OSCAR (NOT THE GROUCH) takes the stage Sunday night for the 86th Academy Awards. Here’s another life-time achievement award for you, my salute to the unsung hero of the silver screen, the movie extra, and a primer on how to talk like one.
EXTRAS. Bit players, bits, dinkies, lot hoppers, mob, types. Spec. atmosphere (extras used as atmosphere in a scene); general atmosphere (extras wearing ordinary street dress and earning $10.00 a day at present*); three-dollar stiffs (extras paid $3.00 a day); cannibals (extras who work for $3.00 a day and their board); vags (the lowest classification of extras without any age or dress restriction, at present paid $3.20 a day); airedale, beard, beaver, brush peddler, muff (an extra with a natural beard); zits (an extra or actor with an artificial beard); Charley (an extra with a mustache); walrus (an extra with a large mustache): bump artist, bumper (an extra who can suffer rough handling); stunt man (a daredevil, esp. one who substitutes for the star in dangerous scenes); dressers, dress people, stuffed dummies (extras who are prepared to appear in scenes requiring full dress); dress girls (women extras who own evening gowns); number-one boys, bronze boys, stuffed shirts (male owners of dress suits); drugstore cowboy (an extra in a western or cowboy picture); front-gate barnacles (extras who hang around the casting office); leg artist (an extra employed for her good figure); line-bitter (one who plays small parts in order to be noticed for a leading role); moth (a female extra who does “favors” for executives); pinkies (girl extras); ride-by (an actor who drives his own car through a scene as background action); walk-by, walk-through (an extra who merely walks through the scene as background action); tripe (actors for courtroom scenes, so designated because the camera photographs them through the railing); wa-wa brigade (extras used as atmosphere in crowd scenes, whose job it is to say “wa, wa, wa” in lieu of conversation); Weary Anne (an extra who works tediously on a long production).