For a period of about 15 years Scandia, located on the Sunset Strip, was one of the most famous restaurants in Southern California not only for the quality of its cuisine but as a place where the rich and famous congregated.
Owner Ken Hansen was unquestionably one of the best restaurateurs in town and both the cuisine and service were the finest. And the cocktail lounge and bar was one of the liveliest places in the City from the time it opened at 11 a.m. till closing time. It was a true watering hole for both business and movie people.
I got to know Ken Hansen and while I did go to Scandia occasionally I was not a regular being l. too busy and 2. not having the kind of expense account that Scandia prices required. One of his bartenders was a man we will call Eric. Eric was Scandinavian and looked it, big, burly and almost always of good humor.
One afternoon I was in Scandia and at the bar talking to Eric. It was one of those rare times when it was not busy. And Eric told me this story which was his one and only attempt at being an actor.
One of his regular customers was a film producer and was ready to shoot a movie about the Foreign Legion. He said Eric was perfect as a Legionnaire and suggested he ask Ken Hansen for some time off so he could appear in the film. It would be different and the money would be good as well. Surprisingly Ken Hansen, who always ran a truly taut ship, agreed.
The cast and film crew were out in the desert somewhere around Death Valley in sand dunes and there was Eric all rigged out in the Legionnaire uniform, kepi and all.
And it was time to shoot Eric's big scene. He was to climb to the top of a dune and then shout out, "The Tuaregs are coming?. This was his only speaking line in the whole film.
Well he climbs to the top of the dune and shouts, "The Fuaregs are coming."
Everyone on the set is laughing so hard some are rolling on the sand but poor Eric wanted to die right there.
He was back behind the bar at Scandia shaking his head as he told me the story adding that it was the most embarrassing moment of his life. It also convinced him, and quite a few others, that his true role was bartender not actor.
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