Before we finished our conversation, I had to relay to
him what effect he had had n my early career. I told him that
I had taken my then-girlfriend and now-wife to see the movie
two weeks before I shipped out to boot camp.
"I am not ashamed to admit that you scare the hell
out of me. Carrie and I sat frozen as you relentlessly exploded
all over those guys," I told him. He cracked a smile,
probably used to hearing such stories about his portrayal.
I told him that even though the movie scared me, I thought
that there was some scripting going on and that no one could
so consistently and without hesitation come up with the one-liners
he delivered in the movie. I did not think it possible that
someone could be that quick with insults and play off the
mistakes made by another. I was wrong. Desperately wrong.
When I got to boot camp I discovered that somehow, all
drill instructors have the ability to verbally explode without
once tripping over their own words. At top speed and with
force unknown to the average teenager, drill instructors can
and do verbally assault you with wit and imagination
that mere mortals can only watch in awe over.
I also told Lee that Carrie and I made another visit to
the theater three months later to watch the movie a second
time. The rest of the moviegoers must have thought that I
was nuts because I laughed throughout most of the first half
because the scenarios were so familiar and so well-presented
that I had to laugh. After just going through three months
of hell, to see it on the screen portrayed to such perfection,
I was overjoyed that there was something that came close to
portraying what I had just gone through. Oh yeah, and I guess
the fact that it was over for me also had its joyous rewards.
After explaining to Lee just how wonderful a job I thought
he did, he got a big smile on his face and said, "Well
Jason, you will be glad to know that Gunnery Sergeant Hartman
has been resurrected for a new movie. I do not want to give
away the plot but if you watch The Frighteners, you
will see a familiar face." I never got around to watching
that movie (I know, this might disqualify me as his biggest
fan) but I look forward to watching it for just that scene.
In The Beginning...
The Fear Was Real
He Even Scared Me
Who Were Those Privates, Anyway?
Sleeping With the Smokey
What Have You Done To Me?
All Good Things Must Come to An End