Creating filtered version of banner image.

Journal

Jim plays "Business Commuter " waiting for train on "ALL MY CHILDREN"!!

Mike Lemon Casting in Philadelphia sent an email out to all AFTRA actors in the Philly & suburban area to check our availability for working on the ABC-TV soap opera "ALL MY CHILDREN" that would be shooting some scenes in New Hope, PA. The shoot date was originally Friday, February 1 but was moved to Monday the 4th of February. I was available, and after talking with Annette at Mike Lemon I was told I'd be a "business commuter" at the New Hope Ivyland Train Station. Our call time was set for 4:45AM in Center City Philly where we were to be transported by bus to the New Hope site. What was ironic is that I had been working as a musician in New Hope the past year rather consistently(moreso than at any other time in my career)and was familar with where the train station was. I asked if I could DRIVE TO THE STATION myself rather than taking the Philly bus. Though she preferred all actors to leave from this designated area, she checked with the show and the next day she called to say I was granted this exception, and could report at 6:30AM to New Hope. This bought me a bit more "sleeptime"--but would also prove to be beneficial as I'll reveal to you later! I got to the set around 6:15AM dressed in a black suit with white shirt, blue tie, and black overcoat. We were told to seek out "Enza"(who was an associate producer for the show)to check in with her. We had to present some working papers that were sent to us from Mike Lemon Casting that enabled us to work on the show. This was actually my first AFTRA "gig" even though I had joined AFTRA prior to my Screen Actors Guild membership in 2003. AFTRA does most of the daytime dramas-- and though I had submitted to many of those shows casting directors over the years I had not been called. So the rules for this union were a bit different--and perhaps were based on the soap operas or networks stringent rules. Upon pulling into the train station I noticed that the Philly bus was already there with the motor still running--it was a frigid February Monday with rain in the forecast so this was as good a "holding area" for those actors as any. I walked to the station where the crew was setting up their equipment for the days shoot, and I asked if Enza was there. I was greeted by the stage manager Marty who said Enza was not there yet but that I could help myself to some breakfast inside an adjacent building to the ticket area of the train station. He then went to greet the other actors(about 25) and they filed out of the bus and also headed for some oatmeal and bagels(and lots of other goodies!). I chatted with a few of the actors and eventually we all headed back to the bus as it was agreed that it was warmer there than the inadequately heated station. I saw that a lady was shuffling through working papers of the other actors and so I gave her mine and she assured me they would get to the right place. After waiting on the bus for 15 minutes or so, Marty came on the bus and asked for a few of us to come to the set. This was about 7:30 to 7:45AM--so shooting would begin rather early. I had been watching "All My Children" and knew that two actors Darnell Williams and Debbie Morgan had returned to the show after almost 20 years--they were one of the first African American couples on daytime TV playing "Jesse" and "Angie". "Jesse" had supposedly died and from what the viewers could sense from their return(and thanks to the soap opera magazines that are story "spoilers")--there would eventually be a reunion of this couple who's storyline is very endearing to fans of the show. What I did not know until Debbie Morgan stepped out of the train station onto the platform where I had been placed along with other actors--is that these New Hope scenes would in fact be the staging ground for this reunion of Jesse and Angie. This thought excited me and I felt honored to be a part of this action. I had been placed right next to Debbie Morgan to her left as she views the train slowly passing her--as they roll "action!" I notice that Darnell Williams is on that train and she spots him(or "Jesse")in the train window. Debbie("Angie")drops her pocket book and ticket on the ground and screams "JESSE"!! as she runs down the platform after the train...she would repeat this action a few times as they would back the old train up--on the first take I uttered to her "that was dramatic"--she either did not hear me or chose to ignore it and walked back into the train station(actors are always running lines in their head and it's not a good idea to say anything to them)--however later she smiled when after take 5 or so I said "you're getting your exercise today". All of us react to Angie running after the train--and in subsequent shots she is filmed wallking back towards us in a daze, almost ghostlike. Both she and Jesse are dressed in the same shades of brown which make for an alluring color scheme when they are eventually reunited. *THESE SCENES WERE SEEN ON FRIDAY FEBRUARY 15th AND CAN BE VIEWED AT THIS YOU TUBE VIDEO LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwNYYPWaZTc (at 1:46 into the video you see me placing my bag onto the train platform and "Angie" crossing in front of me to wait for the train--the camera stays on us for a few seconds; then from 2:00 to 2:20 of the video you see me standing next to Angie from the camera angle INSIDE OF THE TRAIN(Jesse's perspective)and that is where Angie spots Jesse on the train and begins to run after him--near the videos end she walks slowly back to the station and you can see me "far away" a few times still standing on the platform). In between takes of the above described scenes we were asked to head back inside the station and other actors were placed in other scenes outside on the platform--this is when I noticed that another veteran actor from the show had arrived--and to my delight it was Michael Knight who has played Tad Martin on the show 'forever'. I had actually met Michael a few years ago in Allentown PA--I was playing a grand opening for a new Crowne Plaza Hotel at 9th and Hamilton in their lobby, and after my gig went for a drink in the bar--Michael walked into the bar and was greeted by a waitress by name. When I heard his full name announced I turned and was shocked to see "Tad" there--I shook his hand and expressed how I loved his work all these years. We spoke for a half hour--he was in town to shoot a film in the PA area and was staying at the hotel...well fast forward to Monday morning February 4th and there is "Tad Martin" walking into my life again!--I shook his hand again and reminded him of our Allentown meeting a few years back. He lit up and say "I was just thinking of that this morning!"--perhaps it was his first return back to this part of Pennsylvania and it was on his mind. We would not speak at length though as--once again--he was running lines with Darnell Williams and this would consume most of his day. The idea was that "Jesse" was on the run and "Angie" could not know he was alive--though he loved her greatly--and she him--if they knew he would be alive it would endanger her life and the life or their son Frankie. Some unidentified criminal element has impressed this fact on Jesse and he is driven to remain "dead". "Tad" is the only one so far that knows Jesse is alive and is reluctantly facilitating his getaway via a train to "somewhere"--remember that word as it will be explained later... We broke for lunch at about 12:30 and we all headed for the adjacent Triumph Brewery at 400 Union Square--check them out at www.triumphbrew.com --a wonderful buffet awaited cast and crew--salmon, ziti, mixed veggies, barbecued chicken, potatoes and more. Our 1:15 curfew came too soon and we headed back for more shooting on the platform of the train station. This time we filmed commuters walking TO the train station to enter and get our tickets. "Jesse and Tad" are seen approaching and entering the station, and later "Angie" approaching the station and seeing that her train is delayed. After viewing the actual show this is the only segment I was not seen in as they cut just before I strolled into the picture. At one point some air-activated "hand warmer" packets were distributed to the cast by the crew--we gladly put them in our gloves and shoes as the light freezing drizzle and frigid air on this cloudy February had us cold to the bone. The fortuitous foggy and damp weather contributed to the melodrama of the days scenes with Angie sad over seeing Jesse on the train. At times the drizzle changed to snow and we thought "How pretty that would be if that could be filmed"--but in reality the camera can't pick that up and "fake snow" has to be created(from "milk" I was told)to allow it to be discernable on camera. While some of us were inside, I was called out to speak to the stage manager Marty. He asked me if I could stay longer today--as he knew I drove to the set. The other background actors had to board the bus back to Philly by 5:00PM. I heartily agreed--as I assumed I would be in more scenes(obviously). When I returned inside, an actor asked me in front of Debbie Morgan(Angie)and others what I had been called about--I said in a low ominous voice"THEY WANT ME TO STAY UNTIL MIDNIGHT". I finally got a laugh out of Debbie Morgan as she said "honey you can stay but I know I'll be long gone by then!" Sure enough, at 5PM I saw the bus pull out of the New Hope Train station taking the 25 or so actors back to Center City--an actor from NYC named Chris Stadulis ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2617580/resume ) was the only other actor on the set besides Michael Knight and Darnell Williams--Chris and I have kept in touch after that day--he played the police officer in several scenes who "Jesse" was nervous about(that he could be looking for him). What we filmed next was Jesse and Tad entering the train station and chatting inside; Tad asks him where he's going and Jesse responds "somewhere"--Tad advises him to stop delaying and go get a ticket to "somewhere". At this point the director had me standing at the ticket window; I was mimicing that I was talking to the ticket guy and my profile can be seen for several seconds as Jesse approaches the ticket counter behind me. I take my ticket and then Jesse is asked where he wants to go and he responds "Toronto--one way". This scene occured on Valentines Day, February 14th near the end of the show, and as mentioned earlier, the initial scenes we shot today appeared the next day. Monday February 18th was the actual meeting of Jesse and Angie where they embrace and leave the train station--I am seen in a recap of Fridays scene as she walks back to the train station after chasing the train. The music bed underneath the scene is Alicia Keys "Like You'll Never See Me Again"--it is a powerful song that perfectly mirrors the inner angst Angie and Jesse are feeling. **TO VIEW THE FEBRUARY 14th SCENE OF ME GETTING MY TICKET AT THE TRAIN STATION WINDOW, GO TO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q2gIaUBLg0&feature=related ((you can see me at 1:35 to 1:53 into the video) We were told when we signed on to work on "ALL MY CHILDREN" that we would be paid for 3 episodes since our shoot encompassed 3 days of viewing. We wrapped at 6:30PM--I shook hands with Michael Knight and Darnell Williams and thanked them for the experience. Marty the stage manage wrote down "7:30PM" for me as he asked me how long it would take me to get home(I said about an hour). Two weeks later I would get a check from the Disney Company(I forgot that they had bought ABC-TV)for a very nice piece of change for my 13 hours on the set. If you watch the scenes on You Tube you'll note at least 30 other videos relating to this Jesse-Angie reunion are there as well--this was a very popular couple in daytime drama and I was elated to be a part of such a historic reunion--so there's your inside peek at my day--hope you enjoyed it!!

JIM LOFTUS ORIGINAL MUSIC PLAYER

UPCOMING GIGS/EVENTS

  • October 20, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • November 3, 2018
    ALLENTOWN ART MUSEUM(Cocktails & Collecting Fundraiser), Allentown, PA
     
  • November 23, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • November 24, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • December 1, 2018
    WILLIAMS RESTAURANT(private), Easton, PA
     

JIM LOFTUS FACEBOOK & MORE