CANYON and finished with us @ Midnight on STARGATE, with 2 shows in between. 4 shows in one day!!! He loved to tell that story! It put a huge smile on his face.
There were so many memories.
Like working for 18 hours straight trying to Ratchet Darryl Scheeler 25 ‘ in a mine shaft set which was only 6’ high on STARGATE. At 3 am ROY, MR BONN’s helper had to take nitro because he had a heart condition and all the stress was causing him to have a heart attack!
Peter Deluise used to mimic MR BONN by pretending to pull up his blue jeans + yelling,
“ THE RATCHETS HOT!”
Peter “ Curt didn't I give you nose hair clippers?”
Curt “ Yes you did.”
Peter “ Then why didn't you use them?”
MR BONN liked that bit.
But a RATCHET on THE MAGICIANS seemed to epitomize what seemed to happen EVERYTIME MR BONN and I got together:
UBC didn't want us to Rehearse on Sunday and the RATCHET played on MONDAY. We were asked if we could Rehearse AND Shoot on Monday because the RATCHET didn't play until first up after lunch. We agreed.
The last thing I remember asking Transpo + Locations Friday night was, could the SKY TRACK be there + the gate opened by 7 am Monday morning?! We had no margin of error!
“ Of course Silly Wabbit”
Monday morning @ 7 am, the SKY TRACK WAS LATE and THE GATE WASN’T OPEN!! Apparently the SKY TRACK was stuck in rush hour traffic from New West. Rush hour?? REALLY!! What a shocker! When was the last time there was a rush hour from New West on a Monday morning?!! Wasn't there a Rush hour EVERY morning! In fact, didn’t the Rush hour practically last ALLDAY!? EVERY DAY??! Why was this such a surprise to these people??
The GATE? A Female UBC security guard version of Barney Fife showed up wearing a uniform 2 sizes too big for her with a key chain holding more keys than the KEY DUDE on the MATRIX!
It looked like that GATE hadn't been opened since D DAY and it looked like it was unlikely to be opened anytime soon. (She’s probably still there to this day, frantically trying every key including that old Pirates Skeleton key with zero chance of that lock EVER opening.)
The SKY TRACK arrived an hour late. Because the gate wasn't open it had to travel ALL the way around the UBC campus chugging along at a snails pace. In fact I thought I saw a snail pass it, at which point a TEAMSTER started to stomp on it yelling, “ That snails been following me around all day!!”
45 minutes later the SKY TRACK arrived on our set. Set was the roof of the UBC parking lot. I remember someone asking UBC LIASON DUDE on our Tech Survey how much weight the roof of this parking lot could handle and not remembering if anyone actually had got an answer on that. All I knew was, this was the BIGGEST SKY TRACK I had ever scene before! It inched along the roof of the parking lot and I swear I could hear something cracking. It felt like I was back in Ontario when I was a KID on the frozen river looking back at the Thin Ice sign. I had this horrible vision of this Monster Truck crashing through the roof crushing a gaggle of ASIAN exchange students just after they had learned how to drive!
Once the SKY TRACK was in position, it wouldn't start! We had 3 TEAMSTERS trying to get it to work.They were heard to exclaim that it was the strangest thing they had ever seen. They decided they had to bring another one in from New West.
FUCK NEW WEST!!
This one had to work! And it had to work NOW!
MR BONN was getting tense. Although it was hard to tell when he was tense because he always looked tense. He started to fiddle with it + discovered it had outriggers or things that extended out underneath it to keep it stable. He finally got it to work. Apparently the computer was telling it it was on a steep hill when in fact it was on flat concrete.
This had all taken 2 1/2 hours. We had 3 1/2 hrs left to do something we estimated would take 6.
Plus I was hearing on the radio that they were moving along quite quickly and might be moving to us sooner.
When was the last time they actually shot something faster than they thought!!??
Plus the DIRECTOR now wanted a BIGGER RATCHET! Instead of 8’ high + 12’ back, he wanted it, 30’ high + 50’ back!
This wasn't what the GRUMPY GERMAN had calculated on his napkins @ breakfast @ The White Spot!
I had to change my underwear again. I looked pleadingly at him. Was any of this actually possible?
MR BONN calmly looked at me and said, “ Dont worry Super Dan. We’ll find a way. We always do.”
And when the DIRECTOR + CREW showed up, MR BONN showed them one of the coolest
RATCHETS ever! That STUNT DUDE flew farther + higher that day than I’ve ever seen a stunt dude fly!
And MR BONN did it before lunch, without sandwiches , Meal penalty or Craft service!
The most beautiful words I heard that day were,
THE RATCHETS HOT!!!!!!
RIP MR BONN.
You will be sorely missed.