Itching For More


I’ve been wearing the scent of Tea Tree Oil the past few days. Not because it’s a trendy new fragrance, but because I am using it to treat a rash from poison ivy on my neck. It makes the itching less bothersome, and I believe it helps remove the toxic poison ivy oil from the skin.

Since John wrote so candidly about his sty yesterday, I feel emboldened to discuss my creepy crawly feeling skin condition. I’ll spare you the details, but think flesh eating zombie from the Night of the Living Dead film.

I am familiar with the classic 1968 horror film because it was filmed about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, and about the same distance from the town where I grew up.

The filmmaker, George Romero, made another film in our neck of the woods during the summer of 1981. I spent part of that summer (after my freshman year in college) as an extra on the film set. “Knightriders” was filmed even closer to my childhood home, about 10 minutes away.


It was the first film I did with Ed Harris. Ok it is the only film I have done with Ed Harris. Ok, it is the only film I have ever been in, and it was a big flop at the box office. But I thought it deserved being remembered in a scrapbook.

It was fun to be a part of the filmmaking experience. And there was a lot of free food at lunchtime. I remember there was a lot of waiting around, and then on occasion, my brother The Coach, our friend and fellow extra Mike, and I would take part in a big crowd scene.

One day, Mike and I got our big break. We were selected to be in costume… and on film. That is me on the left with hair, and Mike with the mustache.


In our big scene, which lasts about two seconds, two distant figures walk toward camera across a vast field. Even though we wore big helmets that covered our faces, our true-to-life portrayal of ‘two guys walking’ propels the plot forward and foreshadows a resolution to the inner conflict of the central characters. It is probably the strongest and most dramatically charged scene in the film — well, as I recall.

Interestingly, this week, after a 30-year lull, I heard from Mike. I received an invitation via LinkedIn (the facebook-like site for professionals) to join his network. He qualified the invitation by asking:

“Are you a western Pennsylvania native? Were you a movie extra in Knightriders 30 years ago? If you answered yes to either, then you may remember me. I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

I immediately accepted the invitation, and clarified in my reply that, as I remembered it, I was a star and not an extra. I suggested we do another film together. I’m itching to get back in the business. I am itching to do just about everything right now.

live. enjoy. repeat.

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