Every sensational scene you see on-screen has an exciting backstage story!
10/08/1996 – By Nancy Kerr; Photos: Barry Morgenstein
ANOTHER WORLD’s Josie Has Fallen Down A Hole And Can’t Get Up
Josie’s life has been the pits lately. Literally. Just hours after attending her cousin, Frankie’s, funeral, Officer Watts found her own life in jeopardy.
In scenes that aired August 29 through September 9, Josie was held at gunpoint by the murderous Dr. Fax Newman, fell
down a manhole and was left for dead.
“It’s been mentally and emotionally exhausting,” admits Amy Carlson (Josie), who had to spend almost two weeks by herself on the “underground” set. The first two days were especially trying, since her character was unconscious and had rats crawling all over her. Yep, real, live rats. “It was gross,” cringes Carlson, who opted not to use a body double. “A cameraman had to leave because he was phobic about rats. We had the lighting director running one of the cameras.”
Since the rats were raised in a clinical laboratory setting, they were disease-free, and therefore harmless, according to zoologist Ruth Manecke of Ruth Manecke Productions. Harmless, yes. Trained, no.
To make the rodents sniff and nibble on cue, Manecke had to spread chocolate and peanut butter on Carlson’s legs. Not that the rats needed the incentive. “They just seemed to like walking up and down on Amy’s body,” says Manecke. “[The rats] did it in very few takes.”
“Take” was also the operative word for AW Art Director Patrick Howe, who created the pit by borrowing parts from the airplane cargo hold used a few years back by Paulina and Ian when they flew to San Cristobal. Howe rotated a metal cylinder 90 degrees and stood it up so that it looked like a big silo buried in the ground.
Finishing touches included dusting the floor with dirt — yellow and red dirt to be exact — so it would show up on Carlson’s black dress.
Ah, the dreaded dress. “It was a great outfit— something to borrow — but not anymore. It is disgusting; I look like one
of the kids from Oliver,” Carlson quips, noting that Josie’s predicament provided setside laughs. “Instead of ‘Lady’s in a
Cage,’ people joked it’s ‘Josie in a Pit.’”
AW’s makeup artists also contributed to Josie’s grunge look. They liberally applied dirt and glycerin for a sweaty, grimy appearance (carefully tracking Josie’s cuts and bruises with daily Polaroid photographs). But Carlson’s injured wrists were the real thing — the actress chafed them while wriggling out of the rope that bound Josie’s hands. To make the wounds look worse, makeup artist Kevin Bennett concocted a special recipe for fake blood. “One of our favorite formulas is [mixing] Palmolive dishwashing liquid, food coloring and Bosco chocolate syrup,” he reveals.
Luckily, Carlson didn’t spill herown blood when a woozy Josie fell off a ladder during an escape attempt. “I wanted to fall from higher [up], but they said, ‘No, no!’ ” chuckles Carlson. To pad her fall, packing boxes were tied together with rope and covered with a black
tarp that simulated the ground. “They said, “You’ll break right through them and hit the ground. It won’t hurt,” ” the actress recalls. “I hit the boxes and it was like, ‘Owwww!’ ”
But in the end, it’s hard to keep a good woman down — in a hole, that is.
Josie’s salvation from the pit came in the form of escaped convict Cody Murcer (Rodney Clark) who took her hostage and dragged her to a nearby hotel. Eventually, Josie was rescued by her fiancé, Gary.
“We’re supposed to have this big kiss,” laughs Carlson, prior to taping the scene.
“Think about it: This is a girl who hasn’t eaten or brushed her teeth in a week. Who wants to kiss her?”
Amy Carlson has prior rat experience – she had one as a pet
MakeUp Artist Kevin Bennett contributes to Amy’s grunge look
The Set was 20 feet high to make Josie’s escape appear nearly impossible