May 5th, 2016
High Chaparral Make-Up Men Keep Actors Cool & Hot
Vintage Article, 1969
Makeup men Beau Wilson and Claude Thompson, on the High Chaparral set, have the problem of making the actors look dirty and hot, while trying to keep them as cool and comfortable as they can.
Shooting is going on now at the Old Tucson set in 100 degree-plus weather, and the perspiration appears when it isn’t wanted, and sometimes isn’t there when the scene calls for it.
Wilson has been with the show since it started, and has recently been joined by colleague Claude Thompson, formerly with NBC-TV.
Both are on constant call while shooting is going on to repair makeup, supply needed dust for a cowboy hat, or spray on some instant perspiration.
The make-up man’s day, along with the rest of the crew and cast, begins at 6 a.m., and ends around 7 o’clock at night.
As the show characters are rugged outdoorsmen, the make-up used is a tan grease-based pan stick with a rose shade being used for highlights. Dust is Fuller’s earth, burnt umber, or what the makeup man calls “Texas dirt,” a combination of ingredients.
The make-up supplies, carried in what is termed a “condensed kit” in the trade, carries over 500 items, and Williams says, “When we need something we don’t have, we improvise.”
Artificial perspiration is usually a combination of glycerin and water, but working in the sun causes the glycerin to ‘build up” so either plain water, applied frequently, or a combination of Seabreeze lotion and water is used.
Why artificial perspiration in the hot Arizona summer?
When the close-up camera needs perspiration, you can’t always depend on nature.
A call from the director caused Wilson to spring up from the tiny shade where we had been talking and sipping ice water.
An actor’s high yell was followed quickly by the make-up ma’s reappearance.
“I dumped my ice water on him.” He grinned. “That ought to cool him off for a few minutes.”
Bea Wilson (left) has his work cut out for hm on the set of High Chaparral. His constant attendance is necessary to renew make-up as the series is shot in Arizona’s summer heat. Clowning wit him between takes are Cameron Mitchell (Uncle Buck) and Henry Darrow (Manolito).