Blasting little kids from teeter-totters to sell pizza. Doesn’t get more American than that. I love using dummies that look like obvious dummies. The teeter-totter thing that the kid is sitting on is connected to a hydraulic ram. It’s similar to the things that blow stuntmen into the air, only not quite as strong. We swapped the kid out for a dummy in the cut before he launches. When the mortar went off, it literally blew the shoes right off the dummy. The whole entire crew were on the floor, paralyzed with laughter. It lasted at least 10 minutes. I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard.
The way we did this was to use the real kid and two dummies. The real kid is sting on the teeter-totter until the wide shot where it launches. In the wide shot, the real kid is hiding behind the chair near the back wall of the set. A dummy was on the teeter-totter, loaded with the air mortar and another dummy was being held in the rafters by a grip. When we fired the mortar, the dummy on the teeter-totter flew into the rafters and was caught by a grip. At the same time, the grip with the other dummy threw his down onto the stage. It was supposed to land behind the chair where the kid was hiding. When it landed, the kid jumps up from behind the chair, as if it was him that got blown up into the lighting grid, bounced off and landed back on the set. I don’t know. It could have been better. They should not have cut away from the wide shot. It’s not as funny when they cut to the close up of the big guy. I should have done my own edit on this one – but, over time, the original masters were lost. Oh well.