Local Thespian’s Final Curtain Call

Fred forsman147

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4 Responses to Local Thespian’s Final Curtain Call

  1. SR Jones says:

    Mr. Forsman was my fourth grade teacher at Nevada City Elementary. I have very fond memories of him and his class. Each year, he would take the entire class up to the top of Sugarloaf for a picnic and a lively game of Kick the Can.
    My condolences to the Forsman family. A sweet man.

  2. Steve Cottrell says:

    What a great obituary. Perfect.

    In 1984, at the chamber of commerce’s annual dinner, I had the high honor and privilege of presenting Fred Forsman with the Dr. Leland & Sally Lewis Award for the Performing Arts, but my favorite memory is from 23-24 years ago when Ron Sturgell and I produced a history video that ran on a loop at Nevada City’s state fair booth.

    Fred agreed to be our on-camera host and narrator, and was a great sport when I asked him if he would be willing to climb down to Gold Run Creek where it meets Deer Creek under the old Gault Bridge. Since that was the area of gold discovery in Nevada City in 1848, we wanted him to tell the story while kneeling with a gold pan at the same location. Fortunately for us, he agreed.

    The video was approximately ten minutes in length and, at our request, Fred wore his Ben Rumson/“Paint Your Wagon” garb. And he spoke with his well-honed Ben Rumson accent.

    The final scene was shot at the National Hotel bar. Fred sat at the bar, facing the camera, encouraging people to visit Nevada City, at which point I slid a mug of beer along the bar top to Fred, he picked it up, held the mug aloft in the manner of a toast, and spoke his final line: “If you haven’t seen Nevada City, you haven’t seen California.”

    He then took a healthy sip of beer and the brief video ended.

    Having to position myself out-of-frame, then slide the mug of beer along the bar top, my early aim was not so good. The first couple of attempts for the scene fell far short of Fred and he had to reach out for the mug handle. Another time, I slid it with too much force and it passed by Fred before he could grab it. On some attempts, my push was jerky and beer splashed out as the mug traveled about three feet to Fred’s waiting hand.

    None of the initial takes went smoothly enough for us, so we kept trying. Naturally, each time the mug failed to stop next to Fred’s hand, or a few ounces splashed out along the way, Fred went ahead and drank the beer anyway. Then we would shoot the closing scene again.

    After several takes, we finally nailed the closing just the way we wanted it. And by that time, Fred was toast. He was in his cups.

    Somewhere in City Hall, or perhaps at the chamber of commerce office, there is a copy of the state fair video. (1991? ’92? I can’t recall right now). If you watch Fred deliver his final line, you will see that he did it smooth as silk, without a hint of the effects of several failed takes. He was a pro –– under all conditions.

  3. Josh says:

    Fred was my grandfather and a hero to me in many ways. Reading these stories is wonderful. Thank you.

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