Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Movie Star Cow


This is Poco, the Jersey cow that wanted to be a star.
 
The movie SONGCATCHER (2000)  was being filmed in our neck of the woods and they were looking for a milk cow to decorate the set and be part of a scene with Aidan Quinn. One day we got a call from the person in charge of such things, saying that they'd heard we had an attractive milk cow and they'd like to rent her for two or three weeks.

We weren't milking her at the time -- she was just lounging about the pasture -- so we were quick to agree. The money they offered made it well worth our while to put her on a trailer and haul her to where they were shooting. 

But they didn't want her yet,

'We'll give you a call when we need her,' said the people who came out to look her over. (They readily agreed that she was the best looking of the several milk cows they'd auditioned.
A few days, maybe a week, went by. Then, quite early one morning, the call came. They wanted her on set in about an hour. 

'On set' was about an hour away and we hadn't even eaten breakfast.  Plus, Poco was in the pasture and would have to be rounded up and loaded on the trailer.

But in record time, we were on our way to the base camp of the secluded location where they were shooting that day. As we pulled in, several harried-looking people  greeted us, helped unload the cow, and quickly switched her nylon halter for a leather one.
 
The animal wrangler took hold of her halter and they started up the road. The odd thing was that Poco was pulling him along as if she know just where she was going.

We were told that we'd get a call in a couple of weeks when they were done shooting and we could come get pick her up then.  (We were not invited to meet Mr. Quinn.)
Imagine our surprise when a day later we got a call. 'Come get your cow -- this isn't working out.'

Back we went, imagining the worst. But there was Poco, serenely chewing her cud in the ramshackle little stall they had for her at base camp. What happened to the two to three weeks? we wanted to know.

Well, they said, they had trouble keeping her down at base camp when she wasn't needed up on the set. Seems like she kept breaking loose and running back up the road to where they were shooting.

And even worse, our cow was a scene stealer. Her big moment was a scene where she was being milked while Aidan Quinn and his leading lady were having an argument of sorts. Evidently, rather than standing there cow-like and inconspicuous as the argument went on, Poco kept swiveling her head back and forth between the two stars as they spoke -- ludicrously like a fan at a tennis match..

As I imagine it, Aidan Quinn, in a fit of temperament, stamped his foot and said, 'Either the cow goes or I'm outta here!'

Poco's still in the movie though -- for about thirty seconds in the milking scene. Don't blink or you'll miss her.

(Apart from the cow, the movie is well worth watching for the beautiful scenery and the music! If you're wondering what the Appalachian dialect sounds like, it's done pretty well here -- most especially with the young girl who sings the old ballads. 


She was coached by my friend Sheila Kay Adams, seventh generation ballad singer. Shelia's also in the movie, playing the banjo and kicking a drunk off the stage in the dance scene.)




 The winner of the drawing over at Buried Under Books was Reader Wil!  Congratulations, Wil! 

And for the rest of you, there'll be another chance on the 27th when I visit Meanderings and Muses for my third stop on the Blog Tour! --  
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37 comments:

Julienne said...

Poco obviously knows her worth!
She is very beautiful.

dana said...

What a famous family. One author and one "moooo"vie star.

Joan said...

Oh thank you Vicki. That is a wonderful story ..what a star, your beautiful cow, Poco. What a diva! The song is beautiful. I found the DVD on Amazon but they warned it may not be compatible with our DVD players. I will check this at my local DVD store and see if they will order it for me. How wonderful to be learning all about your mountain life.

Victoria said...

Well, I think the two stars of 'Songcatcher' knew a true scene stealer when they saw one! Poco is really pretty, especially with that star on her forehead.

I love the picture of the clouds coming in over the ridges. And your pictures from your post yesterday are gorgeous, too!

Martin H. said...

What a character, that cow is.

Loved the song in the clip.

Poco is far too young to remember the likes of Paul Michael Grazer, I suppose?

Marilyn said...

Oh what a wonderful post, I enjoyed it all. Poco the movie star, lovely story.

Pat in east TN said...

I got quite a kick out of your story of Poco ... who'd a thought that a cow could be a scene stealer!

I have movie and it is one of few that I can watch over and over and never get tired of.

Brian Miller said...

haha. poco rocks....and obviously can not get neough of the limelight to be escaping back to it....again and again...funny story...

Ms EM said...

And people think cows aren't real smart. I loved this movie and NOW I must watch it again because I want to see Poco! This is such a neat thing to know about Songcatcher. I read the book years ago and only a year ago saw the movie.

willow said...

Oh, this is the cutest, funniest thing I've read in a long time. I love how Poco wouldn't just stand there, cow-like! She wanted to act!

Bouncin' Barb said...

Poco reminds me of Elsie the Cow from the tv commercials when I was little. Maybe that's Poco's inspiration. To be on national television in commercials. You should submit a portfolio to the people who do the "got milk" ads. Who knows. Maybe Poco will need a manager/agent. Your new calling? Very fun story. Thanks Vicki.

Mel said...

Your cow is adorable. I have seen Songcatcher several times, it is one of my favorite movies, for the scenery, the story and most of all, the music. The next time I watch, I'll be sure to watch for Poco. I remember Sheila's scene, though, and her playing the banjo! You are so lucky to live in those hills.

Tipper said...

Poco the scene stealer-I love it!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Oh what a delightful story about your movie star cow. She certainly wasn't a statue in the argument scene. And, the ballad video was a nice touch to your post. I have not seen the movie Songcatcher but now I surely will.

Deanna said...

I loved the movie The Song Catcher. I fell in love with the Apalacian Mountains and the music while watching the movie.

Your Poco the movie star. How funny.

Now I want to see the movie again.

Jill said...

Hurrah for Poco! Now that is something to make you smile.

Vicki Lane said...

For those of you who suggested a new career for me as agent-to-the-cow, I have to tell you that Poco has gone to the great pasture in the sky. This movie business all happened about 12 years ago. But our young Marigold has quite an engaging personality -- perhaps there's a future there...

Moo-vie star! (giggle)

Paul Michael Grazer? You have me at a disadvantage, Martin. Perhaps I'm too young...

I'm feeling a need to see the movie again myself.

Tammy said...

What a beauty Poco was. You can definatly see the 'star' quality. What a hoot that she would not be regulated to a ramshackle stall and instead wanted to be where the action was. Following the conversation between the the actors is priceless too. I always loved the cow in the original Walton's Movie (the Christmas one). She really added to the feel of the era.
Tammyh

NCmountainwoman said...

What a great story! Guess the old saying about working with kids and animals rings true. Shame on Aidan Quinn. I'm thinking he wasn't a farm boy.

Reader Wil said...

What a lovely ballad! Emmy Rossum sings like an Irish girl and I like her accent.
The cow story is hilarious. Imagine a cow listening to two actors and swiveling her head back and forth as if she was watching a tennismatch. Great story!

Michele said...

I used to have Jersey's - I love them. They are so pretty. Thanks for the laugh out loud this morning.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a darling story about Poco the scene stealing cow. Don't you wish you had been there to see it?
Sam

Martin H. said...

Sorry Vicki, I meant Paul Michael Glaser. You know, of Starsky and Hutch fame?

Vicki Lane said...

Now I don't KNOW that Aida Quinn had anything to do with Poco's being kicked of the set -- just idle speculation at work here.

The accent has some similarities with Irish -- the ballads came over with the Scot-Irish.

Jerseys are lovely cows -- very dainty and almost deerlike in their coloring with beautiful eyes.

Alas, I'm hopeless with most TV shows -- never watched Starsky and Hutch nor even The Waltons. Ask me about Monty Python's Flying Circus... or Fawlty Towers.

Tammy said...

Vicki,
If you ever get a chance to watch the Walton Christmas special/series premier , I think you would like it. Personally I think it captured the true flavor of that era and hill folk better than the show ever did (although I liked the early shows too). I just especially liked the kids in the show. They acted an awful like us farm kids. ha
Tammy

maría cecilia said...

Sweet story about Poco and her moment being a star!!!
cariños

Martin H. said...

I never watched Starsky and Hutch either, Vicki. It was just a bad pun. Hey, this is turning into a Monty Python sketch!

Vicki Lane said...

Sketch? Do you mean Sketch Henderson? (one you're probably too young and too British to remember.)

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

Hey Vicki,
I love it! I have this movie and now I want to watch it again to see Poco.
Were is Poco now? I knew Shiela Kay was in it but had no idea you were connected too! XOXO

Vicki Lane said...

This was a while back and Poco has gone to that Happy Pasture in the Sky, Carol. I hope she's starring in celestial moovies.

Adriano Maini said...

I like your blog! And so ... http://adrianomaini.posterous.com/appalachi-1 and http://adrianomaini.posterous.com/appalachi-2

Margaret Bednar said...

NC is our home now and we can't wait to explore the Ap Mtns. Will netflix this movie and keep an eye out for the diva milk cow. Thanks for a fun read.

jennyfreckles said...

That's a wonderful story - you must be proud of your independent-minded diva/cow!

Kathy said...

I do remember the story asbout your sweet POCO now, LOLOL,!! Mr Quinn was really a NICE man, but things were HOT and heavy on that set!!! I cannot wait for your new book!! Two more days!! Kathy

Stephanie D. said...

LOVE the Poco story! I haven't seen the movie--didn't know they'd made a movie of it--but read the book several years ago and loved it. Almost didn't take it back to the library.

mamabug said...

What a gorgeous girl Poco is, Jersey cows have to be the prettiest cows out there. They have such sweet faces. I love your blog too!

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, all of you! Tune in tomorrow (9/30/10) to see our current Jersey cow and her new baby!