Art Binninger's STAR TRIX: Of Clay And Cardboard

9. Sidetracked and SMEGed
Home | 1. Pre-Trix: Getting from There to Here | 1a. Tom Vs. Joe La Rita Filmography 1970-1972 | Tom Vs. Joe La Rita Episodes 9 - 16 | Tom Vs. Joe La Rita 17 - 24 | 2. Airman Art | 3. A Starship Is Born | 4. The Changing Scene | 5.The Second Time Around: STAR TRIX II | 6. Up In Smoke: STAR TRIX III | 7. Out of Uniform, Into the World | 8. The New Trek Begins | 9. Sidetracked and SMEGed | 10. Building Sets And Momentum | 10a Sliding Into Space | 11. Lights! Camera! Stop-Action! | 12. Kitchen Counter Cinema | 13. STAR TRIX: THE FLICK | 14. STAR TRIX: THE FLICK Reel 2 | 15. Silly Art, TRIX Are For Lawyers | 16. Moving On | 17. ESCAPE FROM VEGAPINTO | About Me | Favorite Links | Contact Me

The Reluctant Stars

   With the job market at Vandenberg closed up, I started making the rounds to the local businesses as well as getting an apartment in Lompoc. I eventually got a retail position with Radio Shack at the Santa Maria Mall. I couldn't afford another move so I commuted the 25 miles each day. The timing chain in the junker car I bought went out and I ended up taking the Greyhound bus back and forth until it was fixed. It soon became obvious that I would to need cut expenses and made arrangements to take on a roommate.

Art considers getting a roommate.

Dennis Cargill was in the Photo Squadron with Martin Baumgarten and wanted to move off base. We worked out the arrangements and moved to a two-bedroom apartment near the center of town. 
   After that financially disasterous year, 1982 began with my being hired at the Lompoc Unified School District in their printing department. Although we were paid only once a month, it was a whole lot more than I made at Radio Shack plus I didn't have to commute to Santa Maria anymore. Now that I had a little stability again, I began to pick up the pieces of some of my film projects. I started a film in 1980 based on Martin's crazy film SMEG (Special Missions Especially Great). He and his friends from the squadron shot it around the Lompoc Flower Festival carnival in June of 1980. In November, we did a few minutes of a sequel out on the north end of Vandenberg AFB. It sat in the can during the chaos of 1981 and Dennis and I talked about finishing it sometime. Eventually, we roped in some of the other people from the squadron but they got to be unreliable. I soon resorted to bribing them with beer to get them to finish some scenes. The completed film isn't one of my favorites but there were some sequences I enjoy from it, particularly the car chase scene on Harris Grade. 

Jim Manweiler, the jovial host of SMEG II. I inherited some of the cast from SMEG I but their unpredictability forced me to add segments that didn't require them. We got through Jim's part quickly and his home was later the site of the film's premiere.
Joy Greene maintains her cool while Dennis Cargill and Chip Greene get touchy-feely.
After a suspenseful car chase on Highway 1 north of Lompoc, Dennis' car goes over the side. Although this model was filmed at 54 frames per second to achieve slow motion, it was so small that even high speed filming could only make it seem like it was traveling at normal speed. It provided the biggest laugh of the film.
It took balls to survive that crash. Also to parade around in public like this but Dennis pulled it off with finesse. The beach balls were souvenirs of my employ at Radio Shack.
Dennis, Gary Berleue and Chip Greene. Because of the unpredictable availability of the cast, Dennis ended up playing a dual role as hero Johnny B. Goode and his evil twin brother Frank. 
Johnny B. Goode is captured by the thugs from the nasty organization SMEG.
Laura Settle (in curlers and pink bathrobe) as the sultry Mrs. Chief, wife of SMEARS' Chief.
You can tell the villains by their glasses. The photo used for the closing titles.

   Despite the problems I encountered making SMEG II, it did provide me with a couple of people who would later add their voices to STAR TRIX: THE FLICK. Gary Berleue would take over the role of Captain, now Admiral, Klurk. The talented Laura Settle was the regal T'Lard of Vulcan, the sexy Lt. Ineedya and miscellaneous female voices. In early 1983 I began work again on the STAR TRIX sets, repairing the older ones and starting new ones. There was one more important addition to the film that would appear on a day in May. His name was Grant.