In 1980, I was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. My unit was the 4th Basic Combat Training Brigade (US Army).
In November of that year, Hollywood came to Fort Knox. The movie Stripes
was being filmed there. It starred
Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P. J. Soles, Sean Young, and John Candy. Also John Larroquette,
John Diehl, Conrad Dunn, Judge Reinhold, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, Timothy Busfield, and Bill Paxton in
some of the earliest roles of their careers. The filming of the Fort Knox sequences was done with the
cooperation of the Department of Defense.
My unit was the "host unit" for the cast and crew. Some of the soldiers in my unit were offered roles as
"extras" in the film. I remember they were paying quite well - $100+ per day for speaking roles, about
half for non-speaking. Needless to say, there was a lot of interest, as base pay for soldiers was meager
at the time... Every time I watch that movie I can pick out friends that appeared in it, if only briefly.
At the conclusion of filming, our unit hosted a "Dining In" for the cast and crew. A dining in is basically
a formal affair with decent food and a lot of socializing (drinking). I had planned on going, if only to get some
autographs and pictures, but then I received some bad news. On the evening of the dining in, I had Charge of Quarters
(CQ) duty. CQ duty is basically when a non-commissioned officer sits in the headquarters all night, so that
the officers and soldiers can go home to be with their families for the evening. So, you work your job all day
and then report to headquarters in late afternoon to sit all night in case the phone rings. Before I left
work on the day of the Dining In, I asked the Brigade Executive Officer, a Lieutenant Colonel, if he could
try and get me Bill Murray's autograph.
When I next saw him, my XO gave me the following item:
The inscription says, "John, Trade Stamps! It's Fun And Educational! Merry Christmas! Bill Murray"
Wow, a neat bit of memorabilia with a philatelic theme! Apparently, Bill Murray, when asked for the autograph,
wanted to know about my hobbies/interests. He then personalized the autograph.
It is one of my most treasured items, coffee stain and all. It is also one of my favorite memories...
I like the back story too!