Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Poco the Movie Star


This was Poco, the Jersey cow that wanted to be a star.

Our Movie Star Cowa re-post from 2010. The friend to whom we eventually sold Poco recently posted a picture of her and a bit of her story. Another friend responded, 'You know you're not in DC anymore when people post pictures of their cows, and you know two of her three owners.' But there's such a good story behind it all...

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 knew 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.)


Barbara Rogers said...

OK, now I'm going searching for that movie! Just to see your cow! Who knows, I might become a fan!

Barbara Rogers said...

AND I actually have seen the movie before...but missed Poco.

Marcia said...

A time of fleeting stardom for your cow. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Great movie. I have the DVD. Now I must go back and look for Poco.

Sandra Parshall said...

What a great story! Your cow was a photobomber. And I thought only dogs and cats were scene stealers.