Colorful Drop For Act: Deviate from usual painted set and conventional backdrop by using a set composed entirely of drooping variegated-color all fabric drapes.
As our locations were usually in the mountains or on the desert, we had small use for "sets." The side of a barn, with a few borrowed pictures nailed on; a carpet laid on the ground; a couple of chairs; a table, and behold an "interior" of the sheriff's home! A volume of Dante's Inferno served as a Bible, a law book, dictionary, and for purposes less polite, in all scenes where a book was needed. Sometimes, when we wanted to be very splashy, we had a set painted by a real scene- painter. The men were "hired off" the legitimate stage; and, having worked under its traditions and artificial lights, they did not change their technic to meet the fierce white light of day.
As we had no diffusers, our interiors were made in strong sunlight, which often resulted in shadows of the actors pointing east, while shadows on the scenery headed west. Instead of the painted mountains receding in atmospheric perspective through the open door or window, they looked like little painted mountains only a few feet away. Even when we attempted realism by sticking a eucalyptus branch in the ground, like as not it would cast a shadow on the sky!
These sets, painted on canvas, would shake like aspen leaves every time anybody opened or closed a door. An adobe wall or prison tower would suffer perpetual seismic disturbances whenever the action became at all rough. As we had no windbreaks, curtains and papers would fly about as though a tornado had come tearing through the transom.
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