Thank you to the people below who were kind enough to share their memories of their time at Crawfords. To some people, working at Crawfords was merely a job. To the people below, it was more than that, it was a way of life. To many, Crawfords became like a second family. Not only did you work together, but in a lot of cases, it was also great to socialise together. It really was a family. The "Spirit" of Crawfords lives on through the memories collected here. Your memories would be most welcome and enjoyed by many.
Leave your own memories by clicking "My Memories" at the bottom of the menu at left.
Transport Department / Operations Manager (1972 to 1992)
I first commenced at Crawford Productions in 1972 going through to December 1992. Just a fraction short of 21 years. I commenced as a casual driver when I came out of the army after completing National Service. I then became a permanent driver, then I worked as a mechanic, then I ran the Transport section and finally I was Operations Manager.
So many stories over the years and so many people I met. My first boss was Jan Bladier.
A nicer person you could not meet, too bad about David Lee. (Only joking).
I can remember working all day on a show delivering filming vehicles then going out again that night for a night shoot, getting hardly any sleep and starting again the next day. I used to earn twice as much money in overtime at busy times than I earned a week. My first experience on a crew was all crew members kissing and hugging each other, going into the caravan to get something and the actors and actresses getting changed in front of me and the wardrobe girl climbing up the steps of the caravan, stepping on her dress at the front which resulted in her pulling the front of her dress down to expose her breasts. For a boy just out of the army I didn't know where to look and couldn't figure out what the hell was going on. At the end of the week you would be exhausted, but no matter what, you went to Wrigleys Pub for a drink on Friday Night. And what a drink that used to turn out to be.
Defamation Laws prohibit me going into too much detail about those nights but you wouldn't miss
it for the world with all the film crews coming back to the pub after wrap no matter where they
were in Melbourne. It was like a Hollywood soap opera.
We had fights, marriage breakups, affairs, alcoholics, drug addicts, separations, missing people, crazy people, vomit, nudity, car accidents, and that was just the props department over one Friday night.
We started having pre drinks in Transport before we went to Wrigleys, but this was at your peril. Unsuspecting participants had diesel put down the carbie of their car so when they drove off it sent out a smoke screen that would cover the entire neighbourhood. We also put smoke bombs under cars and then tell the owner their car was on fire. We would jack up the back wheels so they were just off the ground so when they accelerated the car would not go anywhere. (This did backfire on us one night when the car slipped off the jack doing about 100kmh, this was the greatest wheelie ever known to Man, luckily no one was hurt).
One Friday night in Transport we even had a live band playing in the back of the Semi Trailer, which was used to carry sets around. Management told me that they didnít mind a few quiet drinks on a Friday night but now I was going a little bit too far. (I had already organised dancing girls for the following Friday).
After one of our big nights in transport I had to leave some keys with the security guard.
I searched and searched but couldnít find him. I gave up and headed home. As I drove down the
street I spotted him doing security at a building down the road. He had 2 jobs going at once.
A different guard turned up for his night shift a little worse for wear after a long
afternoon session at the pub and a bit of funny stuff. He proceeded to chase the receptionist
all around the building wanting to do things to her.
It was like a silent movie foot chase. She was running, he was chasing her, and about 10 blokes trying to catch up to them and apprehend the culprit. It went up and down floors, through the studio and transport and around the car park. I have never laughed so much in my life.
Apart from deliberate pranks we did have many funny things that went wrong. I remember Rod Hardy (I think it was Rod, he will do anyway) rushing down to transport to get a car and he was in a huge hurry. I said "We have one refuelling now at the pump outside transport, you can take that". He didnít hear the refuelling part. He jumped in the car and took off at a great set of knots. As the petrol pump hose started to stretch the length of the car park four of us hit the deck waiting for the hose to bust. It did and came back like a rocket smashing the window of the office and half the pump. Rod rang us when he got to location saying as he pulled up everybody was laughing at him. He had the nozzle and about 5 ft of hose hanging out the side of the car.
We had a props guy come down saying he needed a ute. I said "Fine, there is one parked in front of the caravan over the other side of the car park". He grabbed the keys and off he went. What I didnít know was that someone had hooked up the ute to the caravan to move it and left it hooked up. He drove out of Crawfords in Abbotsford and took off up the road to Victoria Street. We were laughing and sh***ing ourselves at the same time, scared he would kill someone. When he realised, he stopped the car and left it in the middle of the road and ran back to Crawfords. We had to go and get it as it was blocking everything.
I was in the office one day and I got a call saying the props department had left something in the back of the old Valiant Divvy van. As I was by myself at that time I went out and it was parked on the other side of the carpark, so I climbed in the back of the van and grabbed the prop. As I did the door closed behind me, divvy vans do not have internal door handles. For the next 3 hours I sat like a criminal, no one close enough to hear my cries, all wondering why I had disappeared from the office and me sweltering in 30 degree heat. Only when someone was leaving to go home did they come down to the back of the car park. I think I drank 6 stubbies in 6 minutes when I got out.
I remember when one of our mechanics (Peter Broome) took some motorbikes out to location for filming, including stunt work. As the stunt men were having breakfast Peter said he would warm up the motorbikes for them and get them all going. As he took off into the bush all was well and he was riding them around. Then Peter started to put the bike through its paces. The Stunt Men could hear him screaming through the bush and were very impressed when he emerged from the bush accelerating at high speed. He went through the contingent of stunt men and crew having breakfast going so fast one wheel was off the ground, he was yelling in excitement at everybody and he was flying, disappearing into the bush again. The stunt guys looked at each other and said, sh*t that kid can ride. What no one realised was that Peter couldnít ride that well, the accelerator got stuck wide open on the bike and he was going flat chat out of control, he was yelling for help. They found him 15 minutes later flat out on his back, very sore and sorry for himself with a mangled bike beside him.
I had a 1st assistant director come down looking for a car. I gave him the keys and off he went. He came back a few minutes later complaining that some one had stolen the steering wheel and how dare I give him that car. On checking the car we found he was sitting in the back seat (that stuff can do funny things to you)
I had a crew member pick up an actor and take him to location. I got a call from a person saying that he was involved in an accident and that our driver had hit him from behind. I said "What happened, were you parked or slowing down or turning ?". He said "No I was doing 110 KMH on the freeway and accelerating to get away when he hit me from behind". (that stuff again)
I took an old FJ Holden to location for filming on Matlock Police. We had made it filthy dirty, put rust marks all over it, it was a mess. At the end of filming they asked if I could take four Aboriginal actors back to town with me. They were all made up with cuts on their faces, blood, filthy dirty and wearing their bush attire, I said "sure" and off we went. We stopped on the way at the bottle shop as they wanted some cold refreshments (a slab of VB). On the way back into town there was a Police roadblock. I pull up in this beat up looking old FJ with four half drunk actors in the back, all yelling and carrying on covered in cuts and blood and drinking stubbies. The first Policeman came over, then he called over a second Policeman and then they called over the Senior Sergeant. He looked at me, the car, the four half drunk actors covered in blood and dirt. He scratched his head and said "This is all too hard and I wonít even ask what is going on as I do not want to know, and you seem to have enough problems on your hands, on your way."
I still remember the great story, which has been told many times about the time we had the fire in the studio at Abbotsford. Hector Crawford told John Chambers (General Manager) to call the police, as he was concerned it was deliberately lit. After an hour or so no one had arrived so Hector said "Leave it to me I have contacts, I will get some one here in no time". After he made the phone call to his contacts in the Police, John and Hector went downstairs and sure enough there were 2 uniform Police waiting in the Foyer. Hector went over to them, explained the situation, told them to get back to him when they finished their investigations and then walked off with John. As he left, Hector said to John "That is how you get things done around here". No one was game to tell Hector that he had just bailed up 2 Police extras coming off set who had no idea what was going on.
The stories go on and on, I could write a book, but it was all so much fun. Hector created a
family atmosphere and everybody worked hard and played hard. Like most things you donít appreciate
them until they are gone. Those days are gone but the memories are still there . I still catch up
with a lot of people I met at Crawfords over the years both through work and socially.
I met my beautiful wife Katrina Parkinson at Crawfords and we have been married for 24 years. We have 2 boys aged 19 and 17 who are heavily involved in basketball so we are very much sporting parents travelling all over Victoria and Australia to watch them play . I am afraid Katrina and I couldnít make the last reunion so we look forward to the next one. In the words of that famous Australian.
I LOVE YOUS ALL