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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)


Air Date: Week of

William Shakespeare wrote, "All the world is a stage" and for Hollywood that can also mean eveything is fair game as props for sets. Watching a film crew prepare a corner near our Cambridge offices for a feature film shoot, Living On Earth producer Daniel Grossman noticed a team with ladders, saws, and a hydraulic lift in the trees. Littered on the ground around them were dozens of branches, and a crowd gathered to watch them work. Dan got his tape recorder when he realized film crew workers were not taking branches down, but putting them up.


CURWOOD: All the world is a stage, wrote William Shakespeare. And in Hollywood, that means everything is fair game as props for sets. We recently learned that lesson firsthand, watching a film crew prepare a corner of Harvard Square for an upcoming shoot. Our producer, Daniel Grossman, noticed a team with ladders, saws, and a hydraulic lift in the trees just a block from our office. Littered on the ground around them were dozens of branches, and a crowd had gathered to catch the action.

(Saws; wood being cut)

CURWOOD: Dan grabbed his tape recorder when he realized workers were not taking branches down, but putting them up.

(Man 1: "Keep going!" Man 2: "Up, and down." Man 1: "That's a good place to start, so let's cut it and re-drill it." Sawing sounds.)

MAN: We're here trying to restore the natural beauty to a linden tree which was damaged in a spring storm here in Harvard Square in Cambridge.

(Water sprayed. Man: "See it up there? Which of the branches...")

MAN: What we're basically doing is replacing the top of the damaged tree with the top from another tree. And that's a series of branches that we're sort of applying on in a temporary fashion. Excuse me. Hello -- yeah.

WOMAN 1: They've put spikes in the bits of the tree that were damaged from the ice storm in April, and they've cut other bits and pieces of the tree, and they've drilled holes in it and they're going to screw those pieces on the top. And it's for a movie, says one of Cambridge's finest standing over there.

WOMAN 2: Wow. So it's like --

WOMAN 3: They cut other pieces? Are those pieces from other trees, or are they from this tree?

WOMAN 1: I don't know where they --

WOMAN 3: It's like the Brady Bunch when they broke the vase and tried to glue it back together. You mean, they're gonna get caught.

MAN: We're going to have to substitute. We'll use that somewhere else.

(Sawing sounds)

MAN: Take it off of the stub and bring it in till I tell you -- we'll shorten it by that much.

WOMAN 1: I think it's extremely bizarre.

WOMAN 2: Does anything make sense?

WOMAN 1: Again, people are trying to deny the reality of what is.

(Noises from the crowd; sawing)

WOMAN 2: It's pruning without consent.

(Sawing sounds increase)

WOMAN 2: I live in the town where they did some of the filming for Witches of Eastwick, and they sprayed all the trees red, orange, and green in the middle of summer to simulate the fall. It doesn't surprise me. (Laughs)

MAN: For us it was -- you know, we came here and we scouted and we wanted to use this location and then the storm came. So it had already been chosen and basically it ends up that there's already too much going on to, you know, change horses. So for us it was to try and bring this back a little bit.

WOMAN 1: Anything for a movie.

WOMAN 2: And who are these guys? Like, who are these guys that know how to bolt branches onto trees? Like, when have they ever had to do this before? (Another woman laughs) I'd like to see his business card.

(Metal clanking)

CURWOOD: Thanks, Dan Grossman, for that audio snapshot of Hollywood in action.



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