Davy wrote:Ok we know a little about the actors, the location, the film set etc. but what do we really know about or discussed about
the extras used by the thousands in the films battle scenes?
1. How many were actually used? Actual numbers.
2. What & how were they paid?
3. Where did they come from.
4. Where did they stay while shooting the scenes daily?
5. Who made all the uniforms for them?
6. Who trained them
7. How were they notified about working in the film.
8. What were they fed everyday, and how was that handled?
9. Bathroom facilities for that many thousands ... where?
10. How long did they work there?
11. How did they travel to the set everyday?
12. Are there any of them still alive, and can talk to us today about their experiences?
Sorry I am a few years late to the game on this one but I stumbled across this forum while trying to find some screenshots of my mother, uncles, and grandmother. I sent my mother your questions and I received the following info from her:
My son came across your website and forwarded it to me. I am able to supply information and answers to some of your questions, although not from the standpoint of one of Santa Anna’s soldiers or an Alamo defender. Overall, I, along with my Mother and two small brothers, were extras in the ﬁlm, although I did enjoy a brief period as a “principle” since I was given a sentence to speak.
To the best of my recollection, pay was about $10 per day for those extras, paid weekly. In the ﬁlm, I was cast as Blind Nell and Jocko’s daughter. As such, I was given three words to say in a humorous scene where Frankie Avalon gets a pail of water thrown on him. My Mother, Blind Nell, asked “What happened?” and I reply, laughing, “she doused him!” Unfortunately, due to the length of the ﬁlm, my scene was cut-surely not because of the ﬁne acting by this (then) 12 year old. I was paid $50 per day each day that scene shot, about 3 days worth, then I was relegated back to the “extra” status for the remainder of the film.
Most of the extras for the families of the defenders came from our small town of Brackettville, a few drove from Del Rio, a town approximately 31 miles west. It didn’t take long for word to get out that John Wayne was coming to town and a movie would be filmed at Alamo Ranch. It took neither acting or good looks to get hired; you merely ﬁlled out an application, supplied your Social Security number, and you were basically told when to show up. There were some extras from California that followed John Wayne to Texas. To my knowledge, and because most lived close by, none of these extras were awarded housing. Some of the out-of-towners boarded with local families and paid the families $2 per day, which included one home-cooked meal. The “big” stars stayed at Ft. Clark It was a hoot trick-or-treating that Halloween in Ft. Clark because the stars handed out money instead of candy!
My day would start when Mom and I would get up (the brothers weren’t needed until later on) from our beds in our Brackett house and drive to Alamo Village, arriving around 6:00am daily. We parked behind a hill (out of ﬁlming sight) and was bussed to the set. First stop was to wardrobe, making sure each day our clothes, hair and make-up looked the same as previous days. Why did a 12 year old need make-up? Because we all had to look deeply tanned, resulting in a thick brown pancake application to our faces. I had to have my hairpiece, a very thick braid down my back, inserted daily by the hairdresser before my bonnet was placed on my head. What was fun at ﬁrst became quickly the part of the day I didn’t like hose ﬁrst two hours each day. My “new” hair was heavy and hot, and my shoes were a far cry from my comfy penny loafers and sneakers.
There were a number of children in the ﬁlm. We were schooled in the compound in a room where the windows were boarded up. I am not sure where the teachers came from, but they were not from our local schools. Box lunches were provided by Rolly Harper Catering, and mainly consisted of a sandwich and either fruit or a cookie and a drink. The schooling took up half a day, then we were free to wander around within the compound. However, we were not allowed outside the compound to walk down to where the cantina was located unless a scene called for children there. One such scene in the movie is where “Aissa” celebrates her birthday and all of us kids actually got to eat cake. Most of the stars were very friendly, as well as most of the principle players. Tourists were allowed into the compound and the set when there was no ﬁlming. I even signed autographs, so somewhere out there ,there may be an old piece of paper baring the name of one “Stormy Dee”. To this day, I have no idea why I came up with that name, but there it is!
As a 12 year old, I do not recall issues with shortages of bathroom facilities for all the extras. It just wasn’t a concern of mine. At the risk of sounding very brash, I am quite certain that more than one bush on Happy’s ranch received daily moisture, and it wasn’t from the rain In that sense, it was very authentic.
I am sure there may be some of the army's extras still alive, although more than likely they would be in their 80’s and 90’s now.
The premiere for “The Alamo” was held in San Antonio. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend.. According to people “in the know”, the film had many technical errors, such as sightings of a school bus in the distance, as well as telephone poles. At any rate, I enjoyed my short career in the movies and would do it all over again. Anyone need a youthful old lady to play a role????""
I would love to track down some screenshots of my mother and uncles and grandmother in the film (they were extras in multiple scenes, grandmother drove a wagon in one scene and the boys in a scene, were sitting on men's shoulders saying "hip hip horray")
"Stormy Dee" and son.