A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Playing With Guns

Bradenton, Florida. — Tragedy nearly struck a group of Florida actors when authorities say a loaded gun was accidentally used during a dress rehearsal. It was the final practice run by a seniors theater group for their production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” One actor picked up a pistol he had borrowed from another cast member and fired it at the head of fellow actor Fred Kellerman.

The bullet only grazed Kellerman’s ear. The 81-year-old was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Just two hours after the shooting, the play went on as scheduled with another actor performing Kellerman’s part. Kellerman plans to be back at rehearsal Friday for a musical the group is putting on. No charges have been filed, but the shooting is still under investigation.
From another article:
"I heard a loud bang. I knew something was wrong. But I never passed out," Kellerman said.

Kellerman said doctors would later find the bullet tore into his skull, ricocheted off bone, then came back out and tore off a piece of his ear. Doctors sewed the piece of ear back on at Manatee Memorial Hospital, Kellerman said.

"It took a chunk off my ear, but I was told it will grow together. I really feel no pain," he said. "I was really lucky."
Damned right he's lucky.

When in the hell are theater groups going to realize that they need to have a stage manager (or an assistant working with him) familiar with real firearms and firearms safety? When will theater groups realize any prop guns to be used in a play should be prop guns? When will theater groups finally begin to take these issues seriously? Failure to do so is reckless endangerment. The entire theater group and their board of directors should be held responsible for this kind of unnecessary danger.



Blogger the pawnbroker said...

rule five:



10:10 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

The entire theater group and their board of directors should be held responsible for this kind of unnecessary danger.

And if Mr. Kellerman has a decent attorney, you can bet they will be. To the tune of an awful lot of money.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous dandechino said...

Wow. I heard about this on the radio on my way home from work. Who in the hell thought it would be a good idea to bring a real gun to the show? Seriously, do people not think?

2:43 AM  
Anonymous Rodney said...

I have acted in a lot of plays and just finished writing a musical called "Big Feet, Big Love." Since I know something about guns, I refuse to work in plays that use real guns and when I write a play with a gun in it, I plan to put a warning in the script and a clause in the contract forbidding the use of real guns.

Dear theater friends, go to the toy department, buy a plastic gun and paint it black. That way everyone goes home alive.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous redneck said...

Hmmmmmmm Sounds like the 4 rules were not followed.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Hecate said...

Even a blank-firing prop gun can be deadly. Remember Jon-Erik Hexum and Brandon Lee?

10:10 AM  
Blogger AJ187 said...

Well, dandechino, small community plays use real weapons all the time, just not real cartridges. My cousin just wrote a WW2 play for church where he had a luger and M1 garand on stage. No one got hurt, because whoever was doing props was smart.

10:39 AM  
Blogger kbarrett said...

Correct ... they don't think.

It takes an actor getting killed every few years to force gun safety into these nitwit's heads.

There is a growing industry in CA making blank-only prop guns ... as long as it meets BATFE specs, it can even be a full-auto blank gun.

3:14 PM  
Blogger GEM said...

In the early 80's, I was doing a play in Baton Rouge. My character carried a double barrelled shotgun for a portion of the play; and at one point, another character would take the gun offstage. Then the propmaster would load a blank in it and fire it a few moments later.

One evening I came into the theater to find a couple of teen-aged cast members running around with the shotgun. They pointed it at me, and I dove for cover. They laughed themselves silly about that, but I was furious. Remembering a safety lesson that the armorer on "Apocalypse Now" had given to his cast, I took the gun from the boys, placed a large stack of styrofoam cups over the barrel, pointed the gun straight up and told the boys, "Watch how dangerous guns are - even blanks!"

Then I fired the gun. The boys spent 15 minutes or so sweeping up all of the little pieces of styrofoam, and they never touched the gun again.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These people were beyong stupid. I worked backstage in college and after - many years ago. Stage manager - "Scotty" or me - always had hold of the gun until it went on stage. And we got it back, directly. Props never had it at hand, and it never left our sight.
Only thing worse than a gun is candles on an old stage with all that paint built up on the flats! Kept a large fire extinguisher at my feet with the pin pulled. Told the actors to step into the audience and lead them out the doors, in case anything went wrong. OldeForce

11:42 PM  

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