'Crashed' Plane On Vacant City Lot Is Nothing But A Movie's 'Prop' Jet
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Aug 08/1980/US) By
Passers-by are doing double takes when they
see an airplane on an empty lot at Locust and 21st streets, where it appears to
The plane is one of the props for Escape From New York,
a movie that director John Carpenter starts filming here today. Saturday, the
crew will burn the old wreck.
Until then, Stoehner Security Service Inc. will guard the plane. It also is
protecting the fenced-in lot nearby that contains cars used in the movie's chase
scenes, and the warehouse where other props are stored.
When Don Roberts, fresh out of the Army, reported Thursday for his first night
on the job as the security guard, he probably expected to be making the rounds
of a big dusty warehouse. Instead, he was to spend the next eight hours keeping
the decrepit plane company.
"I have never done this before, security," Roberts said. "And I have never
watched a plane before. And I think it is really nice. I'd like to be there when
the cameras start rolling."
Curious people walked up to pat the plane, peer at it's innards and marvel at
how light the frame was. Robert's duty was to prevent them from walking away
with pieces of the plane.
Several initially found the scene deceiving. One man said, "I told my
girlfriend, 'Look, an airplane crashed.' But then I thought, no, I hadn't heard
anything. I listen to the radio all day."
But Anette, 11, told her family and friends that she had seen the plane come
down, spiraling "round and round" as it plunged to the ground. But she fell
silent when pressed for details.
As the sun went down, it looked as if Roberts' turn at watch might prove as
eerie as one of Carpenter's films - The Fog or Halloween for
instance. He could see street lights turning on for blocks around. But similar
lamps, the only source of illumination for the lot he was patrolling, were still
"I'm waiting for them to come though," he said, with a nervous laugh. They
Roberts confided that he couldn't help wondering if the cars that slowed down at
curbside were looking at the plane or at him. And he was there with "no gun, no
radio, no flashlight, nothing."
But police frequently cruised by, he said, and he'd had some martial arts
training in the Army.
He had a telephone number to call if he had any trouble. He hadn't found a
telephone yet, but he knew a gas station was down the street. He didn't know how
late it stayed open. He hoped there was a telephone outside.