Monday, February 11, 2013

Recollections from Union College alumni about the filming there of The Way We Were


Robert Redford, as I remember, was very friendly and you could find him outside with the extras.  The boy or male extras were mostly from Union and I remember him tossing a football around.  Barbara Streisand for the most part would be in her trailer and would come out when she had to shoot.  I was chosen as an extra and Sydney Pollack had everyone who wanted to be an extra meet at Memorial Chapel.  He was in my opinion choosing girls or women who looked a little older and were for the most part not from Union.  The boys seemed to come from Union.  As he walked down the rows of Memorial Chapel, I shouted out to him, “How about a part for a Jewish kid from Brooklyn.”  I knew that he was Jewish and had grown up in Brooklyn and he said to me “Go and get a costume.”
I was to be in the gym scene where a formal dance took place and fitting was for a tuxedo.  I was being paid something less than $2.00 an hour.  I remember waiting for a scene to be shot and we were outside and it was real hot and it took forever.
Andrew Richman ‘73
Being an overloaded engineering student, I didn’t have much time to watch the making of the movie. But I do recall going into the upper classman’s dining hall and suddenly realizing that it had been turned into Barbara Streisand’s changing area. I quickly excused myself and left.
Rick Sparber ‘73
I remember when they were filming TWWW, Robert Redford often came out of his trailer and talked and goofed around. One day, they were passing a football around and Redford went for a long pass and totally wiped me out. It was muddy out and I was covered with mud from head to foot. All I could think about was that I was “short on clothes” having not done my laundry in a while and probably short on cash for laundry…typical for a college kid. I was really ticked off and didn’t know who had done this because I had my back to the quad. I started to get up and yelled “watch where you’re going; who do you think you are?” (I didn’t swear back then.) And Redford said, “I’m Robert Redford; sorry we had to meet this way.” He helped me up and shook my hand (I was too muddy for a hug!). “Are you OK?” he said. “Just a little muddy, but I clean up pretty good!” And then he was called for filming.
Margaret Mancuso Rowe ‘73
I was in the office of Dr. Thomas Kirschner presenting my ideas for my honors thesis in economics (which fortunately was completed successfully nine months later) and was gazing out his second floor office window. To my surprise and astonishment I was gazing down on a parade of my schoolmates dressed in impressive formal wear (both men and women) from the 1940′s marching across the quad near the Nott memorial. It simply created a rather bizarre scene in my mind that I still can chuckle about to myself. In fact the classmates for that scene can be still visualized in the movie in which there is the scene of the formal dance where the stars, Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand appear. (Check it out). The school really was a Hollywood set for the three weeks they were on campus.
Alan Fischman ‘73
During the filming of the movie, I was an evening student in my last year. I took both day and evening classes, so got to see some of the daytime filming. Of the stars, Redford and Streisand, they were very private people. Neither of them interacted with any of the students or the public that gathered to watch the filming. Bradford Dillman, on the other hand, was very approachable, walking the campus and interacted with people.
It was a great time in my life as I was about to complete my BS started 8 years earlier. Life in general, marriage, military service and a move from Boston to Schenectady all contributed to add to the excitement of that time.
Attainment of my goal at Union opened new doors for me. In all, I spent 34 years working for the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, retiring in 2000. I lost my first wife, Carolyn, in ’99. It was she who helped me attain my goal. I remarried in 2002. My wife, Janet, and I are “snowbirds” living here during the summer and in FL in winter.
Union and the film “The Way We Were” both have a special place in my memory and heart.
Vernon Nordstrom ‘73
For classmates, my friends, and me the filming was a “nonissue.” I lived in what was at the time Psi Upsilon fraternity house opposite Schaffer Library. I remember looking out the window and seeing an old jalopy type car careening down the street in front of our house with Robert Redford singing and cavorting in the back seat. I also remember seeing a crowd of students outside of the Nott Memorial for the filming of a speech given by Barbara Streisand. Both of these proved to be happenstances for me. I don’t recall a big hype about the movie being filmed on campus and I think most of the student body went about the business of going to school.
Peter Kircher ‘73

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