CLOSE
warner bros. pictures
warner bros. pictures

12 Crew Members Who Accidentally Appeared in Famous Movies

warner bros. pictures
warner bros. pictures

Sometimes a movie's behind-the-scenes elements don’t stay behind the scenes. Here are 12 crew members who accidentally appeared in famous movies.

1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

In the second installment of the Harry Potter franchise, Harry knocks back mean kid Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) during a dueling lesson with Professor Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh) in the Great Hall. In the shadows, you can see a cameraman kneeling down beside the Hogwarts students when Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) picks up Malfoy. Director Chris Columbus should’ve used the vanishing spell to make the cameraman disappear. Evanesco!

2. Titanic (1997)

Watch closely when Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) enters the first-class dining hall to meet Rose (Kate Winslet) and her companions for dinner in James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster and you’ll see a reflection of the cameraman in the glass doors through which he enters.

3. The Matrix (1999)

In the original Matrix movie, when Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) takes Neo (Keanu Reeves) to meet The Oracle for the first time, you can see the reflection of the camera in the doorknob to her apartment. The filmmakers clearly noticed the error and tried to cover it up by making it look like part of Morpheus’ coat, but the camera is still very visible, along with a green strip on the black leather to match Morpheus’ tie.

4. Spy Kids (2001)

In the beginning of Spy Kids, Ingrid Cortez (Carla Gugino) clearly isn't alone when she sits down at her bedroom vanity. Look into the mirror to the right and you can see the reflection of writer-director Robert Rodriguez—and his very large camera—just over her shoulder.

5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

At the end of Steven Spielberg’s World War II epic, the protagonists come across a deserted French town where they finally meet the titular soldier (Matt Damon) they've been tasked with finding. Although their mission is to pull him from combat, Private Ryan refuses to leave until his own mission—to blow up a bridge to prevent the Germans from advancing—is complete. Just before the Allied Forces detonate the structure, Sergeant Horvath (Tom Sizemore) and Private Reiben (Edward Burns) run across the bridge for safety. Just as they’re crossing it, you can see a cameraman and a cable puller in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

6. Gladiator (2000)

After the Battle of Germania at the beginning of Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning Best Picture, Maximus (Russell Crowe) walks through his camp after his army wins the battle. As he stops to feed one of his horses an apple, you briefly see a crew member—in a pair of jeans—in the middle of the frame. We're pretty sure Levi's weren’t around in 180 A.D. 

7. Jaws (1975)

When the citizens of Amity Island realize that a rogue shark is terrorizing their waters in Spielberg's summer blockbuster, a large group of fishermen set out to hunt down the deadly animal in order to keep the beaches safe. In a wide establishing shot in the middle of the movie, you can see a cameraman and a grip with a light diffuser in a small boat leading the pack of shark-hunters on the left side of the screen.  

8. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

At the end of the original Fast and Furious movie, criminal mastermind Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and undercover cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) get into one last street race. After just barely beating a train at its crossing, Dom hits a semi truck, which launches him and his 1970 Dodge Charger R/T into the air. Just as the car crash lands, you can see a stunt man in a yellow helmet—not Diesel—in the driver’s seat. It’s probably unreasonable to expect Diesel to do all of his own stunts, but it’s definitely interesting to see a real stunt person at work. 

9. Twilight (2008)

When Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) arrives for her first day at Forks High School in the first installment of The Twilight Saga, you can see the reflection of the boom mic operator in the windshield of her 1963 Chevy Stepside pickup. Later in the film, when teen vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and the father of his rival drive past and glare at each other, you can see the reflection of the cameraman in Edward’s backseat window.

10. Braveheart (1995)

At the beginning of Braveheart, Mel Gibson's William Wallace is reunited with his childhood friend Hamish (Brendan Gleeson) after having been away from Scotland since his youth. The pair get into a boulder-throwing competition at a wedding, and when Wallace challenges Hamish to throw a large stone at him, you can see a crew member (in a baseball cap) walking behind the townspeople in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

11. Jurassic Park (1993)

During the opening scene of Jurassic Park, a large crew of animal wranglers cautiously begin to introduce a caged Velociraptor into one of the park’s exhibits. When the gatekeeper climbs on top of the cage to raise the gate, the dinosaur inside dislodges the cage from the secure entrance. Just before the gatekeeper falls to the ground, you see a brief flash of a crew member’s hand trying to break his fall at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. The moment is so quick that you likely missed it the first time around—and we wouldn't blame you. This was one intense opening sequence!

12. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

At the very end of the first Pirates movie, Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is finally reunited with his pirate ship, The Black Pearl. As he orders his crew to get to work, saying, “On deck, you scabrous dogs!” you can see a member of the film crew wearing a cowboy hat in the background in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Last we checked, cowboys and pirates don’t mix well.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Library of Congress (LOC), Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
arrow
entertainment
10 Fascinating Facts About Ella Fitzgerald
Library of Congress (LOC), Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Library of Congress (LOC), Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Today marks what would have been the 101st birthday of Ella Fitzgerald, the pioneering jazz singer who helped revolutionize the genre. But the iconic songstress’s foray into the music industry was almost accidental, as she had planned to show off her dancing skills when she made her stage debut. Celebrate the birthday of the artist known as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, or just plain ol’ Lady Ella with these fascinating facts.

1. SHE WAS A JAZZ FAN FROM A YOUNG AGE.

Though she attempted to launch her career as a dancer (more on that in a moment), Ella Fitzgerald was a jazz enthusiast from a very young age. She was a fan of Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, and truly idolized Connee Boswell of the Boswell Sisters. “She was tops at the time,” Fitzgerald said in 1988. “I was attracted to her immediately. My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it. I tried so hard to sound just like her.”

2. SHE DABBLED IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AS A TEENAGER.

A photo of Ella Fitzgerald
Carl Van Vechten - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Fitzgerald’s childhood wasn’t an easy one. Her stepfather was reportedly abusive to her, and that abuse continued following the death of Fitzgerald’s mother in 1932. Eventually, to escape the violence, she moved to Harlem to live with her aunt. While she had been a great student when she was younger, it was following that move that her dedication to education faltered. Her grades dropped and she often skipped school. But she found other ways to fill her days, not all of them legal: According to The New York Times, she worked for a mafia numbers runner and served as a police lookout at a local brothel. Her illicit activities eventually landed her in an orphanage, followed by a state reformatory.

3. SHE MADE HER STAGE DEBUT AT THE APOLLO THEATER.

In the early 1930s, Fitzgerald was able to make a little pocket change from the tips she made from passersby while singing on the streets of Harlem. In 1934, she finally got the chance to step onto a real (and very famous) stage when she took part in an Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater on November 21, 1934. It was her stage debut.

The then-17-year-old managed to wow the crowd by channeling her inner Connee Boswell and belting out her renditions of “Judy” and “The Object of My Affection.” She won, and took home a $25 prize. Here’s the interesting part: She entered the competition as a dancer. But when she saw that she had some stiff competition in that department, she opted to sing instead. It was the first big step toward a career in music.

4. A NURSERY RHYME HELPED HER GET THE PUBLIC’S ATTENTION.

Not long after her successful debut at the Apollo, Fitzgerald met bandleader Chick Webb. Though he was initially reluctant to hire her because of what The New York Times described as her “gawky and unkempt” appearance, her powerful voice won him over. "I thought my singing was pretty much hollering," she later said, "but Webb didn't."

Her first hit was a unique adaptation of “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” which she helped to write based on what she described as "that old drop-the-handkerchief game I played from 6 to 7 years old on up."

5. SHE WAS PAINFULLY SHY.

Though it certainly takes a lot of courage to get up and perform in front of the world, those who knew and worked with Fitzgerald said that she was extremely shy. In Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz, trumpeter Mario Bauzá—who played with Fitzgerald in Chick Webb’s orchestra—explained that “she didn't hang out much. When she got into the band, she was dedicated to her music … She was a lonely girl around New York, just kept herself to herself, for the gig."

6. SHE MADE HER FILM DEBUT IN AN ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MOVIE.

As her IMDb profile attests, Fitzgerald contributed to a number of films and television series over the years, and not just to the soundtracks. She also worked as an actress on a handful of occasions (often an actress who sings), beginning with 1942’s Ride ‘Em Cowboy, a comedy-western starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

7. SHE GOT SOME HELP FROM MARILYN MONROE.

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt,” Fitzgerald said in a 1972 interview in Ms. Magazine. “It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him—and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status—that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard … After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman—a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”

Though it has often been reported that the club’s owner did not want to book Fitzgerald because she was black, it was later explained that his reluctance wasn’t due to Fitzgerald’s race; he apparently didn’t believe that she was “glamorous” enough for the patrons to whom he catered.

8. SHE WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO WIN A GRAMMY.

Ella Fitzgerald
William P. Gottlieb - LOC, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Among her many other accomplishments, in 1958 Fitzgerald became the first African American woman to win a Grammy Award. Actually, she won two awards that night: one for Best Jazz Performance, Soloist for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook, and another for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook.

9. HER FINAL PERFORMANCE WAS AT CARNEGIE HALL.

On June 27, 1991, Fitzgerald—who had, at that point, recorded more than 200 albums—performed at Carnegie Hall. It was the 26th time she had performed at the venue, and it ended up being her final performance.

10. SHE LOST BOTH OF HER LEGS TO DIABETES.

In her later years, Fitzgerald suffered from a number of health problems. She was hospitalized a handful of times during the 1980s for everything from respiratory problems to exhaustion. She also suffered from diabetes, which took much of her eyesight and led to her having to have both of her legs amputated below the knee in 1993. She never fully recovered from the surgery and never performed again. She passed away at her home in Beverly Hills on June 15, 1996.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Warner Bros. Entertainment
arrow
entertainment
Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in May
Warner Bros. Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment

While Netflix has got plenty of laughs in store for its streaming customers next month, the loss of several contemporary classic films likes Goodfellas, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Ocean’s Eleven, and The Hurt Locker means that if you’re in desperate need of a British rom-com fix or badass Scorsese crime drama fix, you’d better start streaming. Here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in May.

MAY 1

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Casper
Chappie
Charlotte’s Web
Field of Dreams
Goodfellas
Ocean’s Eleven
Sahara
Silent Hill
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Hurt Locker
To Rome With Love
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

MAY 2

12 Dates of Christmas
Beauty & the Briefcase
Cadet Kelly
Camp Rock
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam
Cow Belles
Cyberbully
Disney’s The Cheetah Girls
Disney’s The Cheetah Girls 2
Disney’s The Cheetah Girls: One World
Frenemies
Geek Charming
Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas
Hello Sister, Goodbye Life
High School Musical
High School Musical 2
Jump In!
Lemonade Mouth
Little Einsteins: Seasons 1 – 2
My Fake Fiancé
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension
Phineas and Ferb: Seasons 1 – 4
Princess Protection Program
Princess: A Modern Fairytale
Read It and Weep
Revenge of the Bridesmaids
Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure
Special Agent Oso: Seasons 1 – 2
StarStruck
Teen Spirit
The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Seasons 1 – 5
Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

MAY 7

The Host

MAY 12

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

MAY 30

Disney’s The Jungle Book

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios