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Valleywide Focus

56 Show Up for Real Stone-Age Casting Call

March 12, 1994|REBECCA BRYANT

Some of these guys were not having a Yabba Dabba Do time.

Blue-stubbled faces of wanna-be Freds twisted in concentration. A man trying out for Walter Concrete wiped cold sweat onto his sleeve. Sure, a couple of Barneys yucked it up, but that pesky little fellow never did take anything seriously.

But serious it was, this cattle call for "The Flintstones Show" at Universal Studios Tour.

Fifty-six actors filed into the Debbie Reynolds Studio in North Hollywood on Friday to vie for roles as Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Walter Concrete and Ed McRock in what director Barbara Epstein described as a "20-minute Broadway musical" to be played over and over at the theme park.

Only 40 survived the singing audition to line up behind choreographer Patti Colombo.

"Right, left, push . Left, right, push ," she commanded. "You can interpret that. Barney and Fred shouldn't be dancers."

"Oh, really, you'd never tell," puffed Andrew Craig, a distinctly Flintstone-looking mammoth, who in sneakers and faded jeans towered over others auditioning in flared dancer's pants and ballet flats.

Epstein surveyed the flailing arms and exaggerated moves from a long table. Asked if some of the men were auditioning on their lunch hour, she responded, "No. Most of these people have Broadway credits."

Leonard Crofoot, a 120-pound blond, has acted on Broadway with Glenn Close and Ben Vereen. He's been on the London stage and on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

But he won't play Barney.

"Maybe they don't want the real dancers, people who can move," Crofoot, 45, said to another who'd been cut.

"My look is Barney. I would have thought," he said, trailing off. "I gave a good audition. Yeah, I'm a little disappointed."

Back in the audition room, Craig waited in a small folding chair for his chance at the line in front of the director's table.

"I hate this," he said, a sweaty towel wrapped around his neck. "They're torturing me."

Craig, who had a small role in the film "Naked Gun 33 1/3" and plays Claude Hopper in Universal Studio's Western stunt show, said he's not really a dancer. He was last to audition.

As Craig finished his steps, his face contorted into an apology.

"Thank you, Andrew. Thank you for coming out today," said Epstein, meaning, in the lexicon of the cattle call, "Goodby."

"It happens," Craig shrugged. "That's what this business is all about."

Outside, Bart Sumner hungrily puffed on a cigarette. Fred Flintstone doesn't smoke, someone pointed out.

"This one does," said the 30-year-old improvisational veteran and screenplay writer who made the Sunday call-back.

"It's better than a day job," he said, explaining why an actor would want to play Fred Flintstone for tourists. "That and I've always wanted to date Betty Rubble."

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