The water tower is falling down, falling down…

water tower
The old water tower in northern Miami kinda looked like this. Credit: Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ (CC BY 2.0).

Way, way back, early-ish in my career, I was called to help arrange filming a scene for Bad Boys II at a water tower owned by the agency I worked for.

The water tower was no longer in use and was in bad shape.  My employer was actually in the process of having a contractor take it down so it wouldn’t be a danger to the nearby community in case of a hurricane or something similar.

The water tower had been a landmark in the community but it’s days were long past.

rusted water tower
Everyone loves a water tower–unless it’s in bad shape and threatening to fall on you. Credit: Daniel Ramirez. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ (CC BY 2.0).

We actually delayed the demolition for a week so they could film a gunfight at the water tower.  Afterwards, we proceeded and completed taking down a piece of history, the old Miami water tower.

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How I got mixed up with an exploding whale

Beached whale, filming of Reno 911!: Miami
Filming of the blown-up whale scene for Reno 911!: Miami. This is not the actual place the explosion took place. Credit: Mark Sabanathan, under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

One of the coolest aspects of my job is working with the movies, AKA Hollywood.

Well, to be fair, and honest, my involvement is minimal.

I get called from time to time for permission to use one of my employer’s facilities to film scenes for a movie, or commercial, or music video, or a still photo shoot.

It’s not up to me to grant permission–that’s done by the department director where I work.  I just help out in getting the permission, relaying any requirements to the film/production company, and so on.

One of the weirder things I worked on was for the filming of Reno 911!: Miami.  They needed a good spot to blow up a whale (a dead one) and we had just the right place: an unused sludge drying bed at a wastewater treatment plant.

I made the arrangements but due to my schedule at the time I couldn’t go out to watch the explosion.

To this day I don’t know if they used a “fake” whale or an actual dead whale in this scene.

PS: The video below of an exploding whale is not from the movie.  I couldn’t find a clip of the scene online, probably due to copyright issues.